Week 72: Getting round to it

I finished putting together a beater bike for L—: one that isn’t too expensive or risky to ride somewhere and leave parked. She has a Brompton, which is very convenient in one respect, but you have to take them with you. Sometimes that isn’t possible.

It’s an old 90s “ladies” “mountain” bike (i.e. 559/26” wheels, dérailleur gears, and a sloped crossbar) that I picked up cheap. I had already replaced the tyres with non-knobbly ones, added mudguards, and replaced the cables. But then weather intervened, and it wasn’t until a sunny day last week that finally finished it off.

The last bit I had to do was to adjust the brakes. Easy enough in theory, but first I had to centre and true the front wheel. It’s a tedious process, but as long as you’re methodical you get there in the end.

I restored a broken guitar pedal that I found on eBay. The Ibanez Tube Screamer TS9 came with a snapped circuit board, broken wiring, and a cracked battery door, but that meant that it only cost me £25 instead of the (frankly ludicrous) £120 price of a new one.

I fixed the circuit board with judicious application of epoxy and careful soldering and repaired the broken wiring.

An effects pedal PCB. The corner has been snapped off where it is screwed to the case
A close-up of the rim of a bicycle wheel. The valve has broken away from the tube and is hanging off

I searched for a replacement battery door. It looks like they are sometimes available for sale, but not here, and not now. So I made one. I took a lot of measurements, coded it up in OpenSCAD with a few changes for the printing process, and 3D printed it. It fits perfectly. I’ve posted the design on Thingiverse.

An original broken battery door next to a 3D printed replacement. Apart from a few changes to make it easier to print, they're more or less identical.
The 3D printed replacement battery door is in place in the pedal. It fits perfectly.

The only remaining task is to restore the rubber on the bottom. I’ve ordered some self-adhesive sheeting for that.

I find it very satisfying to fix broken things.

Our next-door neighbour finally fixed his fence, the one that had been falling down since before we bought the house, and that finally collapsed in February’s storm. Unfortunately, he decided to try to do it on his own on Sunday morning, and fell into our garden and damaged some of the plants. I went out to give him a hand, and the upside is that we now finally have vertical fences on both sides of our garden for the first time. I just wish he had asked for help before he started. I had offered several times!


  • Week 71: Pop goes the wheel

    A different kind of bicycle drama this week. I was half asleep on the sofa when a loud bang roused me. This was followed by a hissing that alerted me to the cause: the rubber around the valve stem of my Brompton wheel had split and the valve was no longer connected to the tube.

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  • Week 70: Staying upright

    I had an awful experience cycling along the pedestrian and cycle path next to the East London Line on Sunday afternoon. It was a sunny day, with many people walking and cycling. I heard an engine behind, and five or six young men on three motorbikes (or maybe scooters) approached at high speed. When I became an impediment to their progress, because I couldn’t get out of their way when they nearly crashed into me on both sides, they deliberately tried to knock me off.

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  • Week 69: Gaeltacht Chois Tamaise

    I eventually finished off all the cauliflower I’d cooked, L— came back from her trip to France, and life is back to normal.

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  • Week 68: Dinner for one

    L— is away visiting friends in France, so I’ve been home alone, and I needed to use up the enormous cauliflower from our vegetable box, so my diet has been a bit monotonous. I still have several servings left. At least the thing I cooked (Indian style with spinach) is tasty.

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