MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

POOR BOY  SS - INTRO

BUILDING THE POOR BOY SS

 POOR BOY SS - UPGRADE

RIDING THE POOR BOY SS 

 

BICYCLES OF CANADA

RIDING THE POOR BOY "SINGLE SPEED"

It is important that one remembers, the Poor Boy is, basically, a stripped down, entry level bicycle.  Ride quality is defined by durability, dependability, and performance, from the comfort or "user friendly" points of view.  The bicycle will not be light.  The bike will, however, be easy to pedal and have a very light, or manoeuvrable, feel to it when ridden.  Under normal city riding conditions, the need to change gears will all but disappear.  And, with the passing of time, you will become almost unaware of the bicycle's presence as you zip from here to there.  The bike just becomes part of the experience, never dominating it.

The Peugeot Sport "Single Speed", will never offer nearly as nice a ride as a good quality vintage bicycle.  When compared to some of its own siblings, an early eighties Peugeot Course or the near legendary PX10, the Sport falls considerably short, in the ride offered department.  To achieve a ride comparable to the Course, the build would have had to start with a higher end frame, coupled with more sophisticated components, including, at the very least, a 700c wheel set, with quality tires mounted.

But the "Poor Boy", even without all that sophistication or any of the comfort upgrades, offers a good ride and one that is certainly more rewarding, than a department store issued, entry level mountain bike's.  And, both bikes will be roughly equal in monetary value.  The "Poor Boy" exudes character, its own thanks to an impossible to mimic patina of age, and yours, thanks to the decisions you made, when building it.  You will find that just about any converted "Single Speed" will be very easy to ride.  Shifting, no matter who is doing it, is a result of intentional thought and action.  The very act, interrupts the joy of the ride feel, in precisely the same manner that applying the brakes does.  All of this is, of course, opinion only and not fact.

The Peugeot "Poor Boy", and I, set out for our test ride, under anticipated but unpleasant riding conditions.  The temperature that day was about -15 degrees Celsius, with little if any wind chill.  Of course, the moment one begins to ride, the wind chill factor must be taken into consideration.  Though cloudy when the ride began, the sky did offer a wee promise of showing some winter blue, as the day wore on.  That, of course, would not necessarily mean that the day would get any warmer.  A light patina, of frozen snow, blanketed the roads and would prove to be a good test for the tires.

There was a bit of trepidation with the tires mounted.  I had not been able to squeeze an acceptable set of used tires from The Old Shed.  Only one local bike shop had a 27" tire, with an aggressive tread.  I decided to wait, until I had tried what I had, before spending the money to purchase one new tire.  With that fitted into the plan, and dressed to combat the cold, the Peugeot and I set out to return a couple of rented movies.  If the ride proved to be uneventful, I would return home straight away and call the build a success.  If some tuning or adjusting issue cropped up, I would deal with that, and test ride the bike again.  By the end of the day, the Peugeot would be done.

Mid Winter is hardly the time, to be attempting to put a bicycle though its normal paces.  There is no way anyone should be trying for top speed, through the city of Thunder Bay, in deep winter.  It is possible to ride on a fairly regular basis, but only by riding differently.  With this in mind, I wanted to see how the Peugeot felt to pedal, on bare pavement.  I wanted, also, to hard test the brakes, once again needing bare pavement, to do so.  I would not, however, be attempting to bring the bicycle up to top speed, for any reason.  I will leave that foolishness for another time.

The bicycle proved to pedal easily on bare pavement, thanks to the 42/17 tooth count.  I was a bit worried about the gear reduction, thinking it would be wise to move the chain, to the next largest cog.  Moving to the larger cog, might prove to be just right, for slower Winter speeds and the drag, often caused, by fresh snow.

The bicycle, on that test ride, did have a tendency to slip and new tires will be purchased in very short order.  Well, one new tire and one old one, that I finally managed to find fitted to a late seventies Cambio Rino.   The result will be a non-matching tire set, that offers increased traction, and stability, for cold and wet weather riding.

Pedals are an important consideration, for winter riding conditions.  I like a pedal that has no up or down position.  This eliminates the need to fumble around with Winter boots trying to get the pedal flipped over.  It simply a matter of step on, push down and go.  The selected Lyotard pedals were original issue, to the bicycle, and had slightly serrated edges, to help prevent frozen, or wet, boots from slipping under load.  The pedals proudly sported their patina of age, adding nicely to the apparent worthlessness of the bike.  These Old School pedals even include unbroken reflectors built into their structure.  Bonus!

All in all, the Peugeot "Poor Boy" build is a success.  The entire effort took a couple of easy days and the cost to me was about ten dollars for cables.  Everything else was coughed up from The Old Shed.  The urge to shine the bicycle up, just to see how it would look, is still strong.  I put the idea to some rest by getting into upgrading a mid seventies Sekine SHC 270 "SS".  That nice old custom is in the work stand at the time of this writing and will likely become the good weather "Single Speed".

 

 

     

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