I enjoy working on the bike(s). Even when things aren’t going well and I need to get out the BFH or hacksaw to remove something (only on Little Project,doesn’t need such abuse) it is sort of entertaining. When something needs shifting and it doesn’t want to shift then staring and swearing at it for a few hours is strangely therapeutic.
There are times though when I just haven’t a clue. I can’t remember any bike that I’ve worked on that has involved as much replacing and renovating as Little Project. Even the bits that I think are in decent condition are actually rubbish when compared to the ones that arrived on the pallet. I suppose that this is what happens when you leave something out in the garden for several years, it just gets knackered.
It seems obvious to change all of the bits that can wear out as I’m going along. I ordered somewithout even considering that it may be an interesting job to replace the existing ones. The bearings on both bikes are “loose”, so there are 21 ball bearings rolling around the top of the steering head and another 21 rolling around the bottom part. I also decided to replace the loose bearings with tapered roller bearings; it seems these are a much better idea.
In days gone by when there was a something that I didn’t know I would ask my father. Dad knew everything about everything. He was a plumber by trade but had spent pretty much all of his life stripping down and rebuilding motorbikes. I can remember him talking me through fixing a leaking pipe in an outhouse of an old house. “You’ll need to cut out the broken lead pipe, replace it with copper pipe. You have to ream out the ends of the lead pipe so that copper fits snugly inside and then wipe the joint at both ends. Have you got a moleskin rag?”.
A Mole skin? A brief glance around confirmed a lack of dead blind rodents, more explanation revealed that I needed a thick pad of material to shape some solder around the joints. Wiping a joint is quite a technical procedure and it is a tribute to my dad that he managed to talk me through the entire procedure without being able to see what I was doing and the joints stayed dry forever after.
Vincent Black Shadow, 1974ish
So I need to ask dad how I go about replacing the steering head bearings. The problem is that he’s not around anymore. I’m dad now. I have to know the answers to everything and how to fix anything. “I put a RAID5 setup in with a new graphics card, installed Fedora and now can’t get the GUI up”. I can answer that. “The windscreen wipers have stopped working”. I can fix that.
I turned to the internet. Don’t we all? The internet is everyone’s dad these days but many of the “help” sites are a bit dull and wordy. I’ve found the site that explains what I need to do and shows how to do it simply and with video of people actually doing it. So www.garagenight.tv, you are an honorary father.
Thank you for your time
NB: BFH – Biggest Flipping Hammer