Off To Burning Man

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NLCTVWguy

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I've been hanging onto this -59 Columbia ladies Speedliner for quite a while now. It came from a bunch of bikes that were "donated" to a local bike shop- all ladies, all very rough, been outside a long time.

snocolum2535.jpg



The bike was a typical ladies middleweight model, originally blue with white pinstripes. The bike, honestly looked like it had been left outside since the day it was built. Wheels were rotted right off it, tires long ago blown apart, seat surprisingly good looking, and nothing at all left of the paint but vestiges of the pinstripes and chainguard screen.

And the fenders... the loveliest peaked middleweight fenders ever... with curved ends, but no safety edge. Not a dent in them.

So a friend asks if I can fix a bike she's getting because she's going to Burning Man in Nevada this year. This is a big wild party in the desert. If you don't know what it's about, look it up.

The bike she gets is a lightweight 3-spd Columbia. Skinny tires and no cables left so it's stuck in high gear. Not appropriate for desert use. I suggest "that old bike against the wall" and she falls in love with it.

Long story short, I've recommissioned it to be a fun rustbucket rider, and it's going in the truck later this month for a long trip. I hope it comes back, but I won't cry if it doesn't.

burningman061110.jpg


The finished bike used the untouched original frame, fenders, fork, guard, and handlebars. The wheels have been swapped for a steel (mismatched) chrome cheap mountain bike set. I had some perfectly ratty 26x2.125 bald mountain bike tires- intact but not a bit of tread left on them. They worked, but the tread lugs scuffed the fender stays even with a little truing of the wheels.

A better fit had to be found. I traded some stuff with the LBS to get a pair of these Kenda 20x1.95 street tread tires. Nice fit, nothing hits now. Of course, I wanted the bike to have gears, and it had been a coaster brake, so fitting a brake was something of a challenge.

An extra long old steel brake caliper turned up in the parts bin. A spray painted junk bike had 1 good brake lever, and pink and purple cables. It also yielded a good cheap steel derailleur and a thumb-type friction shifter.

I drilled the frame for the caliper brake mounting hole and managed to get an almost factory look for that mounting. The rusty chrome looks right at home.

The wheelset is tight in the dropouts. The derailleur actually has to be assembled to the dropout after the wheel is in, and to get there requires streeeeetching the frame by hand.

Same with the front fork, plus the large mountain bike front axle required hogging out not only the fork dropout, but the fender stay and the bottom hole of the front rack. It all fits together nicely but was a chore getting there.

Likewise in the rear, old fender stay bolts had to be broken off, new hardware put on inside out to clear the gear cluster. This also allowed me to move around the fender stays and get the fender straight over the big ATB wheel/tire combo.

Of course I found i had to change the cool "mag" sprocket to a 10-speed type to fit narrower chain- I just run it on the small chainring with no front derailleur.

I also found an odd piece- a chain cleaner/oiler riveted to the chainguard, with little felts for the chain to run through. Drilled the rivets from the back and removed it to clear the multispeed chain.

A nicer Mesinger seat, which of course had to be straightened to work, completes the job, along with some ratty black 70's Columbia grips on the rusty original bars.

The bike rides nicely and shifts smoothly. Brakes require some effort but are wearing in and getting better. Mechanical advantage is against you with the long-reach caliper, unfortunately.

Sorry I didn't get more pics but the finished product is pretty cool. Getting picked up this morning- this may be the last I ever see of it!

--Rob
 
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I enjoy building bikes, but more than that I enjoy handing off a new toy to someone who is excited to play with it. Hopefully you will get a few pics of the bikes journey to Burning Man...Never been but I wanna go.
 
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Burning man is an awesome time. Definitely recommend it if you've never been before - it's pretty much impossible to accurately describe to people that haven't been. Like nothing else I've found. I am hoping that some of the skills I learn from this forum will let me build some goofy contraptions to take in future years.

A good bike goes a long way to make it enjoyable - nice of you to help a friend.
 

NLCTVWguy

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The new owner picked up the bike this morning... paid in full... left me Guinness! She's a cool chick.

Cant wait to see what she does with it. She's an artist, painter and photographer... it will be something cool.

--Rob
 
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