It was frustrating to have a bicycle and not be able to ride it, but that was the case for the last week where the Avon sat parked in the garage of our new house, and we were still living in temporary lodging. This was remedied however, by 1. moving into the new house and, 2. acquiring a floor pump that could inflate the old-timey tires on it (which, apparently are not old-timey but rather the standard tire valve for these type of bicycles). Having done the above, I was now less concerned with the details of the bicycle itself, and more so concerned with getting on it and riding about.
In doing so, my priorities reversed rather quickly as I realized that the Avon was not quite yet ready to ride. There was some discrepancy in the way the chain traveled through the chain guard that would result in a pronounced grinding noise every other down stroke, and a whirring from the freewheel that was louder than I liked. So, I took it back into the garage to take a gander at the drivetrain and see what I could do about it sans any of my bike tools, which are presumably in a shipping crate aboard an ocean liner.
While I was at it, I decided to take a look around the frame for any serial number that would give me the date of manufacture. The only thing resembling a year was “AVON 93” on the crank arm, which would lead me to believe it was either kept in a museum since 1893, or more credulously, was made in 1993. So, not quite as antiquated as I had originally thought, but given that Avon Cycles, Ltd. still makes pretty much this same model today, it could have been as new as last year.
Back to the issue at hand, I was trying to find the spot in the chain case that was rubbing against the chain, or if it was maybe just a misalignment in the case. Bending the support brackets made a slight difference, but the margin of adjustment was pretty small: if I bent it too far, the crank arm would rub against it while I pedaled.
While playing around with different chain case positions, I noticed that the lip of the circular portion popped out a little bit, indicating that it was removable. Hoping to get a better view of the chain line, I began to remove it and was pleasantly surprised to see a polished chrome crank within:
Stylistically inscribed with “AVON”, not only did the crank look nice, removing the panel also solved the issue of the grinding noise; needless to say, I was not going to reinstall it.
The second problem with the freewheel worked itself out while riding it-- I think the grease had settled during the years of storage, and just needed to be spun around a few times to get the bearings lubricated well enough. It’s still not as quiet as a new bike, but it’s also built like a tank, so I don’t mind if it sounds a little like one.
- Bicyclist Abroad