Turf Blog 08-03-23

Now, this blog entry might be better in the Cycling section but as a bicycle is such an important part of turfing, I’ve decided to include it here. A few days ago, I stripped the Surly Ogre bicycle down to the bare frame and dropped it off, along with the forks and rear carrier, at Pentland Powder Coatings, Bonnyrigg, for a strip and paint job. And late yesterday, I picked up the finished article and I’m very impressed with their work. Okay, it’s not perfect but for £60 plus VAT, I’m not complaining. A professional paint job at a dedicated bicycle establishment might cost three times as much, quite likely even more.

I’ve spent this morning re-assembling the bike, starting off by cleaning all the threaded parts with a tap and die set to remove any paint overspill. Makes it so much easier doing the rebuild. Took me about 4 hours to complete the rebuild. Yes, it can be done quicker but I wanted to take my time, be ultra careful and do a proper job. Even then, I managed to install the brake levers the round from previously, left and right levers on the wrong side of the handlebars. But that didn’t take long to resolve. One final task still needing done is to fabricate a new bracket to lower the front mudguard as it’s sitting a little too high.

New parts included bottom racket, headset, mudguards, front and rear brake cables and callipers, gear shifter and cable, chain and a few bolts. All other existing parts were simply cleaned up and reused. One thing I did discover is that not all gear cable inners are the same. The one I had, a standard gear cable inner, was too large a diameter to fit through the hole in the Shimano Alfine gear shifter. Just so you know. And then there the most frustrating task of all. Fitting the lock-bolt to the end of the gear cable. You need to measure exactly 101 mm from ferrule to centre of the lock-bolt, hold the cable and use two small spanners to tighten the lock-bolt, all at the same time. Can be quite challenging.

So, a few words of advice if you are thinking about tackling a similar job yourself. First of all, I would think really hard if you want to tackle this yourself. It’s quite an exercise if you don’t have the correct tools. For example, removing the headset cups requires special tools as does refitting them again. Yes, you can find other ways of doing this but there is always a risk of damaging the part or even the frame itself. A colleague at work, whose father was a motor engineer, once stated you don’t need any special tools for this type of work. You can always find a way. One motor engineer I would not be happy taking a bicycle to, never mind a car.

However, if you do decide to tackle a project like this. Here’s a few hints and tips. Clean and then bag all the components you remove and keep any associated bolts with the component. Replace any corroded bolts or parts that are looking the worst for wear. Apply a small amount of grease to all bolts to help prevent seizure but not any bolts that require thread locking compound. And finally, take your time, source and purchase all the parts before you start and don’t be afraid to call it quits and contact your local bicycle repair man should it all get too much for you. Youtube is a good source of instructional videos.

Well, that’s about that. Just need to fit the Surly frame bag and the Drop Bear handlebar bag and the Surly Ogre is ready to turf. Feels like I’ve just bought a new bike and will be even more so when a set of original Surly Ogre decals arrive and I get then applied. And that leaves the question, what next? I think the Surly Pugsley will be next in line for a make-over, paint job and general rebuild. It’s also about 10-years since it was painted white and has taken a battering over the years. Riding in winter snow and ice conditions and also at the coast takes a heavy toll. I’ve even decided upon the colour, RAL 5015 Sky Blue, also called Nitrous Blue on the Ford Focus RS. Oh, and I think the Swifty Air kick scooter also needs some attention. Back soon.

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