My work pattern isn’t particularly standard. A lot of my working hours are spent post-dinner, finishing between 9 and 10pm and often working 12-hour days if I’m working daytime hours. The downside of this is my social hours are often not matched up with anybody else, but the upside is I get Mondays off. This Monday lined up perfectly to get to work cleaning my Peugeot up.
I’d already given the bike as a whole a scrub and washdown with some detergent, and it had suitably brightened it up, but I hadn’t been able to clean the space around the bottom bracket – there’s just too much hardware to get to it properly. A quick jaunt into getting a crank puller and suitable spanner online and, after I’d taken the chain off, I was able to clear the way and get to grips with this space.
Yuck. This stuff is baked on hard, and it takes a good deal of elbow grease to get it off, repeating the process of:
- Rub down with rag
Until the filth is banished completely. For such a simple cleaning job, this little area of the bike took a solid 25 minutes to get clean. It’s tiresome, and maybe even a little unnecessary in the eyes of some, but I want the whole thing nice and clean from the get-go, no half measures with this.
Much better. I did notice during the cleanup that the bottom bracket isn’t moving quite as freely as I’d first thought – taking the cranks off removes any lever effect and I’m left with quite a grindy-feeling BB. I’m torn over what to do about this: take it to a bike shop and they’ll likely want to replace it with a modern cartridge-style BB, and that’s something I can see the benefits of (they’re practically zero-maintenance) but at the same time part of the charm of an old bike like this is just that, it’s old. Fitting a modern BB wouldn’t be noticeable in passing, but it’s something the discerning eye would pick up, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.
I’d originally wanted to lug-line the frame at this point, seeing as I had a squeaky clean frame, but things didn’t go as hoped. After some research the consensus seems to be that a reliable way to line the frame for the shaky-handed is to use a paint-pen, rather than with a brush. Back onto Ebay I go and order a fine-tipped pen in gold, which seemed to be a fitting colour for this frame. I take the pen out, give it a long shake, ‘pump’ the cartridge a few times as the instructions suggest to get the paint flowing, do a few scribbles on some card to test it, and the pen immediately breaks. I didn’t realise at first and got a little paint on one of the lugs, but that cleaned up with some GT85 and a rag. Guess I need a new pen, and I won’t be getting one like this again.
Not wanting this to stifle my progress, I turned my attention to the handlebars: the bar tape had to go. As far as I can tell whoever had last owned this bike had inexplicably wrapped the bars with electrical tape, and even if I wasn’t planning on polishing the bars up there was no way I was going to keep this. I popped the bar plugs out and started unravelling the tape, only to find that the original cloth bar tape underneath! It was pretty gummed up from the electrical tape and faded from black to brown – but what a nice little to surprise to find it hiding under all of that.
As you can see, the tape was in a poor state (maybe the electrical tape was an attempt to give it a little more life) and there was no way I could do anything to save it, so off it came. Having the whole of the bars exposed to the elements for the first time in what is presumably an incredibly long gave me a chance to rub down a lot of the grime and muck left behind by the double-tape with some wire wool, and get the metal ready for polishing. I’m not going to polish anything for some time yet, that’ll be done right at the end, but there’s already a noticeable improvement in the state of things.
One nice little feature I spotted whilst doing this also – the bar plugs look to be the original one supplied with the bike. I’d thought to get some Simplex-themed plugs as replacements when I came to re-wrap the bars, but I think I’ll stick with these ones after all.
Next steps depends on what I manage to get a hold of first. If I come across an arts shop where I can pick up a paint marker (in person this time) then I’ll probably get the lug lining done. If not, I’ll probably focus on getting the wheels nice and clean. Let’s see how it goes.