I got around sometime ago to fitting the new cassette and chains that I mentioned in the first post Ridgeback project. All seemed to go well but the gears still didn’t change very well so I took the bike to the Pedallars Arms to join and get advice on adjusting the gears. The Pedallers Arms is a non-profit co-op that offers advice and use of tools but doesn’t fix things for you. They show and help but the idea is that you learn to do your own maintenance and repairs. With Bill’s help I shortened the chain as it was about 3 links too long (I hadn’t shortened the new chain when fitting it) and adjusted the cable and stop screws. (I am keeping a full record of all this on a maintenance page). When this was completed the rear gears changed perfectly. I still had the problem of not being able to get the big chain ring. This has not been a problem as the sort of riding I have been doing has been fine just using the small and middle ring so far. Bill confirmed that the problem was with the handlebar change mechanism rather than the front changer or cable adjustment. A search of his spare parts box didn’t come up with a suitable replacement so I left this for another day.
A few days later I took the bike into Woodrups and they confirmed the issue was with the handlebar mechanisms but the 7 speed Shimano Alivio levers were now obsolete. I would have to buy a complete pair of handlebar mechs and levers and also a new pair of brakes as the existing ones wouldn’t work with the new levers. I decided to try and find a second hand replacement for the malfunctioning front change lever mechanism in due course and manage without for the moment.
However, last Monday I popped into Ellis Briggs during a ride along the canal and they fixed my front changer by squirting loads of penetrating oil into the handlebar change mechanism and working the lever until it clicked into the 3rd position and moved the chain onto the big ring. Apparently there are small pawl springs in the index ratchet mechanism and if the bike is in storage and unused for a long time they can seize up. This is clearly what happened in this case. So now I have a fully functioning set of 21 gears on my Ridgeback. The chap from Ellis Briggs would not charge for his service – the job took about 5 minutes and we did it on the pavement outside the shop. This certainly inclines me to use them again – it is probably the easiest bike shop for me to cycle to. It was, and I think still is, a family owned business, like Woodrups in Leeds. I first did business with them in the late 1970s when I bought the Holdsworth Avanti that now sits on my turbo trainer which I alos bought from them.
I still need to replace the mudguards and perhaps renew some cables but otherwise the bike seems to be OK for the immediate future. The rear wheel has a light buckle but this has got no worse over the last year. And the tyres are pretty worn now, not surprising since they are the originals and therefore at least 15 years old!