A Sunday Ride to Oaks Park

Care for a dance?

Sunday rides are a ritual for me, even in winter.  But today’s glorious sunshine accompanied by a warm spell (60 degrees!) made getting out on a bike today a real delight.  I often ride out Springwater Trail, along the Willamette River, to visit Tadpole Pond, and the wetlands of Oaks Bottom, accompanied by a swing through Portland’s bustling Sellwood district.  Today, I decided to stop in at Oaks Amusement Park, one of the oldest continually operating parks in the U.S.

Being an amusement park, there are fun rides, including this swooping roller coaster which now induces a slight feeling of nausea, even though I once relished joining my pals for a spin on this magnificent, multi-colored joy machine.

But in addition to having the option to get sick, Oaks Park also offers picnic areas along the river, an historic wooden-floor roller rink complete with a Wurlitzer pipe organ, and is the home of the Herschell-Spillman Noah’s Ark Carousel, which is itself listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  I like visiting the park in the winter, when it’s closed, to enjoy the quiet river views and to marvel at the nostalgia-inducing feel of the place.

I’ve been riding my 1975 Centurion Semi-Pro, which I converted to 650b about a year ago.  I re-used the Sunshine Pro-Am hubs, laced to V-O rims, and installed Mafac Raid brakes to accomplish the conversion.

The Grand Bois Cypres 650b 32 mm tires are holding up well.  They are a nice alternative to tires offered by Rene Herse and Pacenti.  However, it appears that these tires are no longer available, although some models can still be purchased on eBay.  Below are photos of the bike’s features and current components.  In addition to re-using as many of the original Dura Ace pieces as made sense, I tried to stay true to the bike’s 1970’s roots.

Original Dura Ace FD

SunTour thumb shifters with bare helical casing

Stronglight 99 with 47/34 rings

Mafac black washer RAID calipers

Fender spacers – split to facilitate the installation of wider tires

Frame transfers – Dura Ace, USCF, and Tange Champion #1 tubing (faded)

Wrap-around seat stay, chromed

Jim Blackburn rear rack

Tange Falcon headset

My ride was capped off by watching a hawk flying overhead, chased by a murder of crows, only to land nearby with its prey in its talons.  My iPhone camera was no match for that photo opp, but the memory of that scene will live on, accompanied by many other memorable Sunday Rides.

 

1947 Camille Daudon – Component Details

After many years of stops and starts, I’m finally completing my restoration of the 1947 Camille Daudon that came into my possession about 5 years ago.  The above photo shows its condition when I first acquired it.  The frame had been re-chromed, but the rest of the bike hadn’t been overhauled.  There was seemingly not that much to do, but one thing that hadn’t been set up by the previous owner was the Cyclo derailleur, which uses a one-piece cable set up that can be challenging to master.  There were a few other mishaps that made the process longer than I imagined – but that is kind of the norm when it comes to restoring bicycles from this era.

I’ve previously written a great deal about this wonderful bicycle, but haven’t yet described its components, so I’ve included a compendium below.  The bike as pictured weighs about 20 lbs, and as you will see, all components were selected for their quality and light weight.

Wheelset – Pelissier Plume hubs on unbranded 650b alloy rims with Huret drilled winguts

Bars – Unbranded alloy city style bars, with wood dowels.

Stem – Camille Daudon lugged stem with hidden tool kit.  The stem clamps directly to the steerer tube.

Brake calipers – LAM Super Dural Model H with original pads.  The interchangeable hardware allows for reversing the direction of the cable (for mounting on a mixte-style frame).  The caliper arms have no up-down adjustment, meaning that brake bridge and fork length precision was required.

Brake levers – Unbranded alloy levers 

Headset – Stronglight – model unknown

Cankset – Stronglight 49 with Rosa 42 tooth ring, 165 mm arms, anodized blue.

Bottom Bracket – Unbranded alloy with hollow axle and reverse thread left side threading, weight 197 grams.

Derailleur/shifter – Cyclo Standard, Daudon modified shifter

Freewheel – 4 speed J. Moyne – 14-24 (identification thanks to reader Bruno)

Grips – Original Velox grips replaced with Felt Grenoble

Saddle & Seatpost – Ideale Model 65 with duralumin frame and alloy clamps (broken).  (The broken clamps spurred an unsuccessful years long search for a replacement, and I ended up modifying some clamps designed for tubular rails).  Unbranded alloy stem with closed top.

Pedals – Unbranded with alloy cages

Camille Daudon was known for modifying existing components and creating his own. It is possible that many of the unbranded pieces were created by him.  These Daudon-created parts might include the seatpost, bottom bracket, brake levers and maybe even the pedals and rims.

The final step is setting up the Cyclo derailleur and shifter – a daunting task.  Fortunately I recently discovered a technical guide dating from the 1930′s on the disrailigears website, which has proved very helpful.  Stay tuned for the results of the last step in restoring this wonderful machine!

Overhauling Maxi-Car Hubs, Part 3 (whew!)

My Maxi-Car hub overhaul experience has spanned many weeks now.  When I left off in Part 2, I was working on a set of Maxi-Car hubs from a 1977 Jack Taylor tandem.  After running into some issues with those hubs, I went back to the older hubset that I was using as my platform for learning the process.  Those hubs were soaking in penetrant for several weeks.  I had been unable to drop the axle through the hub by striking it with my mallet.  Several readers suggested using a regular hammer with a piece of brass to protect the axle, or a copper or brass hammer.

That turned out to be good advice.  But, I didn’t have a copper hammer or a piece of brass.  And, my local hardware store doesn’t carry copper or brass hammers, so I purchased a much heavier dead blow rubber mallet and finally got the axle of the rear rub to drop down.  The top photo above shows what you see when this happens.  The axle carries with it the two outer seals, plus the bearing set and inner race.  The outer races are permanently attached to the hub and do not need to be removed for the overhaul process.  The hubs and parts were very dirty so I soaked everything in alcohol and then used a pipe cleaner to get at the nooks and crannies inside the bearing rings.

Bearing ring before cleaning

Inner races looking good

Once I had the parts cleaned it was time to begin the lubrication, assembly and adjustment process.

Since the hubs are sealed, I operated on the theory that it would not be a good idea to heavily grease the races and bearings.  The grease has no place to go in a sealed system, so I modestly applied grease, as shown above, using Phil’s waterproof bearing grease.

Now comes time for the assembly and adjustment process.  The above two pages from Yellow Jersey’s Maxi-Car tech manual are the most important resources for the process.  The tech manual was translated from the original French, and so there is the potential for lost meanings and nuances.  The assembly process proceeds in this order:

1.  Assemble the non-adjustable end of the axle with the flat washer and the cambered washers, the bearing cage, and the inner race.  Then insert this into the hub.  On a rear wheel, the fixed end of the axle always corresponds to the freewheel side of the hub.

2.  Put the fixed end of the axle into the hub axle vise.  Now assemble the adjustable side’s inner race, bearing cage, and two washers in the same order as disassembled (See diagram above).  You will note that the inner race will not fully seat onto the axle.

3.  Screw on the adjustment nut until the inner race begins to move downward over the axle, leaving a slight amount of free-play.  Unlike a regular cup and cone adjustment, this is a one-way venture, and if you over tighten the nut, as I did the first time I tried this, you’ll have to disassemble everything and start over.  But, practice makes perfect.  I slowly screwed down the adjustment nut until I felt approximately the same amount of free-play as I would want in a cup and cone hub with a quick release axle.  The instructions say to “take the wheel by the rim and try to move it up and down”.  You want “a little play”, according to the tech manual.

4.  Reassemble the lockring, outer nut and dustcap onto the adjustable end. Lock the nuts against each other.

5.  Now flip the hub over and do the same thing on the fixed end.

The hub should spin freely but without excessive side to side play when mounted in the dropouts.  I ended up doing the adjustment twice because my initial attempt was too tight.  The above video shows the hub spinning smoothly after the final adjustment.

This undertaking was challenging but also rewarding, and I’m looking forward now to working on the Maxi-Car hubs that are part on the 1980’s custom Meral that landed in my shop last Summer.  Stay tuned!