Ole Rusty, the Rampar Touring 14, is no longer rusty, although he looks a bit scabby for now, until my camouflage efforts make the bicycle invisible to the human eye. I may be placing a bit too much faith in my painting skills. But the Raleigh Rampar Touring 14 is at least rust free, and pre sanded for painting. As the original coat of paint was a Tuscan red, I am merely sanding off the top coat and using the original paint as primer.
I began cleaning the front rack in situ on the bicycle, as it is a good holder for that piece while I am doing abrasive cleaning. After that, all the accessories will be removed for the final finish coat sanding prior to the new coats of paint followed by a good matte clear coat when the weather turns more amenable to such hijinks. Right now, it is hot and humid. The heat is okay, but the humidity, at this level, is a less than optimal situation.
I am also looking into a 650 B scenario for the wheels on this bicycle, at least as an option. Clearances seem okay, but the brakes seem a little on the problematic side of the situation. There may be some experimentation involved with this issue. The chrome socks on the front fork cleaned up well, which bodes well for the Terranaut, which also has a rust issue or two beneath the shiny exterior. Time alone will tell how everything will turn out with these two, but the Touring 14 is getting well underway, time and weather permitting.
I ran across this saddle at the bicycle co-op the other day. While the flat topped rivets give it a Brooksian air, I can assure you it is not a Brooks Cambium, one look at the underside will tell you that. There is also a lack of any sort of branding on this saddle. It has a nice look to it. It also has an appropriate amount of “give” and a nice solid fabric used in its construction. It is also very lightly padded.
I thought this saddle would be an appropriate addition to the Raleigh Rampar Touring 14 . When I remove the rust and give the bicycle a disruptive camouflage paint job. The earth tone flat exterior of the saddle has a low key approach to bicycle seating. This saddle is not particularly distinctive, like the Pryma. Neither does it shout out old money and good taste like so many fine leather saddles do.
Like the Raleigh Rampar Touring 14 itself, the saddle is understated. I will have to put some miles on the saddle before I determine if it is underestimated. I think it may well be a fine saddle as well as a bit of an impostor of finer saddles. I also have the intent to give the Touring 14 some finer components. I want to make this machine punch above its weight, and I think a lighter crankset, more gearing, some finer wheels, and better derailleurs will help in this regard.
I seem to be right on the fringe of atmospheric ridges this summer. I had some severe thunderstorms go east of me, but I got high enough winds to be unable to cycle in them. A light plane flew near my house, and it was obvious he was having difficulties as well. I had to put off, then cancel my ride for today. I thought I may have to for the heat, but wound up doing so because of the wind.
Weather has long been an interest of mine. You get to see a lot of weather from a bicycle. It directly affects you greatly. What I have been witnessing lately is an essential quirkiness and unpredictability to the weather. Weather systems seem to have expanded as our computer systems have gotten better at monitoring them. While it is not a frightening situation, it is a worrisome one.
So, I continue to carry some gear like a light poncho or raincoat in case of inclement weather, and have a knowledge of my area enough to be able to find some sort of shelter commensurate with the weather situations I find myself in. I like to rely on a good forecast, weather alerts, and some common sense forecasting to keep me safe. This has been just fine for the situations I find myself in. So far.
I am feeling a bit better, and now I can cover 10 miles or so in warm weather and not feel bad about it. Which means I probably actually have 20 miles in me at this point, and need to be able to do about 30 miles with regularity before I consider myself all back to normal. Not too bad for an old guy. I am glad to have the Raleigh Sojourn to get around on again.
I took a little ride today between the light but annoying rain showers just to see how old Route 66 was doing, as well as a good portion of the trail on my return. I rode the streets on my way there. That was a contrast to last weeks ride, which was in the country for most of its mileage. Do I feel it? Sure. Do I feel better? Sure. I think a bicycle ride is a great benefit to my overall health and well-being.
True, my speed is dismally slow. I usually ride alone, but I see my slow speed as a challenge to overcome, not a permanent situation. I have always been a slow but stubborn rider, and I still get where I am going. As I take more weight off the wheels, I will go faster for the same effort. The wider tires are making the road shocks easier, and I like that, especially as I ride farther.
One of the things to arise out of my times away from this blog has been a need to diet. I probably should not have let my dietary choices get so bad I wound up in a hospital, but this is also a process of aging. Cycling has kept my weight stable and even caused me to lose weight from time to time. But as I have aged I have merely been marching in place.
My mileage has dropped due to changing work conditions. But I am trying to get some new times for me to ride . That will be some help. I mainly have to get heathier before I can do longer rides. At my age, I am suddenly seeing I do not bounce back as I used to. So I have been eating less, but more balanced food in my diet. I think everyone has been eating out less.
I am happy to be finally getting more vegetables and less meat in my diet. I also need to eat less than I have. This is making good progress on my situation. Mostly, I have just wanted to let folk know that while I have not been riding as much lately, I am still dedicated to cycling as sport, transportation, and exercise.
I am currently thinking of removing the paint from the Terranaut, as I have mentioned earlier. A reader posted in the comments that it would be a nice idea for the frame, and I am coming into agreement with that viewpoint. I am told that it is definitely a Bridgestone frame, made for The Touring Cyclist, a shop in St. Louis, as a house-brand bicycle. It is built to be a triathlon bicycle, but I think the previous owner knew it may make a good touring and distance bicycle as well, as he had already added a front rack.
I seem to be taking a lot of other peoples ideas and putting them into this bicycle, but I often do that. Others can often see the hidden qualities of a bicycle, maybe more than you yourself can. I remain open to suggestions of others. It takes a village to make a good touring bicycle. This bicycle may be more of a distance bicycle instead, with a front and rear bag instead of racks.
I am taking the components from the Bianchi for this bicycle, because the frame is complete, straight, and quite unblemished, outside of a little rust. Not a lot of rust, like the Raleigh Rampar Touring 14. That is definitely a repaint job there, probably into camouflage of one sort or another. I have always wanted to go with a camouflage paint job for a “stealth” tourer, although I do not know how stealthy a slow and older overweight rider on a 1970s-1980s touring bicycle would be.
I was able to fix the rear wheel of the Raleigh Sojourn last week, before the Diamondback blew another tube. I am working on getting another tube, and diagnosing what is obviously an ongoing problem with the tire or rim on the Diamondback. But the rear wheel of the Raleigh was another level above this sort of problem. The wheel was not spinning freely, and I was unable to undo the outer bolts on the axle.
In the end, I wound up finding the wheel to be in pretty bad shape along the axle. The rim and spokes were fine. I had to remove the cassette just to get enough purchase on the outer bolt on the drive side to free it. Even then, the bolt was difficult to remove as the threads had corroded a bit over the years. It took myself and another person at the bicycle co-op to free the cassette from the hub.
After that, I was able to undo the bolts holding the sealed bearing surfaces, and get those greased. These are not actually fully sealed bearings, but labyrinthine bearings on this wheel, so once I removed a shield covering the bearing, I had to be careful to keep the bearings upright as I greased them. Then I flipped the wheel over and did the other side. I was surprised hey did not fall out. The bearings were quite dry. I am glad I took the time to examine the Raleigh and get this solved before I was going any distance.
Loaded bicycles also put some strain on the situation. I have also ridden this bicycle in many types of weather. If that continues, I may have to replace the present bearings with true sealed bearings. That will be quite a process, and will deserve a post of its own. But I think this job will hold up well for some time. I should not have to go to such extreme lengths next time, either.
I got in a few miles today on the Diamondback Outlook. It is a better riding bicycle with the new and bigger tires. Although it blew another tube and I had to get a ride home. Luckily, even though this is a big bicycle, it breaks down small enough to fit in a car trunk. I favor the threadless fork for just this reason. All it takes is a 5mm Allen wrench to remove the handlebars and fork. Then you can fold them along the inner triangle of the frame.
I am going to have to investigate the rear wheel of this bicycle. It obviously has a serious problem that may require some diagnostics to resolve. I have to find this recurrent problem. I am thinking maybe a burr or a bad spoke head may be to blame. I may have to resort to the cotton boll test. Cotton will attach to any rough spot. It then shows where the problem is. This can either be on the inside of the tire, or the inside of the rim.
I have also been running this bicycle with some bullhorn handlebars. I may change over to drop bars, if they prove more comfortable. More testing will, as always, be required. I often find drop bars more comfortable, even on shorter runs. How well the bicycle works with drop bars may also have something to do with all of this. The frame may be a bit long for drop handlebars. But sometimes great bicycles are discovered through experimentation.
Every year this happens. I leave the roads and go to the trails, because the oil and gravel roads around me melt in the heat, which gets tar oil all over my bicycle and the running gear. I have just taken the expedient of sticking to the trails instead, where it is shadier, the gradients are easier, and there are fountains and rest stops as well. All of these things are great in summer.
When roads are re-tarred, also about this time of year, gravel is put on the roads as well. Sometimes a lot of gravel. And when the truck finishes the load, a pile of gravel is often left across the road. I like to avoid that as well. I like the freedom of riding on low traffic roads. Just not enough to put up with all of this. The surface is a little too informal for me to ride a bicycle on it.
The rest of the year, when it is not so hot, these roads are great, and do the job for everyone. A few weeks in summer are a small price to pay for the presence of these roads the rest of the year. All roads cannot be paved or concrete. Taxes and population density simply will not support that. That is why I find myself lucky in having access to 50 miles of trail right from my own neighborhood.
I finally felt like riding the bicycle today, but now the front tube on the Diamondback has gone flat, stopping that process until I can get more tomorrow. I am still slowed by some complications with my recent illnesses, so I won’t be getting far when I do get the bicycling going again. But I think such impediments only make me appreciate the ride even more.
Life often reminds us that sometimes even the simplest of pleasures do not always come easily to us. The older you get, the more such gentle reminders occur. I am by no means in poor health. I am glad that I have the health cycling has given me as a starting point. Had I not had exercise all these years, I shudder to think what a state I would be in today.
I have also found that regular health screenings and doctor visits can be a help, as is good nutrition. I have battled weight all my life. My main weapon in this battle has been cycling. Cycling has made me a fitter person, a better photographer, and a person who appreciates the little attractions life has to show me in my local area. So I consider it all quite worth it.
Vintage and veteran bicycles of quality and how to preserve them for future generations, with a particular interest in the French 'constructeurs'. Please note all images are my copyright unless otherwise stated, and may only be used with my express permission.