wheee free bikes!

May 30, 2008

I subscribe to a couple local bicycling-related mailing lists. Mostly it is people arguing about bike lanes or what-not but today someone emailed and said “I am moving and I have 3 older bikes I will give away to the first person who will come pick them up.” So, I emailed back and said I’d take them. I was evidently the first person b/c the guy called me back and told me where to come to pick them up. I hadn’t seen the bikes, I had just gotten a description from the email, but even if they were completely busted I could give them to the bike co-op for parts or just  use them for yard art🙂. Instead I get over to chapel hill (where the bikes are) and I find 3 very nice bikes that have clearly been kept in a garage. None of them is a particularly special bike but they’re all in reasonable shape late-70s/early 80s vintages with a mostly-working set of parts. I pop the wheels off, load them in the back of the fit (which, yes, will fit 3 bikes, no problem) and go grab some dinner.

Get home, unload things, set them all down to get a better look at them.

One is a 83ish peugeot city express. It’s kind of a metallic cyan. Steel frame, lugged, simple – very small — probably a 52-53cm. It also appears that it was ridden maybe once or twice then hung up for the last 25 years. Seriously, everything looks shiny and new and almost untouched. Brake pads, tires, gears, everything. It won’t fit either of us very well b/c of its size (I’m 6’1″ and eunice is 5’8″ish) but it’s a perfect bike otherwise. Nothing fancy, mind you, but it’ll work as an errand runner. Hell, even the tubes inflate and hold air.

The next is a trek 620 maybe from 84. Again small-ish frame – maybe 54cm at the most. This bike was clearly someone’s commuter. It was fitted out right for it and it had a lot of dirt on the wheels/hubs and bottom bracket. It’s got a bit of rust coming through on the front fender eyelets but nothing horribly bad. The braze-ons for the cable routing are also seeing some rust but there’s no real stress on them, a little rustoleum and sandpaper may straighten them out. The brakes are in reasonable shape the hoods need some love and the bar foam is a bit quaint but still, not a bad bike. If it were about 4-5cm larger it’d be perfect for me. I’ll see where I can find this a good home

The last one is an Atala Milano. It’s an Italian manufacturer – claimed to be from about ’79. I looked it up on the Late Sheldon Brown’s website and it’s nothing terribly fancy. Nice steel frame, pretty lugs, no rust, some dirt, cool looking half-chrome fork. It’s pretty spiffy. Brake cables and housing are pretty well shot but ALMOST functional. Shifters are in great shape. Components are the very-shiny but simple and functional suntour AR components.  I’m pretty sure it has 27″ wheels which is the only odd bit. This is a fine looking bike.  It’s probably the largest of the 3 but It still feels awfully small to me.  I think we may strip this one down and Eunice and I will work on building it as a run-around-town bike and teach ourselves a bit more about putting a bike back together with different bits than what you took it apart with. And if we screw it up, oh well, we’re out NOTHING!

Those are my free bikes I picked up, today. I think I will be able to find good, caring homes for them and hopefully get a couple more folks out on bikes.

Here’s a picture of eunice being weird with the three of them:

http://flickr.com/photos/ejchang/2535602472/

3 Responses to “wheee free bikes!”

  1. wendy harris Says:

    My daughter’s roadbike was stolen from her university dwelling several weeks ago and then actually found across campus later by a friend! When she got it back, the front fork and front wheel were twisted and the basket she had on the back was gone! The bike was a freebie to her from a friend, nothing special bike, so it’s not really worth putting a lot of money into to repair, but she loved it and commuted around town, to classes, shopping and such. If you haven’t found any other takers by now, she would probably love to give one of your finds a loving home. She’s 5’3″ or 4″ or so.
    She lives in Durham, NH. Would love to hear from you. Thanks for the consideration.


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