Monday, April 30, 2012

A Bike Built For Mom

I couldn't build a bike for my dad and not my mom. Hell, I'll build a bike for just about anyone who'll ride one and mom seemed keen on riding. That was all the encouragement I needed. 

My mother grew up poor and never owned a bike of her own. She doesn't have the great childhood memories of riding bikes everywhere all the time that many of us hold dear. It seems all this "bike joy" had pent up her entire life because when she let out an audible "weee!" on her first downhill coast, it was unquestionably sincere. 

I chose a mid 70s Peugeot UO-18C mixte frame as the platform for the build. It's the right size for her and the mixte design will ensure easy mounting/dismounting for many years to come. She has some upper vertebrae injuries so an upright position was called for. The Nitto Dove bars were perfect. While I'm a big fan of derailleur drivetrains, I chose the new Sturmey Archer X-RF5(w) wide range 5 speed IGH for mom's bike. Coupled with the thumb shifter it's a no-nonsense, no-worries drivetrain perfectly suited to an inexperienced cyclist. 

The wheels were built by Vic and I with polished 700c CR-18 rims and Sapim double-butted spokes. The front hub is the economical Sanyo H27 dynamo (generator) hub we're fond of here. I like the centerpull brakes so often found on vintage bikes, but in the interest of maximum efficiency and minimum maintenance I upgraded the bike with the Tektro R559 calipers and FL750 levers. Her bike has confidence-inspiring braking; perfect for the hills of western Kentucky. 

To tackle the climbing part of those hills I paired a 42t chainring on the Stronglight 93 crankset with a 21t Nexus cog on the hub. This pretty much gives her two climbing ratios, two cruising ratios and one to bomb down the hills. 

Being a horse rider most of her life she really appreciated the Brooks B18 Lady's Model saddle. I installed PDW "Bourbon" grips that match the saddle well, Velo Orange sealed bearing touring pedals (these are so lightweight and grippy!) and Spanninga and Planet Bike lights. The Peugeot "brrrring, brrring" bell was a kind gift from a fellow vintage bicycle enthusiast in Paris who wanted to contribute something to a bike I was building for my mom. 

Happy riding to all you mothers out there!

By Justin Hughes