• Nipuni Siyambalapitiya

New life to an old bike

We all know that cycling is good for us, physically and mentally. Can you think of a better way to go to work in the morning? I surely can't.

A bicycle slows the fast pace of our lives and allows us move gracefully through space and time; taking a moment to (literally in Tempe these days) smell the flowers.


Ah my first red 'chopper' bike, complete with a set of guide wheels! Man, I look much cooler back then.

I am one of the lucky daughters whose dad thought it was a great idea to get her on a bike early in life. Now that I'm designing stuff for people (and an avid biker still) I wanted to learn about all the components that went into making a bicycle. I headed over to Bike Saviours Tempe, an amazing group of people who accept bicycle and bicycle parts as donations, and give them second (or third!) lives. (Check them out here.. https://www.bikesaviours.org/ I am not commissioned for this, I just love them so much!)


The small workshop is a super organised space with colour coded work stations and tools. I enrolled in their 'Build a Bike' programme with my friend and we set out to explore bicycles from the inside out. We each picked up an old bike we liked and set out to dismantle them by following a very thorough work sheet handed over to us, and the help of the wonderful staff.



First step, removing the bottom bracket. Well, we are trying hard!

Measuring the B.B. cartridge to replace it with a new one

For 6 days spread over a month, we unbolted rusty nuts, replaced squeaky cartridges and learned how to true a wheel. The most surprising revelation to me was to see the ball bearings in the wheel axel just happily sitting there in grease; they didn't roll off any where!


The rear wheel before and after a good scrub and greasing. And of course, some good old tlc!


Everything that goes inside the wheel axel

I know how to true a wheel now! Well, almost. :D

Final adjustments with the break cables

Cycling is truly amazing. It not only gives you plenty exercise but also reduces your carbon footprint. We need more city infrastructure to make commuting by bicycle safe for everyone!



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