And so the Peugeot begot a wife

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Today my stable of ten speeds increased by precisely 100%. That is to say, I got another vintage bicycle and that makes two.

By the power of a well known online auction site, a Falcon Westminster ladies touring bike has come into my possession, for restoration and resale, provided Mrs Everyday Cyclist doesn’t get too attached.

It’s from nineteen-eighty-something and is a magnificent thing. 531 lugged frame, Weinmann 730 brakes, alloy Rigida rims, SR bars and stem, Sakae chainset, with lovely alloy chainguard. Selle San Marco Anatomica saddle, the list of ‘don’t make ’em like that anymore’ componentry just goes on.

It was completely original, right down to the original reflectors on the wheels and a pot of Falcon touch-up paint in the supplied throw-over pannier.

A day of pleasant polish on, polish off has occurred, plus a little spanner twirling but not too much. This bike had been little used and dry stored and didn’t need much fettling.

Some fresh bar tape and some paint restoration on the stays and she’ll be ready for a new home, if we have the heart to let her go.

This Westminster is a fine old duchess and that’s the truth.

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Regreasing DMR V8 pedals

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DMR’s V8 pedals are, in my opinion, the best non-clippy pedal out there for a number of reasons. Sure you can buy more expensive flat pedals, lighter flat pedals, flat pedals made of magnesium, unobtanium, kryponite.

But in terms of bang for buck, real world performance, comfort, grip etc, they can’t be beaten. And one more thing makes them special to a retrogrouch like me; grease ports.

Yes, grease ports folks.

Back in the day, cars, motorbikes, steam engines, warships, traction engines and so on all had grease ports, oil ports or the wonderfully titled grease nipple.

These wonderful devices were present on hubs, gearboxes, bushings, suspension arms, you name it. If it needed periodic lubrication then by god it got a grease port.

Sturmey Archer hubs used to have an oil port. Every so often the sports jacket attired owner would pop open the oil port on his venerable Raleigh Sports and glug in a few drops of 10w40 motor oil from a corporation green oil can and he’d be assured trouble-free gear operation for another few years.

However, as time wore on the notion of user serviceability took a nose dive and most folk seem happy, nay hell bent, on discarding and replacing items which begin to perform ‘sub optimally’.

Which is why I was filled with unbridled joy today as I gave my Peugeot’s DMRs their regular service.

They were getting a little dry and graunchy sounding as they spun. With a normal pedal this would mean a fiddlesome rebuild but DMR have been thoughtful enough to add grease ports to the V8, meaning that the user can regularly expunge the old manky grease and dirt and replace it with fresh stuff with nary a flicker of the spanners.

The process is simple. Using an Allen key, remove the grub screw to reveal the port. Next fill the supplied syringe with any decent grease. I use Castrol automotive grease, mainly because I’ve got a large pot of it that I bought in 1999 and that if it works on cars then it’ll probably be just fine on bikes.

Anyway, I digress.

Press the tip of the syringe into the grease port and squeeze in the grease until the old dirty stuff comes out of the bearing at one end or the end cap at t’other.

Clean up any excess grease, replace the grub screw and enjoy the silky smooth action of your grippy parallelogram pedals once more.

Now don’t you just wish all the bearings on your bike were as easy to service?

NB: you can do this with other pedals too. I drilled out a hole in the end cap of my Wellgo pedals and injected them with fresh grease and the effect was much the same.

NB2: I used a medicine syringe – it holds more grease than the one supplied with the pedals. Plus the dinky DMR syringe broke immediately in my clumsy hands.

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The obligatory New Years Day ride

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I thought it wasn’t going to happen.

A 4am late night meant an 11am get-up and by the time my body was sending out the kind of signals that suggest that physical activity is possible, the light was fading in the afternoon sky and the clouds and rain were set in for the day.

“But it’s New Year’s Day. I have to have a ride,” said my conscience. So the jacket and gloves went on and I was out the door, heading once more for my favourite country park trails.

It turned out I wasn’t alone. On the trails I met families out biking, splashing through the mud in the late afternoon light.

I passed two small kids, a boy and a girl pedalling frantically on their tiny-wheeled bikes, stripes of mud up their backs and smiles on their faces. They raced me as I loped past, keeping up with me for an instant before dropping away.

I passed a man walking three majestic blue eyed malamutes. Amid the stark winter trunks of the silver birches, they looked like hungry timber wolves. I didn’t linger long in case they remembered the habits of their distant cousins.

I heard crows crowing as they strafed the field, home to the park’s highland cattle; rusty, shaggy hulks clustered around a steaming manger of hay. They looked up and snorted as I passed before resuming their day-long meal.

Soon the gloom was thick and my lights pierced the damp air like the lamps of a ship. It was time to head home, the last light glinting off the polished aluminium of my wheels.

Today’s ride was short but good. I’ve started 2014 as I hope to go on, enjoying the simple joy of the bike whenever I can.

Happy new year to all my readers. Happy riding.