Saturday, August 21, 2010

Frenchie currently getting some serious love

While the SJ Bike Party was *tremendous** fun, the frenchie decided to show signs of her 40+ age. For the next few days, it will be getting tons of love from Dallas + Sasha over at Citizen Chain.
On Friday, the rear brake cables went on sabbatical and quit on the spot, and while stacking my bike around simple parking maneuvers, the Transat infamous crazy saddle, snapped out of this world. The chain is getting replaced, amongst many other wear-tear usual suspects.

I saw this day coming so it comes as no surprise, and new saddle ideas are already in the brain oven for months. As beautiful as the Brooks Pro-S my road bike Torpado « the smurfette » has treated my rear behind - I will be more than likely to go with another fine Brit piece of equipment because the frenchie deserves the best.
She is a tough machine that has taken me everywhere on an almost daily basis for many years, and has shown me the many colors day in and day out, fed my wanderlusting for my beautiful city, and doesn't cease to present me and encourage me with the multiple empowering spectrums of my inner strength and confidence a woman and her gorgeous French two-wheeled machine could possible achieve. I love mi bicycle very mucho.
OK, enough with the I-miss-you sillyness, she will be back as the badass she is pretty soon.
frenchie is quite tough on the inside
Frenchie is a real elegant calaca on the inside.


  1. Interesting engineering on that bicycle seat -- don't think I've ever seen the innards of a bicycle seat before... Hope you "spring" for a new one... (yuck, yuck)

    But down memory lane here we go... When I was a kid I got very familiar with fixing my Sturmy-Archer 3-speed coaster-brake hub. They were SO unreliable -- mine had to be rebuilt on a regular basis and I got pretty good at doing the job myself, even though it isn't a repair job for the faint-at-heart.

    I think they call it a planetary gear, and four little wheel shaped gears turn inside of a larger gear, and while all this is happening those little ratchet thingies that go click-it-e-click have to be in the right place and under proper spring tension.

    Taking the hub apart was the easy part -- getting it back together was another story... Everything had to slip in smoothly into the outer hub -- and the brake dealies had to be just so -- a task that is probably similar to assembling a watch.

    The breakdown problem was that once any one gear became nicked from a piece of grit, rough shift or abusive pedaling; the other gears would become nicked as well and before long little chunks and pieces of the gears would grind away at the other gears. Before long you had no gears and you could pedal all you wanted but you wouldn't go anyplace. Nor would you be able to stop.

    And that's how it would happen -- backpedal hard to brake and suddenly the whole hub would snap. Or be energetically pedaling up a steep hill and have the gears let loose. (watch out handlebars, here I come)

    I used to go to Brodie's Bicycle and Small Engine Repair on the border between Pacific Grove and Monterey. Mrs. Brodie always kept a good stock of replacement parts for the hub and I always enjoyed the experience of stopping by the shop. And YES, Mr. Brodie had one of the most fantastic collections of pin-up nudes on one wall of his shop. Sometimes I made up an excuse to go to talk to Mr. Brodie, who was always back in his shop futzing around with lawnmower engines.

    So, take care of Frenchie -- and being able to give her professional treatment and repair is kind of you. Keep her in good repair. May you never have a flat tire.

  2. My dad's moped had a seat just like Frenchie's. He had a second saddle sewn for his bike, in the eighties. The 2nd one lasted many more years than the original saddle.

    Have many more years of fun on the Frenchie, Meli!

    Peace :)

  3. Get well soon Frenchie!

    In the meantime you get some quality time on the Smurfette!

  4. With a fresh new chain, cables, and saddle, it's going to feel like a brand new bike.

  5. ay frenchie!! i can't wait to see how new you become :) i'm pleasantly surprised to see how long that seat lasted. calacas unite!! and then untie!

  6. Take good care of that bike and your grandchildren will thank you for it when it gets passed to their generation. It'll probably need some paint by then, however.

  7. Hi Meli! How about a white Selle Anatomica?

    A slightly different approach from Brooks but super comfy. You can get it with or without the cutout. Here are some visuals for you:

    Good luck!

  8. She's gonna be so happy to see you when she's all better. :)

    What a grand reunion it shall be!


  9. so the seat just kind of popped off?

    I need to get a new seat for my road bike, it feels like sitting on a skinny piece of metal, sooo painful!


  11. I cannot wait to see how she turns out after her makeover :)

    Hope you enjoy movie nite!

    xoxo Mary Jo

  12. Get well soon, Frenchie!

    I know she will. One of the best things about these classic, simple, steel framed beautiful bicycles is the absolute ease of fixing them up better than new. 40 years is nothing for her :)

  13. wowz, they don't make saddles like that any more. hope she fixes up good. - patrick

  14. thank you ALLLLLLL <3
    she will be ready soon +gettin me in all kinds of troubles

    donald/ oh man thx so much for sharing the story. you know speaking of nudies, almost feels that a repair shop is kinda required to have some or pin-up classics, keeps it dirty +nutty LOL
    I have enjoyed taking the frenchie around for repair, all the mechanics have seemed the challenges that a french bicycle has, starting with 'particular' cables that aren't even made anymore. takes some real attn. to detail ;D

    chandra/ oh wow, that is super. I bet that saddle was a piece of art. Im all for repairing things, but overtime I have not become a huge fan of the springs, to be honest… I dont think France has as mean hills as we have here in SF…

    mr./ and you know? im kinda loving it. the other day I blazed up a super steep street going from pac heights on my way to the lower haight. I ownnnnnnnned that hill LOL

    ratTrap/ +I cant wait :D

    ctx/ calakitas unite. tu ru tu ruuuu

    steve/ aaaaaaah that is so sweet. i hope one day they get to enjoy it and love it as much as I have for the last few years <3

    lee/ oh wow thanks sooo much for the links! I think that because I have had such nice experience with my road saddle, I have become a fan. you know, now that I've seen your set, I think i saw these cool saddles in the manifesto shop in oakland :D

    cycle2stars/ :D yes!!

    eli/ well it was kinda bound to happen for the last 2 years. the stitches had all had come out already, mi friend had taken a detailed photo -crazy saddle…
    Once I changed my road's saddle, (that and the larger freewheel) made all the difference in the world!
    Keep me posted how your saddle-shopping goes.

    JC/ yea, +it happened rite before the SJ bike party started, make that 30mi…. oops

    maryJo/ ah thanks so much luv!!

    dottie/ she is a vintage classy lady for sure <3 her and your betty are long-distance BFFs :D

    patrick/ si, pronto estarĂ¡ de regreso <3


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