Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Old Dutch...

You might remember Dutch from the TV program Soap, years ago. Well, meet Old Dutch, a genuine Dutch city bike. It's big and it's a blast to ride to work.

It's interesting, for years, I worked to ensure that bikes arrive at dealers with no damage. We packed the bikes with cardboard, foam, styrofoam, but still they'd shop up at a dealer beat to crap. These Old Dutch bikes arrived in big ole cartons with narry a cardboard protective sleeve wrapped around the tubes and certainly no foam tube insulators. But out of the carton they came perfect as the day they went into the carton. I like this because it means that that 1/2 hour it seems to take to peel off the layers of protection is eliminated. What I didn't expect was the hour it took me to swap out the tube in the rear tire. Well, 1/2 hour on the first bike and only 15 minutes on the 2nd.

Being European, these bikes also have retained the old Woods valve that has all but disappeared in the States. The men's bike includes a frame fitted pump so I didn't deem in necessary to replace the tube with a common Schrader valved tube. However, the granny frame doesn't come with a pump. I wondered at this and my wife suggested that it's probably because women would be riding with their man and it would be the man's job to inflate her tires. Possibly.

So, on the granny framed bikes I got, I set about changing the tubes to Schrader valved tubes. To be honest, I don't have much experience working on bikes with fully enclosed drive trains. The chain case needs to be opened up to remove the rear wheel because of the horizontal rear facing dropouts. There's a wire that fits into hooks on both sides of the vinyl cover to keep the cover closed. It runs along the bottom and once removed, you can access the rear steel loop that makes up the frame of the cover. Removing this, I pulled the wheel out, changed the tubes and set about putting it all back together.

All the parts laid out.

Let's just say that putting it all together took a little longer than I expected as I tried to get the cover to close back up. There's a little "U" shaped steel clip that keeps the cover together behind the rear cog. Not easy to fit back in place. With one bike done, the other went much faster as I honed my technique.

A beautiful, matte red, granny framed Old Dutch bathed in such nice natural light (complete with Schrader valves.