Strangely enough, a few days later I saw the very same bike on a blog that I had been reading regularly. Cursing under my breath again, I offered to help Hubbard learn to repair his own bikes, we met in person not too long after, and have been friends since. I still curse under my breath when I think about him scooping me, but the curses are not as personal - I'm mostly over it. Mostly.
As Hubbard and I became better friends, he got to know my more modern bikes with STI shifters - and was impressed. Like me, Hub came back to cycling later in life (though a little later than me...) and was unfamiliar with the modern running gear. I happened to have a set of Sora STI levers that I had installed on my Falcon, (since removed), and thought that they should end up on Hub's Fuji. I thought that for a couple of reasons; they are 7 speed, which means that he didn't have to buy new wheels (just a 7 speed freewheel), and because the bike was already a Frankenbike, with Huret front derailleur, Shimano rear, Suntour downtube shifters, even a Kinesis aluminum fork. The person that owned this bike before it was donated to the thrift store obviously was into upgrades - so this bike was practically screaming for the new shifters.
It took a while for Hubbard to get the bike and the parts I needed over to the oven that is my workshop this time of year, and longer for me to acclimate myself to working in approximately 900 degree temperatures. However, the switch is now made, I'm a couple of pounds lighter from sweating, and the FrankenFuji now has a modern 7 speed indexed shifting Shimano totally integrated system. As I expected, the bike rides like a champ, and in this humble blogger's opinion, is a better bike for the conversion. If you have an older bike with a 7 speed freewheel, I'd suggest that you keep your eyes open for a set of levers like these; there were only a few 7 speed STI's made, so they are getting harder and harder to find, but they are a very worthwhile upgrade for an older bicycle, in my opinion. No need to stretch the frame to fit a new set of wheels, just slip a new freewheel on.
|Blurry photo of 7 speed shifters|
|Blurry again. Should be mine, blurry or not.|
I'm looking forward to getting Hubbard out on the real roads on this one, and having someone to draft for a change; I generally ride the back roads alone, and he is more of a path guy. Fish gotta swim and bikes gotta ride; I hope that this one gets to fulfill its FrankenFuji purpose.
That's all for now - like Channel 13 I'm going to get back to begging you to DONATE to my cycling related charity with the next post, so be ready. I'm now at $140, and my sincerest thanks to everyone who donated me up to that, but that is only 28% of my goal, so look for more pledge drives in the next few weeks.