project began when a good friend of my fiance admired a mixte I
had fixed up for my fiance. I asked "would you like one like it?"
and was surprised to find that the answer was an enthusiastic "Yes!"
frames are tough to find, but I have a friend that fixes up old
bikes for a battered women's shelter. Mixtes aren't very popular
with his clientele, so the mixte frames tend to get stripped for
parts and left to rust. I went over to inspect what he had and I
found an old Centurion LeMans from the seventies that was the right
size, but it was rusted pretty bad and would need a repaint job.
One of the pictures shows the frame as I received it.
first step was to strip the frame. The crank was frozen to the pedals
and the pedals were rusted beyond repair. The DiaCompe centerpull
brakes were fine, just needing a little cleaning up and new brake
pads. Biggest problem was the stem. It was corrosion welded to the
head tube and no amount of banging, twisting, or cussing would get
it out. Fortunately, I got some good advice from the Rivendell Bike
Works email list and, after soaking the head tube in ammonia for
a week, I was able to remove the stem from the head tube. The banging,
twisting, and soaking had done in the headset, though.
sent the frame off to the powder-coating folks and tried to get
a light sparkly blue. I got a blue darker than I expected, but I
liked the result, nonetheless.
rest of the build was pretty straight forward. The interesting parts
are mentioned below.
front basket was hand-made by a British basket maker named David
Hembrow. Not cheap, but very nice work, very nice indeed. http://www.hembrow.eu/bicycle.html
The rear basket is a Wald with a stretchy red cargo net to hold
fenders are Gilles Berthoud as is the mudflap. The rims are Gentleman
81 Super Champions and the hubs are Shimano 105s. The tires are
Rivendell Ruffy Tuffy, 700cx28.
handlebars are Nitto Albatross on a Nitto Periscopa stem, with cork
handles from Rivendell.
crank is a Sugino XD300, 165mm, with 46-36-26 chainrings. The pedals
are MKS sneaker pedals. The gear cassette is a Shimano 28-24-21-19-17-15.
The shifters are Rivendell Silver bar-mounted silver shifters. The
rear derailer is a cheapo SunRace 517. The front derailer is an
old Suntour Sprit. This derailer shifts in the reverse direction
of regular front derailers. This means that, for the user, moving
a shift lever down, on either side, always increases the difficulty
of pedaling. This makes it easier for inexperienced riders to remember
how to shift.
result is an easy to use, easy to ride, kind of French-go-to-market
bike. My fiance's friend loves it.
final note on the decals.
My fiance's friend had, for a long long time, a Golden Retriever
named Tyrone. After years of companionship, he died a few years
ago. The decals are a tribute to Tyrone.
supplied a second write-up on the decals
themselves - click here for