Not good, but no biggie, right? Sheldon Brown had some instructions for removing such a freewheel. The method was destructive, but I was OK with that. Sadly, I was incapable of getting the damn thing off anyway. My guess is that the thing was seized badly and somebody else destroyed the tabs trying to get it off. I headed over to South London Cycle, more of a repair shop than anything else. The guy who runs it figured he could get the freewheel off somehow, but in spinning the wheel noticed a flat spot. I had noticed it too and thought it was correctable or at least not too bad. I was wrong. He suggested that it would be a waste of my money to have him remove the freewheel, because this was a flat spot I would feel for sure.
I was pretty angry with myself. Live and learn, I guess. The first thing I did was inspect the one remaining rim from the original bike. It was a front, but re-lacing it to be a rear was an option. It had a big flat spot too. I went online and started the search for a new rear wheel. Unlike the last time, there was NOTHING in the local (or even nearby) classifieds like craigslist or kijiji. Ebay and other online stores offered nothing used, and I was feeling reluctant to buy used stuff again anyway. The only reasonably available and good quality 27" wheel in production seemed to be a Sun CR18. The best deal I could find was $70 plus $30 shipping plus whatever they dinged me for at customs. I was sad.
It was a Sunday, and I couldn't reach any bike shops. Many smaller shops are also closed on Monday. I was pretty distressed and wanted to just run away. So I did. I caught the red-eye to London and hung out with Ham. I had to work, however, so I jetted back to London Ontario after chilling out and having a beer.
Tuesday was a good day, because I struck paydirt on my first try. First Cycleworks came through with an in-stock 27" CR18 wheel, aluminum hub, stainless spokes, etc. $62 after tax. Although I didn't make any more calls, I'm pretty confident nobody else would have had one and would have charged me more than that to get one.
So the bad news is that I am naive and too stupid to spot a bad wheel. The good news is that I was able to recover using my wallet and a LBS. I may well try to get a CR18 for the front as well... I'm into symmetry. The used front wheel I bought, however, really is perfect (I have checked and re-checked) so all is well for now.
Build $ Tally:
Used Frame + some parts I will re-use: $80
Wheelset front wheel: $100 (arg!)
Blasting of frame: $50
Powder Coating of frame: $50 (super deal)
Components from Part Four: $246
Taxes and Duties on shipment: $40
14-34 Freewheel: $22
New Rear Wheel: $62
TOTAL to date: $650