Here is the second instalment in my plan to turn my vintage Raleigh Roadster into an elegant everyday commuting bike. You may recall I acquired Janet a couple of months ago. After a lot of elbow grease she is beginning to scrub up quite well.
Following all the advice I could glean from the internet I started off by washing her down with washing up liquid (ecover), which I figured was a mild a detergent as I could find. However, it didn’t work. So I moved on to degreaser (neat). This had some effect, but really wasn’t shifting all the layers of dirt and grease, so I gave up on the eco friendly cleaners moved onto the hard stuff - white spirit. It has to be said even using a product that is harmful to almost all forms of living being (and my lawn certainly didn’t thank me for it) and fumes that could knock out an elephant, it took a hell of a lot of effort to get back to the original paint, but as you can see I got there eventually (well mostly, my patience ran out for some of the more fiddly bits).
The chrome I cleaned up using aluminium foil, as bronze wool recommended by many sites appears to be only available in the US (I now have a stash brought back by DB on his last trip to the States to finish off). I discovered I had a load of foil at the back of the cupboard that had been used at some point (but clean), so I didn’t have to use any fresh stuff. I found it pretty effective, although occasionally it can make noises which set your teeth on edge. It is also a technique which is tough on the fingers, so I wore gloves, which although it saved the skin on my finger tips, obviously didn’t help the stiff joints the next day!
And so, all cleaned up, we spent a whole afternoon reassembling her, including several hours trying to find the right technique to get the chain back on, only to discover that the thread had gone on the rear axle and nuts. Presumably the only thing holding it together before was all the grease and dirt! Anyway, this discovery did force the issue, there was no point trying to see if I could manage on a single speed, before upgrading to hub gears. So, at the moment she is at the bike shop being transformed, so stay tuned for the next instalment, which hopefully won’t be another disaster and I will be able to report that the surgery was successful!