10 January 2017

Progress And Progressions

Today started blustery and cold but ended with drizzle.  In between, it seemed that the Koppen climate classification for this area changed a couple of times.

Tonight I listened to Obama's farewell speech.  I had mixed emotions:  I am less saddened by his impending departure than I am scared of Orange Man ascending the throne, I mean, assuming the Presidency.  I am glad for what Barack did in some areas, such as LGBT rights and energy sustainability.  On the other hand, the United States has spent more time at war, and more innocent people have been killed, tortured or surveilled, than under any other President in this nation's history.

His speech was followed--at least on the station I had tuned into--by the perfect antidote:  a program called "The World of Jazz," hosted by Dwight Brewster, who has become a favorite of mine.  Tonight's program featured Sonny Rollins and musicians he mentored (who, incidentally, include Brewster).  It was all just right.

And what was I doing while listening?

Yes, my estate-sale find is coming along.  The fenders and handlebars (Porteur) are from Velo Orange.  And the crankset is the same as what I have on Vera, my green Mercian mixte:  a Shimano Deore 110/74 with 46/30 chainrings--a.k.a. Gran Fondo gearing--and a BBG Bashguard in place of the outer chainring.  I found the crank on eBay. (The one on Vera came with the bike; I replaced the rings.).  As I said in an earlier post, I am not looking to do a strict "original" or even "period" restoration, but I want to do things that are "in the spirit" of the bike.  The Deore crank was made a few years later than the bike but it's not unlike some of the 110/74 BCD touring triple cranks--such as the ones made by Sugino--from the bike's era.

I took off the SunTour VGT rear derailleur, which I'm saving in case I ever use the 34t freewheel that came with this bike.  I replaced it with a VXs: the "medium cage" version of the Vx.  Ironically, the Trek 412's original equipment included that derailleur and I just happened to have one in my parts box!

I still have some other work to do on the bike, of course.  But now I'm starting to think of some details that have nothing to do with the function of the bike.  To wit:

Do I use this basic black steel-riveted Brooks B17?  The original saddle was probably an Avocet, which came on most Treks of that time.  And, as far as I know, Avocets were like Model T's:  You could have one in any color you wanted, as long as it was black.

With the black saddle, the bike somehow reminds me of a Fuji.  As I recall, at least one model was painted a blue,and had a a gray panel, similar to what's on this bike--and came with a black "Belt" saddle that looked a lot like this black B17.

I have another B17 in brown (actually, aged honey):

Of course, it is a more elegant saddle than the black one.  I think I like the way it looks on the bike. But I wonder whether it's "too much" or "too good" for this bike.  

Also, I am thinking about how each saddle would coordinate with the bar wrap I plan:  A "barber pole", "candy cane" or "harlequin" of blue and gray Tressostar tape, which I think I'll coat with clear shellac.

I'm guessing the brown/honey saddle would work with it--and with the bags I'll probably use with the bike:  the Ruthworks handlebar bag that's on Vera and a wedge to match it.  (The bag will be moved between the bikes as needed.)  The black saddle would be OK with those bags, but the brown would echo the leather in the bags.

Hmm... Big decisions, right?  I went to my "council" for advice.  


  1. I like the idea of a "bash guard", how have I lived so long and never come across the idea...?

    Decisions, decisions! The aged B 17 looks almost too nice as you say, not one to be left outside...

  2. Do your cats enjoy jazz too?

    I am looking at a similar stem height/reach on my slowly progressing Trek project. Velo Orange has a chrome steel positive rise stem that I am thinking about. What brake calipers did you end up using to accommodate the wheel size change?

    Nice build Justine.

  3. The Trek is coming along quite nicely. I’ve been waiting for a progress report!
    I’m guessing that once the bars are wrapped and shellacked, that the brown saddle will end up making the whole thing look pretty swanky. Even with clear shellac, there will likely still be an amber tint to the tape. And the leather bits on the bags will bring the whole look together, for sure.

    I’ve seen the Avocet touring saddle in brown, but they seem to be rare as hen’s teeth.

    My preferred bike-wrenching music is rock. Saturday nights, if I’m working on a bike (I know how to party!), I like bourbon and old bluesy guitar. My wife teases me that as the night progresses, the music gets louder and “twangier” and she has to come and remind me to go to bed at a reasonable hour. There’s something magical about getting “lost” in music while tinkering with a bike. Somehow hours go by in a blink of an eye.


  4. Coline--I'm not sure of how much I'll leave the bike outside. But a part of me wants to save that saddle. On the other hand..

    Mike--The calipers are Weinmann 605s I've had sitting around. They're actually very similar to the Dia Compe Gs that came with the bike--and which I've sold on eBay. The Gs needed an overhaul,and I sold them with that understanding. Although Weinnmann and Dia Compe brakes are similar (sometimes nearly identical), I always thought Weinmann was of somewhat higher quality. Plus I like the way they look on the bike.

    Wolf--I'm sure you're right about the brown/tan Avocet saddles. I wonder whether Avocet didn't make many of them, or whether they didn't sell: Around the time this bike was made, it seems that almost all bikes came with black saddles.

    I usually listen to Classic Rock when I'm working on my bikes. But with Dwight Brewster and Sonny Rollins on the air, I wasn't about to turn the dial. (OK, I wasn't about to press the remote. Funny, how we still talk about "dialing" a phone number or "turning the dial" when almost no electronic device comes with a dial anymore!)

  5. With that cool handlebar wrap plan, I vote for the aged honey Brooks.

    Bashguards - both my 1978 Puchs came with them - they're great!

    Loving the way this is coming together, Justine.

  6. Rebecca--Great to see you again.

    I think I'm leaning toward the aged honey Brooks. All of my Mercians have honey Brooks saddles with copper rivets in varying stages of agedness (Is that a word?): Professionals on two; B17s in the other. Putting the honey saddle on the Trek would more or less bring it "into the family", if you will.

    I'd love to see your Puchs. I think Puch/Austro Daimler deserved to be more popular than they were here in the US!

  7. I have been hesitating to write this reply, not wanting to be the messenger of doom or the proverbial wet blanket. "...more people have been killed... than under any other president..."

    Let us not forget (I use this phrase as I "am of a certain age") what happened in 1945. The Hamburg firestorm, the Dresden fire storm, the Tokyo firestorm, plus a few other firestorms. And then Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These were all civilian deaths. I try to forget and succeed to the point that I can not recall how many hundreds of thousands this comes to.

    The scale of World War II is unimaginable today. Five and a half years and 58,000,000 dead. I think the award for the most civilians killed goes to FDR with Truman a strong second. And it is good that these numbers are UNIMAGINABLE today. Never again. That's the main thing.


  8. Leo--Yes, you are right about the number of civilian deaths. But the US has been involved in war for Obama's entire presidency. I don't think that's true of FDR or Truman, as terrible as those firestorms and the atomic bombs were.