In the last month I've learned more about bicycles than I knew one could know. And I feel as though I know so little. On my way to Fairbanks this summer, to live at home with Mom and Dad, I fired an old coach of mine an email to see if he could use a hand at his bike shop, Goldstream Sports. He had just been considering calling me up and offering me work, so it worked out well for me to start as soon as I got home. I've been fixing and building and selling and talking about and oogling over bikes ever since.
Being a rookie mechanic, and eager to learn all there is about fixing bikes, I decided to tear down and completely rebuild my own bike. About 5 years ago, I spent my first summer job's earnings on a Lemond Poprad cyclocross bike. I have many happy miles on it, and it desperately needed some love. The bike only came in boring black, and I had always dreamed of giving it a new wonderful paint job. Since I had all of the parts off of it anyway, I decided to spruce up the frame with a fresh coat of paint. I spent hours researching the proper way to prepare the frame, what type of paint to use and how to do it right. I found out that doing it right would cost me as much as the rest of the bike, so I opted for the rattle can method and only spent twelve bucks on paint.
The hard part, I later discovered, was removing the tenacious baked-on enamel factory paint. Sandpaper was way too slow, the power sander took off metal, and I so I was left with nasty chemical paint stripper. I went through an entire can of the stuff, and a package of steel wool stripping all of the old boring black paint off of that thing. Would never do it again, but once I started, I was obligated to finish.
I got the layers of new bright blue paint on, with some fancy masking work, and had it dry by the time the new parts came in. I decided to give the old boring black machine a sweet new look with gold highlights in the paint, gold cable housing, a gold chain, and brown handlebars and saddle. A sweet new wheelset, and this bike is better than it was when it was new. It's been a fun project, a labor of love, but now I have a bike I can really take pride in.
My constant companion throughout the de-painting. I spent probably 10-12 hours working with this stuff.