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Free Spirit

Tuesday, 4 April, 2006

recently bought a bicycle at a yard sale for three dollars.
It’s a 1978-vintage Sears Free Spirit, what today would be considered a
cruiser, single speed with 650A/EA3/British-26-inch wheels and an
inexplicable speedometer which registers up to 50 MPH. Evidently it’s
spent most of the last quarter century sitting in someone’s garage.

Really smart bicycle guys (the guys who have memorized the various
sizes of nut, bolt, sprocket and god knows what all on every cycle
distributed on every continent since the penny farthing)
say this is the tack to take when acquiring a bicycle. Of course, they
are likely to have the knowledge and parts laying around to address any
issues one might have with such a machine. Mamie, however, has me. I
like bikes. I am a fair, but only fair, wrencher, but I can’t even work
out the all-but-self-evident geometry to true

That said, and given a cursory look at the bike, I’ve assessed both
what must be done and what ought to be done to make it road worthy. I’m
trying to hit in the middle somewhere. If I had a full complement of
tools and such, I’d remove, clean, lube and replace as required the
entire drive train, including replacing the sprockets and chain which
would involve about $20 in parts, but $60 in labor at prevailing rates.
I’d spend another $20 on replacing rusty but potentially adequate
wheels. As it is, I intend to clean the chain, buff off some surface
rust, wax everything and hope for the best. I’m hoping the speedo
doesn’t have to be pulled. It’s nifty.

Being in suburbia gives her and her cycle some requirements which this
bike doesn’t meet at this time. This will be addressed, also. Hence
this list of things available from a vendor smart people happen to
like, who also happens to sell through Amazon.

Submitted for your approval, Blue:

  • Cateye
    rear blinkie. Designed to replace the rear reflector
    as it is a DOT/CPSC reflector itself. You can get cheaper, but you
    can’t get more conspicuous. It’s only a little more.
  • foam
    motorcross grips
    , since rubberized grips are too pricey and
    hard plastic is not recommended for hot climates (slippage). I am still
    hoping to find a set at an acceptable price which will complement the
    bike’s color, for now I’m going with black.
  • Tubes and Tires, specifically Kenda
    gumwalls. The tires have a sidewall which is not carbonized and remains
    the natural beigeish color of the “rubber” compound.
  • Wald #40, flashlight holder. Why
    on Earth would Mamie need a flashlight holder on her bike? It’s
    actually very simple. This flashlight holder mounts to the handlebar in
    such a fashion that the beam points directly in front of the rider
    creating a cheap, effective and legal headlight. It’s a solution
    developed in India, and is very popular in Japan. Oddly, this part
    which sells like crazy over there is made in my native Kentucky. It
    holds any standard 2-D-battery flashlight.
  • Mirrycle Incredibell Duet, in
    “brass”. It’s the classic ding-ding bicycle bell. Unobtrusive and
    readily activated with your hand in control position. It’s the one I
    have on my own bike, although in silver. It always make people smile
    when I’m about to plow them over.
  • North Road Touring Bar. The
    classic upright touring handle bar. I have a sample on my primary bike
    and obviously paid too much. You can’t really get anything cheaper,
  • Lube, cleaners, wax, rim tape and such to be provided by
    the mechanic.
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