|Pedal body with axle, washer, locking nut, dustcap, and cone. Not pictured: ball bearings.|
A few people think I’m a great bicycle mechanic. This notion is quite far from the truth. Oh sure, I can do some basic stuff. Fix a flat? Sure. Adjust brakes? Grudgingly. Mount stuff? Okay. Since I have toured extensively, I can do the basics. But I don’t like doing certain things, so I’ll just bring my bike by a shop. (It doesn’t hurt that there are 83,267 bike shops in Portland, the closest one from my house two blocks away.) Anything major? Drop it off at ye old bike shop.
Of course I’d like to be able to do more work on my own bicycle. I should learn how to do more things. I’ve never been mechanically inclined, so some bike repair intimidates me. This is no excuse.
Tomorrow is Portland’s annual Tweed Ride. The Rudge Sports in all of its path-racer glory would be the most obvious mount for such a themed ride. Hopefully I’ll be able to ride it, though the weather has been dreadfully rainy this week, and more of the same is expected tomorrow. The Rudge is a “sunny day” bike in its current configuration, as the combination of steel rims and no fenders does not lend itself to wet rides. If it is raining, I’ll take the Raleigh. But if it isn’t, I want the Rudge to be ready. And one thing it needs is pedals. I originally ran the “rat trap” pedals that were on the Raleigh, but they sucked, so I installed my ’80’s Shimano Deore pedals with Power Grips. They work, but they’re not aesthetically appropriate for the bike.
So I got a pair of SR quill pedals from my friend Ed. While they are 70’s style road pedals, not rat-traps, they are more appropriate for the Rudge. There was one problem, though: one of the pedals was a bit grindy, but not overly so. It would probably be fine, but I decided this would be a good opportunity to teach myself how to overhaul a pedal.
Yes, pedal overhaul, a lost art. Many modern pedals are either not designed to be serviceable, or they use cartridge bearings. But these pedals came from a not-so-distant past where it was expected that you should be able to service any part of a bike. So with my copy of Sloane’s Complete Book of Bicycling (25th Anniversary Edition), I went at it.
|The Sloane book.|
Most pedals I’ve seen have a dust cap that needs to be pried off, but these conveniently had a screw-on cap, removable with a 6mm Allen wrench! Easy! I gave the inside a blast of WD40 to clean it out. Then I removed all the internals: the lock nut, washer, cone, axle, and all of those ball bearings. (Despite being extra careful and doing all the removal over a bowl, I still lost a few bearings. So I got some more from the bike shop.) The only issue I found was there was some stripping of the threading at the “top” of the axle, where the nut/washer/cone screws on. I asked the bike shop if they thought it was an issue, and they said as long as the nuts can tighten properly, then it should be okay.
After cleaning the parts and a liberal application of grease, I put everything back in, tightened nut/washer/cone, and put the dust cap back on. And now: no grindy feeling!
I did the same thing to the other pedal. Even though it had no grinding, the inside was dry as a bone, so it got a greasing.
Then I attached some nice steel clips with leather straps to the pedals. Voila! Classy pedals for a classy bike. And most of it free: the only thing I bought new were a set of Zefal leather straps which set me back $8.50. And now I have learned a dying art.
|Illustrations on fitting a toe strap. From Bicycle by John Wilcockson (1980).|