'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

04 December 2010

Final Sweet Baby Schwinn

I'm tired this morning so I'm going to post the end of the Sweet Baby Schwinn build and take a nap.
The bike is done and I'm back on my meds again. Lu will be so happy.
When last we left our project it was basically done but not yet together. Let's now join Insane Crazy Welder Boy, already in progress.
Ok. Assembly day.
Here's the crank in place. It went in easy as pie with only a little grease and even less swearing. It's off the donor and yeah, it's a single gear. It's not rusty and simplifies the build considerably because I don't have to come up with a working front derailleur. That's a good thing because I seem to be short exactly 1 front derailleur. Also a close up of the repair, sanded and painted.
I gathered all the brake pieces I had and put them in a 1 big pile. Then I seperated them into 2 smaller piles; Parts I recognize and parts that are obviously from a crashed UFO. I took the parts I recognized and managed to make 2 brake systems. I even managed to use the old, hard rubber pads. If you put them on the grinder and go past the outer hardness there is a whole new layer of nice rubber goodness underneath. And joy of joys, they're all schwinn.
Here's those bars I cobbled together with levers and some grips I had laying around. Doesn't saying I have stuff 'laying around' sound a little too convenient? It's all true. I swear. The levers went on with only a little prying and crying. And some hammering. Again.
Here it is with bars, crank, pedals and seat.
It seemed to be missing something....
I kept the Schwinn World badge from the original bike. I carefully polished it but otherwise left it alone. It's things like this that make me love this bike.
A couple of very, very small screws in hands better suited to holding heated metal make for a comedy of dropped things and colorful language. Even the dogs left in disgust.
Ah. Schwinney goodness!
Rear wheel with derailleur and chain. The chain is from the donor. I got to use my new tool, the chain breaker and a masterlink that kinda, sorta works. I think the anvil and a ball peen hammer are on the upgrade list. Notice the black painted hub shield. Dewd, it like rocks and stuff. Totally.
Cables all hooked up and a thumb shifter from...you guessed it, the donor. I hate that frame but I shamelessly stole its parts.
And here it is in all it's beautiful blue Schwinn glory. The brakes brake, derailleur derails, pedals pedal and crank...uh, cranks. The frame is solid and the wheels spin easy if not exactly up to Gary Fisher trueness specs. The rust is all gone and the paint is moderately attractive. It has a seat and a very unique handlebar.
Is it road worthy? Is it safe? Beats me. I'm certainly not going to go first. I enlisted a lovely and far too trusting test pilot. "Hey honey, can you come here for a second?"
Nothing broke. Everything worked and a good time was had by all. In fact, Lu immediately put her claim on it and declared it was just the thing for casual rides with her mom. Now that's misplaced confidence!
Lu's Tribute Collage
Before. Ewww.
After. Mmmm.
All attempted humor aside, I'm very proud of the work I did on this project. I took a pile of rust and bentness that was headed for the recycle (heh heh) bin, another donor someone also left in a field to rot like the Schwinn, 31 dollars in parts and about 16 hours of actual work time and got a pretty neat bicycle.
It's not a trainer or racer. You'll never see someone doing a century on it. It'll never see a hill higher than what the local streets can offer. It's got ancient brakes, 27 inch tires and a handlebar that's a phrenologists dream. It's a 5 speed instead of 10. It has an ungainly lump in the frame that causes people to ask "what the heck is that for?"
But everything works and she rides just fine.
In my eyes she's beautiful. Maybe because in a very real sense, I created her. I took some parts and an idea and made something of value. Maybe only valuable to me and the missus but valued all the same. To me this is way more than just a Schwinn World Traveler with some different and unusual parts and repairs.
Oh, the Schwinn is still in there, don't doubt it for a second. In fact I think she's aware of her new lease on life. Her escape from the oblivion of being melted down to provide steel for some hipster doofus' nose bolt. I think she's proud of her new clothes and her new purpose. I think she's pleased.
I know I am.
I've never had so much fun. The hours I spent totally engrossed in her and completely unaware of job, personal problems, world problems, stresses or even my surroundings were some of the most pleasant I've spent in years. So much so that I'm looking for another challenge.
To all my friends who have encouraged me and commented on my progress, thank you again. I hope you are happy with the results.
It has been an absolute ball and I have no idea what's next.
Now if you'll excuse me, I hear Sweet Baby Schwinn calling my name.
I'm think I'm going for a ride.



Me said...

Very nice. Kudos. Much kudos.

Scott McCray said...

Six -

Man, that just reeks of cool. Goodonya!

Fred said...

I'm just jealous of you having weather nice enough to do that outside... took over the living room to tear apart my project bike. Nowhere near as many usable components...

Looks good!

Six said...

Thanks guys, I appreciate it. I'm looking for another project now even though I have a butt load of work to do on the house.

DrRich said...


Congratulations, it looks great! In 1973 I rode a Schwinn World Traveler from Columbus, OH to St. Petersburg, Fl, loaded with camping gear, in 10 days - and it did just fine. Lu is good to go for a jaunt with her mom.