My Raleigh Kalahari Finally Renovated and Now Thriving in Bulgaria

It has taken a few months, but at long last the project has been completed. My 25 year old Raleigh Kalahari bicycle which started its long journey in Huddersfield now resided actively in Yambol. For me it is the arrival of a long lost friend where we both now will head toward the sunset of life in retirement together.

One of the main reasons it has taken so long to renovate was a logistic problem. 90% of the spare parts that needed replacing came from China. Being on a very modest pension here we have to be very prudent as most Bulgarians are. If there is a better deal to be had with the only drawback being the time it takes to get it, then that's the way to go. In this day and age of, 'I want it now!' especially in the UK it wasn't hard to hang on in time to save a few bob. What is the rush anyway? It is just the English mentality that has been that drummed into you to get things a.s.a.p. So in a way the waiting was purposely done in retaliation of that conformity that had been forced upon me over the years. Did I need the bike up an running straight away? No, but my mind had been trained not to think of that question, just to point things in my hand now rather than later. So who won and saved money at the same time on this occasion?

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The start after stripping all the parts
Having got that off my chest, the rebuild of the bike was something I enjoyed immensely. there are many reasons behind this.

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The finished rebuilt and very proud
Firstly, it was like looking after a friend, helping with love and care when in need. The bicycle helped me in the first instance by supporting my quest to give up smoking all those years ago. Effectively without the bike, I would be less healthy than I am now.

Now I'm retired means there is no need to rush anything. When stripping, cleaning and rebuilding the bicycle it was quite difficult to slow down and take my time with making sure everything was done thoroughly. Whenever I felt I was rushing I stopped, thought through as to why and started again at a snail's pace again. It takes a bit of getting used to after lifetime of rushing.

Before I began, I made sure all the tools for the job were available, those needed and not to hand were bought. I don't know how many times in the past a job is started knowing that without the proper tools, mountains out of a molehills always occur. All the tools were bought on Ebay from China at a fraction of the cost, even compared to Bulgaria prices. Some tools took two months to arrive, some didn't turn up at all and I had to reorder extending the waiting time. I purposely made time not to be an issue, besides which it is Winter here a lot of the time it was too cold to work outside in sub zero temperatures.

From start to finish the whole hands on process took around 24 hours spread over three months. this included the three coats of paint on the frame initially.

So the bicycle lives on, I have a family of three bikes now each one has a different role to play on the road. No need to search any further as they all should outlive me.

Pictures of the progress follow...............................
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The forks cleaned and greased

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Handlebars not original but cleaned up ready for re-use

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Rear wheel sprockets dismantled an lovingly serviced 

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Forks and handlebars set up on frame now

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Wheels added to frame looking like a bike now

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Jockey wheel shining after cleaning and degreasing
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Original cantilever Braked sets after a bit of care

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Gear and brake sets now repaired and devoid of rust

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Brake and gears mechanisms now fitted 

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Brakes cabled up and chain in place

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All new cables installed and running free

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Seatpost clamp lives again waiting for the saddle

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Handle bars prepared for taping

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Nearly there.....



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Teh finished product after a test ride!