Bicycle building project – into the abyss with a Flying Scot
Been thinking of having a go at this for about a year now. A couple of things, pushed me nearer and nearer the edge of diving into my first bicycle building project.
Having an interest in history, watching the TV programme about Guy Martin (The Boat that Guy Built), reading Hilary's post on fixing her rear cassette, and encouragement from my very own 'Shed Man'.
Guy Martin is more well known on the Isle of Man for his TT racing, if you get the chance, to watch the new movie about the Isle of Man TT TT 3D – "Closer to the Edge" it is a brilliant piece of film work, even folk not that interested in motorbikes (me) will find it a really good watch. Guy has a huge fan club here, and he doesn't just ride TT superbikes, he also rides and supports the Isle of Man End to End Challenge www.manxe2e.org a 75km mountain bike challenge ride at the back end of summer. Guy is a highly respected visitor to our island.
Guy is a man of many talents, and making and building stuff is just one of them. He has a real passion for history too and painstakingly researches what he builds. Difference being of course, is that he is an expert in the field of spanners and hammers and I in am a total beginner.
So, how much DO I know about this project – bicycle building that is.....?
Well, absolutely nothing, and what do I know about bicycle history exactly... about the same! I know the front end of a bike and its rear end. I know what brakes are, and how to repair a puncture... er, rephrase that... how to REPLACE an inner tube. Thats a bit different isnt it? Regarding cycling history, I understand the horse came before the bicycle, and that at some point in history the bicycle changed social history, by getting working folk about a bit better if they could not afford a horse. (Except that VERY early bit, when only the gentry had a hobby horse).
This little blog of mine is hopefully, going to demonstrate how to go about building a bike from a beginners perspective, 'cept I shall assume the reader has access either to a very basic bicycle repair manual, or Google. Where would we be without Google!
Firstly to build a bicycle you need to find your frame I suppose.
And, which frame should you choose?
This bit alone took me some time deciding upon. Its a bit of a personal thing, is the frame choice. A bit like buying a good woman perfume, don't bother, give her the cash so she gets what she likes! I know of some very well known brands of bicycle, namely Hetchins of course, Mercian, Bates, Chas Roberts. Price of frame was the first hurdle. The frame HAD to be second hand. And well, if going for a second hand frame it should be old – oldish depending on rarity, too rare = too expensive. Too old = too much restoration to do, and perhaps the bicycle will not be up to Audaxing and long distance riding. It has to be a road bike or a good Audax type bike suitable for long distance and perhaps some touring, to a bit of a utility gal.
I didn't want a modern frame, as I intended to get it painted to my own colour choice, and if possible, the bicycle must be marketable when Im done as I already have 2 road bikes and I have no intention of parting with either of them. This bicycle build was to keep me occupied, out of the fridge, away from the computer (Other than blogging or researching of course) and to learn all about putting a bicycle together from scratch. Its an educational tool for me.
Anyway, out of the blue popped this littl' lady from that famous auction site:
She came up at a reasonable affordable price, importantly of course she is the right size for me, perhaps a trifle large, but then again, she is a project. She arrived in great order, super dooper packaging, I think her previous owner might be a cycle dealer or such as her box was new, and looked like it was specific for bicycle frames.
Here are some more pictures to drool over, and I have my first fistful of questions!
BB my cat in the rear of pic! He loves to be on or near me
The red seat tube seems to have a lot of decals on it. Frankly, I hate the bikes colour and intend to change it for something a bit more classical looking... not sure what just yet.
Now I have posted this, because according to my research, the frame number should be on here. I think somewhere beneath the black it is, but its very very faded. I have been unable to trace the bicycles age properly, but I have some leads. If anyone can read the number, I would be very grateful.
I believe I have a real Flying Scot. (Which is nice) Believe, because I have found the owner who had the bicycle before it appeared for sale on the auction site, and the that seller was an expert in their field. Secondly I have no reason to doubt the auction seller from whom I purchased the frame from and thirdly, I have found that the auction seller is asking a forum about Flying Scots, asking the EXACT question about the bicycle frame's age as I am.
There is a Flying Scot Bicycle Group on Flickr, and I found these pages of information from that site. I do hope the original owner does mind me re-printing it here, I will edit it out should they ask me to.
It seems my frame does not have the typical number. Assuming I have the right number – which I shall add is very faint, but it is on the bridge of the front fork as well as on the BB. It reads, I think as 1961/5. There is supposed to be a letter here as well, it should be K, but its not present. Cannot make out the number on the drop out at all.
So I am hoping the bike frame was built in 1961. But to be honest I am not 100% on this as yet.... More research to do.
Nice tangs (Tang is the lovely workmanship on the bridge of the fork, joining the fork legs to the bridge), the fork bridge also has the number 1961/5 stamped into it, faded and plugged with black paint.
If anyone can help with any information on bicycle building projects, please feel free to do so. The more information I get the better. The frame is in ace nick. No rust spots whatsoever. No lumps anywhere. No dings, no filler (Shed Man had a good look!), and nothing to feel ashamed about. The threads on both the steering and the BB are fine and dandy.
I'm rather chuffed.
OK – what happens next?
I need to find a frame restorer. I want the frame de-blacking, and stove enamelling back to her just out of the factory finish in a classic colour. Black, is simply not a female colour and I want it changing. Assuming the frame gets sent back all done etc and photographed and shown off on here... What is next?
In the mean time, some historical research is coming on here next.
AND look at what has just popped up! This site has been down for some time, now its back and what great timing too!
I have emailed, and maybe they can shed some light on her age before I start anything else.