Das neue Fahrrad

I don’t have a great history with bikes. The last three have been stolen from a DART station (ein Tipp: Don’t leave your bike overnight in a DART station – even when free beer is involved), stolen from the apartment building when the front door was broken and abandoned in the University and subsequently vandalised and finally removed by security. I still feel sort of bad about the last one as I generously received it from Danny and never put the time into looking after it that I should have, which directly led to the whole abandonment and destruction thing.

Anyway, now I have a new bike, well new to me anyway. In reality its the family bike. Not my family; its been floating around the group here for a while and after I got adopted into the group, the three stooges rescued it from its on-street abandonment, and I inherited it. I missed out in the whole rescue effort, but apparently it involved a failed attempt to cut the chain with a bolt-cutters, the use of the same bolt-cutters as a hammer on the lock and the eventual liberation of the bike when the broken key fell out of the lock and the spare key became viable.

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In spite of its abandonment and subsequent rescue the bike wasn’t in too bad shape and all it needed was a new front tube and tyre. So Chuffy and I picked one up on the weekly shopping exhibition. That should have given us a taste of what was to come. Certainly I have never had to use a wire cutters or a garden knife to remove the tyre of a bike before. I even jokingly remarked that the bike was old enough that the tyre was welded to the wheel…

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A quick test drive revealed that the bike was rather heavy, the brakes were a bit flaky, the back wheel was bald and the gears were, at best, reluctant. So Chuffy decided a rebuild was in order. A trip to the bike shop later and we had shiney new brakes and a not-shiney, but new tyre for the back wheel and handlebar grips.

The first bit went fine, I dispatched my Mother to the airport and Chuffy went to make a monkey of himself in Ingolstadt. So I made a start on the back tyre. Just as I was putting the back wheel on and noticed the chain was kinked around the back gears. And so it began. The chain wasn’t much of a problem; OK we snipped off a bit of the back gear housing, but everything fitted together well and it all seemed to work. We got the shiney new brakes fitted, but they wouldn’t quite fit over or under the mudguard. So we quickly popped off the mudguard and all was well!

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Was it fuck! The stupid mudguard was attached to the frame in no less than 6 places. And every single joint was rusted shut. We ended up using a wide variety tools over the space of an hour and a half to unscrew, drill, prise off and eventually hammer away and otherwise twist and maul the damned mudguard off the damned bike. And then it turned out the mudguard was also attached to the carrier, which in turn was attached to the frame. Its not like the yellow and purple colour was off putting enough, someone built this bike to be indestructible, well at least for the rear mudguard and carrier to be unstealable. And it was someone with short awkward limbs and hands too most of the components seemed to be inaccessible to ordinary mortals and now the bike has some nice jagged edges where screws broke in position.

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Still, all the more fun to cycle; and the jagged edges can be fun for kiddies of all ages. In the end, alls well that ends well and a few days on I have a working bike. OK its still a bit heavy and the gears ain’t great, but it goes and it stops more or less safely. I am even plotting to get my hands on a better bike; one that also seems to be be unloved and abandoned. It I bet it won’t require as much work either.

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