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On the 6th of May, 2016, I start to give my eight year old mountain bike a bit of an upgrade...

Off comes the rear wheel, to be followed by all the gear and chain mechanisms.

Replaced by a sexy new 1x11 geartrain with oval chainwheel. Don't worry if this means nothing to you, just think "new toy for Stevie" and you've got the important part sorted.

But then comes the 9th of May and all three bikes are severely damaged by the fire. Probably not completely beyond repair, but certainly beyond quick and cheap repair. For insurance purposes they're all write-offs.

So, off we rush to our local bike shop and get some new bikes. Hurrah!

However, because the old bikes do look like they could be of use to somebody, we don't immediately skip them, thinking we might donate them to a place called "ReCycle" in Surbiton that we gave another old bike to a couple of years back. Only they don't seem to be in business any more, so the bikes are left in the boarded-up garage until we figure out what else to do.

Time passes...

Amanda's bike is a hybrid, so while it's fine on moderate trails, she does have problems on rougher or muddier surfaces. Later in the year, then, an idea forms: while the plastic bits of my old bike are badly burned or melted, the frame and general mechanics look like they've survived pretty well, so maybe with some new parts and a weekend or two's work, we can get it going again as a second bike for Amanda. Aha!

In early September, we salvage it from the garage. From a distance, it doesn't look too bad.

Close up it's not so good, but as I said, it's only the plastic bits that have really suffered. Looks like we have a project.


"It's dull and grey. I want shiny!"

That's my Amanda. Never mind that some young kids in Jersey once addressed me out of the blue with "Cool bike, Mister!", that cuts no ice with My Lady.

So I make some enquiries into getting it resprayed, but it turns out to be a bit more tricky than expected. The problem is that most if not all of the people offering the service will only do fixed forks, not suspension, and that's certainly true of the couple of places within relatively easy reach.

Ok, DIY it is, so I buy some cans of metallic green paint (she's got a red bike; she'd like a green one) for Amanda to test and decide her preference.

Now if we still had a usable garage, I could use it for spraying paint in, but we can only do it outdoors and that means a reasonably mild day with no wind. Unfortunately, I only manage to get the primer coat on before the weather turns, and that's basically it for the next few months!

And so it's Spring, and we've moved back home, and finally we get some good painting weather.


The wheels are basically fine, but there's some rust on the brake disks than needs removal and other minor work to do.

That's better.

Now, can I remember how all these bits go back together?

I think so.

There, it's looking quite bike-like now. The brakes are just hanging down because I've discovered I need a couple of extra brackets to mount them - probably threw them away by mistake with the old burnt-out components. No big deal, though, order them online and they'll be here for the final assembly session.

Ok! We're ready to rock and roll!

A symbolic zero on the computer...

And around the block she goes! It's the 6th of May, right where we came in!

A few minor tweaks and adjustments are still needed (have to get a green bell!), but the Phoenix has risen from the flames :-)


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