This bike was in a very sorry state when I picked it up. The rear derailleur had gotten caught into the wheel at some point in the past, ripping the derailleur body in half and severely damaging some of the spokes on that side of the wheel. The tires were dry and brittle, the saddle was torn to shreds, and most of the parts were either rusty or caked in old grease that had hardened to cement. To top it off, it was missing a brake lever, and the shifters were so gummed up with gunk that they didn’t work at all.
I’ve talked before about what makes bicycle repair so special to me, and this build illustrates another aspect of that: the deeply fulfilling act of breathing new life into a damaged, beaten, and neglected bicycle that might otherwise have ended up in the trash. It’s getting harder and harder for us to repair our own devices, so whenever I can save a bike from the junkyard, I feel like I’m scoring a win for the good guys.
In the spirit of Kintsugi, I replaced the damaged spokes with black spokes and red nipples (yes, that’s really what they’re called). Not only is it esthetically pleasing, it is also a statement: the bike was damaged, but now it’s not. The repair isn’t hidden, because it’s something to be proud of.