After stripping and priming the frame I began to clean up the components. Evaporust works wonders on the surface rust that defaces steel parts. A stiff nylon brush, Dawn, hot water, and elbow grease take care of the chain rings and cranks. A wad of aluminum foil and a dab of spit cleans up the worst of the aluminum grunge. I haven’t decided if I’ll use the rear derailleur since it seems mismatched with the rest of the kit.
The Stronglight 99 (new style) crank arms are just recent enough that I could use a standard puller for removal. This is a good thing, because I loaned out my Stronglight puller about two years ago and never got it back…
I decided to give the frame a quick primer coating to protect the frame from rust until I figured out what the heck I was going to do with the darned thing. I like lugs, and the window lugs on this frame add a touch of class. Unpainted, the brazing looks pretty amateurish but the paint sure does seem to hide those ugly joins!
After tracking this frame back in time, I’ve discovered it was brazed together by a local engineer who was also an amateur frame builder. And with this revelation, finally, the unusual combinations make sense to me! The head badge is not only the marque, it is also his name. From what I was able to gather, this was his personal bike (his third); he built ‘em to ride ‘em. That’s kind of a cool piece of history to me.
I debated between a very clean white, some sort of very practical middle gray that might disguise the inevitable scratches, or a simple and elegant black. Black wins. I was also debating about a thin red lug lining, and possibly filling the lug windows with red.
I had thoughts about making up a name and adding it to the down tube, maybe in a sort of Art Deco typographic treatment. But now that I’ve discovered some of the story behind the bike, I’m tempted to put his simple name plate back onto the head tube instead.
I used a Sharpie metallic gold marker for the lug lining. Even though I’m a professional artist, I’ve never had much success pin striping with a brush: like calligraphy, I simply don’t have the hand control for that type of thing. Sharpie makes this great opaque metallic gold marker that made lining so much easier for me. I had to pull the head set again after striping – I put the cart before the horse, re-installing it before I had added a final clear coat to protect the lining.
After giving this a lot of thought, I’ve pretty much decided to keep the wide range of gears, but run porteur-style bars for a more upright ride. I’ve not done much cycling with this type of setup, so it will be a very different type of experiment for me.
So, the frame turns out to be a homemade affair. Is this all simply putting lipstick on a pig? If it is, I’m good with it.