In addition to a bathroom remodel, one of my winter projects over the course of the past couple months was taking an old road bike and tearing it apart, then rebuilding it from the ground up. I’d waffled back and forth on what sort of project I should tackle, but eventually decided on putting together a single-speed commuter.

I started out with a bike that looked almost exactly like this (unfortunately I didn’t take any “before” pictures, but this is exactly the same bicycle, just a different color)…

The first task was taking everything apart for stripping the frame. This was relatively easy, and after cleaning all the grease and dirt off, I started scraping paint by hand. Because I started the project in the dead middle of winter, I mostly used small tools to clean the frame (small dental-type scrapers to get around the fine joints and a wire brush) and fine sandpaper. Once I had the majority of the paint gone, I waited until we had a decently warm day and set upon it all with some harsher chemicals outside on a piece of cardboard in the driveway. With some fine toothbrush cleaning and a bit of mineral spirits, I got it down to the bare steel frame and fork.

Because it was still winter, actually priming and painting the bike again became a waiting game for days over 50 degrees Fahrenheit. I would dutifully everything out when we’d get rays of sun, then bring it into the house and fine-sand between coats, finishing everything up with five layers of enamel clear coat.

Putting all the parts (and believe me, there were quite a few of them) back together was surprisingly easy given my lack of experience in bicycle rebuilding, and aligning the back cog with the crank fell right into place with a little bit of tweaking. The end result is something I’m pretty happy with, and it’s incredibly fun (and fast) to ride as well.

If you’re interested, there are a few more photos in a Flickr photoset.