Another Project.

The wife called me from the school she works at, upset because one of the kids just got hit by a car while riding his bike. Actually, he hit the car, because the bike he bought two days before had no functioning brakes. He learned this as he was going down a hill. Boom.

Kid is more or less OK. Little banged up, but otherwise all the parts are where they're supposed to be.

Could I fix his brakes?

Crap. Knowing the income level of most of the school's families, I was picturing a Walmart bike that had been left out in the rain for a few decades, meaning I would be wrenching on this thing for months to get it to resemble an actual bike.

I was half right. It was actually a bike store bike. Admittedly it was a low-grade bike store BMX bike, but the bones were there. It was build like a tank, but in a good way- especially for a kid with few resources.

The problem was that it had not been taken care of. The wreck had broken one of the brake levers, but it wouldn't have made a difference because the calipers were frozen, the brake pads were a distant memory, and the cables had become one with the housings. The crank wobbled in an ominous manner. The front wheel was far out of true with road rash on the brake track. The headset rattled if you looked at it funny.

I bought some utility-grade parts and started wrenching. Three more trips back to the bike shop and I almost had enough to complete the job. The simple brake job kept expanding, as I uncovered one potential life-ender after another. I went through a tube of grease on this thing, repacking bearings and generally lubricating parts that were as dry as the Sahara. 

It's still not done, but I ran out of time and energy. I'll finish it up in a day or so, and hopefully the kid will be healed enough to ride it. He's got enough troubles in his life. He doesn't need a dangerous bike adding to them.
He's also getting one of my old helmets, because he wasn't wearing one because he couldn't afford one. Most of the freebie helmets given out by various agencies won't fit his noggin, and I'm not sure this one will either. Worth a shot. He lucked out this time, but next time he might find himself in a much worse situation.


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