Building another bicycle

This time its a cycle for H. The starting point was a 1980s Coventry Eagle female frame (getting hard to get) built with Reynolds tubing and half chromed front forks, bought on ebay for £80 from vintage bike haus with an office near Finsbury Park. It had a bottom bracket that the seller told me was stuck but might be removed by a bike shop.


Experience tells me that the parts that are stuck into frames when you buy them eventually become the death knell of any bike you build, whether its siezed seatposts or bottom brackets.

A visit to Ben Hawards in Cambridge accompanied by the frame produced beautiful wheels (though out of style with the frame), a nine speed casette (the whole thing is wider than the dropouts at the back by 10mm but can be squeezed in), rear mech, gear chang lever and some tyres.


what we couldn’t find was the right size seat post, nor stem or handle bars, nor crankset nor chainwheel (we wanted a single one). Next, visit to what must be Cambridge’s most secret bike shop, Bicycle ambulance, hidden in a multi story car park. Lots of enthusiasm there and we got a useful crankset though they never replied to my emails.

Of course the cranks did not fit onto the ancient axle so it was time to borrow some tools to try to remove the bottom bracket in order to fit either a new axel or the whole thing with a sealed unit bought from BH. Strangely the fixed cup, often stuck beyond moving, came undone with no effort. I learned from Sheldon Brown that these are left hand threaded which might explain my complete lack of success removing these on other bikes. Now we have a new sealed unit that’s 500g lighter than the existing axel, bearings and cup.


So this is progress to date:

Ride to World Famous Comfort Cafe

Overcast today but the last opportunity to ride for a couple of weeks, so 35 miles of nice-ish roads out through Fulbourn, Balsham and West Wratting, and back on the main road stopping at the biker’s favourite World Famous Comfort Cafe, with half a dozen bikes parked outside. Strangely the place is comforting in some inexplicable way – you can sit outside with a mug of tea and cherry cake for a total of £2.50, minding your own business.