Sunday, November 29, 2009

My CCM Marauder

Here's one of the reasons that I got back into biking, apart from that caress of the leather saddle on the Raleigh Sports. The CCM Marauder.
Back in 1975 my trusty Raleigh Chopper 10 speed bike of doom got stolen. It's the only bike that ever got stolen from me and it was the first one that I bought with my own money. There was no way my Mother was going to pay for that death trap, so I had to find the coin myself.

Anyways, my Dad felt my pain and decided to make it all better and bought me a CCM Marauder thinking it was the same thing. Well you know, it has a small front wheel and those ape hanger bars right? Not! I gave credit to my old man for trying real hard but I hated that bike. I rode it for a few years and one day it just vanished from my life. The Marauder, compared to the Chopper, is a heavy weight and doesn't handle as good. The frame alone must be in the 30 pound range. The brakes however are similar to the Chopper, they don't work worth a crap!

However, even tho it's not as cool as the Chopper, it is still a very different looking beast than your run of the mill lowrider bike and very hard to find. Low and behold 2 months ago I decided to have a look at a local garage sale a few houses from my place with zero hope of finding anything good. Most of the stuff sold around here is left over baby toys and clothes. My spur of the moment decision that day paid off big time.

I saw the bike at the end of the driveway just begging for me to take it home. I was thinking to myself "He's going to ask at least $50 for this thing, I don't have room, I'm done with bikes, etc..". The other problem was that at some point in my life I was actively looking for one of these and 10 years of searching provided me with zip. But there it was and my mouth was opening to ask the price knowing that the answer would seal my faith.

Me - "So, I much for that bike?"
Seller - " $10, it's a collector's item you know?"
Me- "OK I.....I didn't bring any money! Would you take a $2 deposit? I'll be back in 10 minutes"

So now it sits in my storage shed waiting to be revived in the Spring. This bike got me back in the swing of things. Within 24 hours of getting it, I had located a NOS seat and chain guard from my contacts. The bike rides nice but does need a lot of work. I even have to get some welding done on it. I'm also debating about repainting it or bringing the original finish back as good as I can and live with it. I'm leaning towards the second option since these things are only original once.

On a side note, I love you honey and I promise to sell one of the bikes to make room for this one. :)

Until next time, ride safe and Godspeed.

Gerry :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009


For those of us who live in the snow belt, winter bike storage is a yearly chore that has to be undertaken. Granted some of you still ride in the Winter, but I'm sure you use a beater bike or at the very least store part of your stable away from the elements for the season.

Tossing a bicycle under the balcony or leaving it in the yard at the mercy of Mother Nature is a sure fire way to shorten a bike's useful life. We'll deal here with some of the preparations that should go into proper bike storage and other considerations.


The best of all options. If this is possible for you, by all means please do so. Controlled climate is the best way to keep your ride healthy over the Winter. The best place would be within your living quarters or the basement of a single family dwelling. Lockers that are usually found in apartment buildings are often the favorite shopping place for bike thieving scum. Lockers are usually away from living quarters and not the scene of regular human traffic. You might want to hide your bike underneath boxes or a swarm of your unused knick knacks. Putting a lock on the bike is not an option in this situation. Make the bastards work for it if they decide to give it a go anyways.

The least desirable of both options, but sometimes the unavoidable one. At the very least, your pride and joy should be covered with a tarp of some kind, left under a roofed structure or in a shed. The enemy here is prolonged exposure to humidity. Strip the bike of all removable and delicate components. Leather seat, bike computer, saddle bags and anything you can easily remove should be stored indoors.

Storage units are also a useful thing to consider. Sometimes there’s simply no room around the house, and storage units are safe, secure, and usually climate-controlled, meaning you can put your mind at ease until it’s time to ride again.

Here are some things you should do before leaving your ride alone for a long period of time. Lube the chain and all derailleurs. Shift down all derailleurs to remove tension in the cables. This will effectively put the spring in them at rest. You run the chance of losing your first gear on the chainring and the last gear on the rear wheel if you don't take that precaution. Trust me, I've been there.

Clean the bike to remove any dirt residue that could turn into rust over the winter. The best thing to use for this would be lemon furniture polish. Pledge does a great job, clean with one rag and then buff with another. The wax left from the cleaning should add some protection to the finish. It smells nice too.

Put some air in those tires. Rubber inner tubes are porous to some degree and you do lose air pressure over time. A low pressure tire sitting at the same place for a long time will develop a flat spot. This will effectively turn your ride into a clown bike...sorta. Another way to avoid this is to hang the bike from the ceiling, eliminating any contact on the ground with the tires.

Lastly, lock your bike up. Even if it is stored with you in your living quarters, it is still vulnerable. I've heard of a friend who's bike got lifted while he was inside his apartment. If you already have a lock, it won't do you no good if it sits in storage in your saddle bags over the winter. Take the extra 30 seconds to get some peace of mind that you already paid for.

Until next time, ride safe and Godspeed.

Gerry :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Well I guess only crazy people don't change their minds and that's why I'm glad I didn't say I was pulling the plug for good in my last post. I guess I needed to get away for a while and that put things back into perspective.

You can thank my 1956 Raleigh Sports for this return to bike blogging. I took it out of the shed yesterday to bring it in for a warm winter storage in my basement shop and it just hit me. I love bikes! What was I thinking? The sweet leather saddle, the old yet sexy finish and those skinny black tires just begging to be taken for a spin. I did and then it all came back.

So right now I don't have much to write about since I've been mopping in my corner feeling sorry for myself and doing other worthy yet not as fun things as bike stuff. So I promise you an intelligent post before Monday. In the meantime, if any of you wish to read about anything specific, please feel free to ask about it in the comments and I'll be more than happy to oblige if I can.

In conclusion, I'll share with you my final thoughts on surviving a heart attack and being hit by a car within 6 months: If the almighty wants me back, so be it! Until then, let's have some fun and live.

Until next time, ride safe and Godspeed.

Gerry :)