Sunday, December 26, 2010

OYB Pannier on the Raleigh Twenty: First Impressions

Christmas has come and gone, and I got all that I could hope for!  For the most part, it was a great day with the kids and my wife, enjoying each others time on this planet together.  We spent the afternoon/evening over at my in-laws house, feasting on Who-pudding and rare roast beast.  Before we left for the folks house though, I had a chance to quickly mount up the new OYB Pannier I received on one of my Twenties and snap a few photos.  It turned out better than I expected!

I had been looking for a set of small panniers for the Raleigh Twenty for quite a while.  I generally use a rack mounted trunk when I commute, but it doesn't hold all that much and looks kind of goofy and "new."  Most of the panniers I was finding looked too modern and were just too big.  When I saw the OYB Panniers reviewed on Lovely Bicycle a while back, I put in my order for one.

 The overall effect, in my opinion, is spectacular.  In terms of size, they are perfectly proportional to the size of the bike.  The vintage look goes well with the time period of the Twenty too.  And in the case of the brown colored frame, the leather trim matches perfectly.  I tried it on the olive colored frame and it also blends well with the green canvas of the bag.
 Here is a closer look.  There is no internal reinforcement to keep the bag looking square when it is empty.  Doesn't bother me.  Once some stuff is in there, it should be fine.

 My number one worry when ordering this bag was whether the mounting hardware would fit a Pletscher rack.  As you can see, it is perfect.  The rack mounts seem pretty rugged, but might be a little short.  My only concern is that the bungee strap that connects to the frame below is strong enough to keep it mounted if you hit a significant road bump.  We'll just have to see.  My first couple times out, I'm only going to put clothing in it.
 Here is the bag open.  It has two side flaps to keep the water out.  By no means would I expect this bag to be waterproof, but it looks like it could handle a bit of the northwest's liquid sunshine...

You can see the shoulder strap in the bottom of the bag.

The pannier lifts off the rack frame very easily using the handle on the top - just lift up, lower down to let the s-clip release and off you go...
So how big is it?  Here is a picture of the pannier with my iPad in it.  It fits PERFECTLY.  This bag seems like it was made for the iPad.  My iPad is 8" x 10" and I could probably slip 5 or 6 side by side in the bag.

So there you have it.  Based on what I saw, I immediately jumped on the OYB website and ordered up a second one.  I like the more symettrical look of having a pannier on both sides.  Besides, I can fit rain gear in one side and my "essentials" (iPad, journal, phone, etc..) in the other one.

Overall, very happy with this bag!


UPDATE 1/10/2011:
Response to Aarons question about the relative coloring of this bag to the Carradice Barley bag...  Here is a photo of the two side-by-side.  The OYB pannier is a bit lighter, and, to my eye, a bit bluer.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Three Twenties

Here are a few pictures of my Twenties, all nestled snug and warm in the garage for the winter. These are the three that I have built out as close to original as I could get them.

They actually snuggle together quite nice and take surprisingly little room when stacked together like this.

They all are dressed up for the holidays, wearing their headlights and air pumps. The blue and green ones sport white plastic pumps, the brown one has a polished aluminum one, quite fetching actually. Bluebell has a silver stainless bell, the other two have brass bells. I've replaced the grips on Brown and Green with shellacked cork grips from Rivendell Bike

Hiding behind me during the shoot is my stripped down R-20 in metallic black. I'll pull out some photos of him later.

These bikes represent a lot of work over the last year, and a lot of fun. They are great little bikes to tinker with and have kept me out of trouble during the afternoons and evenings. I have parts on some of these that have been sourced from all over the world.

Not really sure where I'm going with all these... I really only ride the brown one and the wife rides the green one- grudgingly. I've thought it might be fun to build up a fleet of these for a small beach rental bike business that I think would be fun to have someday. We'll see. That's a future that seems a long ways off...


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Biking Christmas

OK, it's been way too long since I posted to this blog. I need to change that. The last month has been absolutely insane at work. The company I founded so many years back has been undergoing some major transitions and I've been all wrapped up in it. Suffice it to say, I couldn't ride in at all. I've been missing it greatly.

But that has not stopped me from thinking about bikes! And buying some goodies. Here is what is in Santa's bag for this holiday...

Carradice Barley Saddle Bag

I really like this bag. It will be the second one I have. I find them rather difficult to move from saddle to saddle with the rubber fittings I put through the seat loops to keep them from cutting into the leather. I want to get away from the rack trunks that I have used in the past.  It is on order from the motherland (UK) and I'm hoping it arrives before Christmas. It was sent out a couple weeks ago and should be arriving soon.

OYB Pannier

I spotted this pannier on Lovely Bicycle blog. I loved the vintage look of it and hope to match it with the Barley on a rack. If it looks nice and works, I'm going to try and get another to have a matching set.  They look pretty small.  It is here, in my bedroom upstairs but I have to wait till Christmas to open it. Bah Humbug! ;-)

Brooks Glenbrook Saddle Bag

This is a bag that I think I finally just reconciled the fact that I have REALLY wanted a bag like this one for a long time. I just couldn't bring myself to put down the money.  I just ordered it for myself... Sometimes the best presents are like that. It was so easy to put the order into eBay, minimal shipping cost and no tax from Nevada... Here is hoping the delivery elves are able to get it here in time...

I have a number of other things to write about, so despite NOT being able to ride all that much in the rain, I will have a few posts coming up


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The office dweller

Rode in to work today on a foggy Seattle morning.  This was the maiden voyage of Blue Belle, my "new" Raleigh Twenty.  Here you can see her staring out the windows of my office waiting patiently to cruise the pavement this afternoon.  It should be a nice ride home!

She performed admirably, if not a little shaky after her re-build.  There are a few rattles and dings that some rubber washers should take care of.  I'm going to stop by True Value this afternoon and pick some up.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Modded! Raleigh Twenty

Well, after a long reprieve on the blog, I have some news to post...

Over the last couple months, I have been very active working on bicycles - to the detriment of many other projects around the house.

I now have 4 (four), yes, you read right, four Raleigh Twenty's. I've been searching for a folder that was in crappy enough condition that I could modify it, strip it down and re-build it. The third one was it.

You can see the bike in original condition in a prior post - it was a blue single speed coaster brake. There were many problems with this bike. It lacked brakes. The headset had been modded already and was missing the nylon bushing (as well as the headset top nut). The wheels were in horrible shape... essentially, it was just a frame. A rusty frame to boot. The decals were a mess

The work took place over the last few months. Here was the process:

- Frame stripped, sanded, naval jelly to rusty spots, degreaser, primer x2, paint x3, clearcoat x2
- Wheels from an old Specialized kids bike fit perfectly. Rear is single- speed coaster brake. New tubes and tires.
- Headset replaced with 1" threadless after cutting 9mm off top of head tube (based on a post here)
- Weinmann 1020 long reach brake block found on eBay installed on the front with some old salmons that I had.
- Saddle is a Brooks B- 66 on a Kalloy post. (I swap it between bikes)

I have to say, the headset replacement was a fearful moment for me.  I've never "cut" a bike frame before, but it went off without a hitch.  And, the steering is soooooo smoooooth.  I really want to ride this into work, but I'm a bit worried about the single speed and the hills.  I might be walking a bit.


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Friday, September 17, 2010

Stumpjumper Graphic

One of the first bikes I ever bought was a 1985 Team StumpJumper Mountain Bike.  Beautiful midnight blue with the Shimano "Deer" shifters and dark blue anodized stem.  I was digging through some boxes to find the receipt for my NiteRider MiNewt X2 headlight (long story, it crapped out on me on the way to work this morning - pitch dark) and came across the original owners manual for my StumpJumper.  I loved the graphic on the front and made part of it my new blog header.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Blue Twenty

I just picked up another Raleigh Twenty via craigslist (Thanks Jerome!).  These are the pictures Jerome sent along of the bike in it's "pre" condition.  I have already started to tear it apart.  It is in pretty rough shape, but not as bad as it could be.  The frame paint is OK condition, with a few nicks and scratches.  The decals are a bit faded and chipped, but overall, the frame is straight and will clean up fine.  The bike wouldn't even roll due to the front wheel being frozen.  The bearings in the front hub were locked up with rust.  I filled the axle shaft with WD-40 and very carefully rocked the adjustable cone until - crack - I thought I'd broken the axle.  But the bearings had freed up and I was able to remove the axle shaft.  Bearings were rusted and the cups were pitted, but not horrible, so I steel wooled them the best I could and put the wheel back together packed with grease.  It rolls now!  I don't even notice the pitting in the cups.

I thought it was missing a rear brake at first, but then realized later (when I got it home) that the rear hub is a SA 3-speed COASTER BRAKE!!  This is what I was trying to build up in the modded R-20 I've been working on. I won't have to mess with this one at all.

Much work to do, but I think this little coal miner's daughter of a bike will clean up pretty nice...

Jerome, if you read this, I'd love to get a little more of the "back story" on this bike.  You mentioned that your buddy was going to toss it and it was his mother's bike.  Where did they live?  Was she the original owner?  Any other details?  Can you post them in the comments here??

More to come as she cleans up...


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Coming along

Well, I've gone completely off the deep end with the Raleigh Competition GS.  I've spent the last few days removing layers of grease and cat hair from all over this bike.  Not really my neighbors fault - it has been in storage for about 20 years and collected a lot of spider webs and hair on an already greasy frame.  Anyway,  I've taken it all apart and fully degreased, cleaned and now waxed.  It has come back to life again!

So here is where I've gotten to.  The original tires were 700 x 28's, designed for road racing.  But I'm going for a bike that is somewhat like the Pashley Guvn'or.  These are 700 x 35 Schwalbe Delta Cruisers in cream (I have a thing for cream tires these days I guess). These tires barely fit between the chain stays in the back, and no need to worry about fenders... they will not fit.  At some point, I may move the Conti Gatorskins I have on my Surly over here and put the Deltas on that bike... make it a real cushy ride for commuting.

This bike has taken a fall at some point.  The frame is fine, but a couple of the components were in really tough shape.  First was the brake levers - extremely scratched up.  I ordered up a set of identical Dia Compe drilled levers from someone on eBay and they arrived almost the next day.  Good thing about these levers were that they came with the original cable and housing as well.  Saved a few bucks on this one.  The cable/housing is a little shorter than I'd like, but it keeps it looking very sleek over the bars.

So I have a few other things on the way...  The rear changer was badly damaged in the fall too.  It ground the top swivel nut into the body of the derailleur causing it to wobble in the hanger and not swivel.... not good.  So I have another changer being shipped in from, well, Hungary.  I know, I know.  Off the deep end.  I can't put it all together until the changer comes.  The chain is in a pot of lubricant working out the years of grime.  I can't wait till the new Campy Nuovo Gran Sport rear changer gets here and I can put the drivetrain back together.

I shopped some Campy pedals from that era... sorry, just too pricey.  I have a set of MKS Sylan Track pedals coming, with some stainless steel toe clips and leather straps.  All via eBay.

And to top it all off, you can see the Brooks B-17 Special saddle from the Faggin now mounted to the Campy seat post.  I have purchased two different sets of bar tape, and each time thought, it just wouldn't do to have plastic tape on this girl, so.... yes... a set of Brooks Honey leather bar tapes are coming.  The best deal I could find on eBay has them coming from Northern Ireland...

This will end up a truly international bike!


Monday, August 23, 2010

A busy weekend

Its been a busy summer and the blog has suffered.  Sorry.  I've really been enjoying myself though.  I tend not to ride much when the temperature gets in the upper 80s and 90s, so I do not have many war stories from the saddle.  But I've been working on bikes in the shop and have a number of stories to share from the bench...

This last weekend was a real winner in terms of finds.  My neighbors were all having garage sales.  We didn't get our act together to price up stuff to sell, so we ended up hauling a bunch of cr*p to the local thrift store.  Now I stop at the thrift store on a VERY regular basis looking for bikes and didn't notice this one the other day when I was there.  After dropping off stuff, I just happened to glance at the rack and noticed some bright yellow ramhorns.  "Just a second..." I said to my wife.  I wandered over and the first thing I noticed was the full grouppo of Shimano 600.  "We are buying this bike" I said.  Tires were flat, chain was dry. there are a bunch of scratches and a very minor dent in the top tube... BUT after all that is said, it is Reynolds 531cs with FULL Shimano 600 (hubs, cranks, brakes, changers).

It is a Trek 610 from 1983-1985, blue and yellow, it has a very "Swedish" look about it.  The tires and tubes are new.  The saddle is a throw away, but the pedals are vintage MKS.  A real nice find.  It is a 52cm frame with a 31" standover height.  (For my friend at Starbucks this morning, this is the bike I was telling you about... measure your standover height - floor to, ummm... sorry no other way to say it, pubic bone, if 31" or greater, this will work for you)  It needs some serious cleaning up and new bar wraps and gum hoods... it will be perfect for a shorter road rider.

When we got home, I drifted over to my neighbor's house to see what kind of scraps he had left from his garage sale.  My neighbor has been a roadie for years and currently has a carbon fiber something he rides. 

"How did you do on the sale" I asked.

"Not too bad, I had a couple mountain bikes that went for $40 a piece" he said.

I mentioned the bike I got at the Thrift Store.  He asked me to wait and brought out a very  (VERY) grimy bike.

"This was my first ride when I started getting into cycling back in the 70s.  I put it away years ago thinking my son might pick it up.  I was going to sell it today, but forgot to bring it out."

I stared at it.  Under the grime was a Raleigh Competition GS, full Reynolds 531, Campy Nuovo Gran Sport changers, cranks, BB and hubs.  The brakes are high end Dia-Compe alloy blocks with drilled levers...

"umm... what are you thinking of asking for it?"


"Are you sure about that?  This is a pretty nice bike."

"I'd be happy to see someone riding it that really appreciates it.  It's yours if you want it..."

This is the Raleigh, now fully dis-assembled and on the rack.  I've got the wheels off now.  I want to take them in and have the spokes tightened.  I'm putting on new tires, tubes and rim tape.  The bike went down in a crash at one point and damaged the rear changer.  I have a new one coming via eBay.  Ditto with the brake levers.  Although they worked, I figured a new set with no scratches would be worth it.  Since I'm only $25 into the bike, I figure I can put some bucks into it and really make it nice.

My biggest question will be how to treat some of the areas where the paint has been scratched off.  Underneath all the grime behind the crank/inner chainring, there is an area where the paint has been chipped off, probably due to some rough riding/dropped chain.  I don't want it to rust, but am leery of painting it and ruin the vintage look.  Since I plan on riding it for a bit (it's my size exactly - 59cm)

Campy changers front and back.  I've got the rings off to clean them.

Reynolds 531 throughout - forks and stays included.  There are a few decals where the edges are starting to peel a bit.  I'm looking into what kind of glue I should use to re-affix them.

So I have a LOT of work going on with these... fun fun fun.  I'm up to 21 bikes now between all the kids and my bikes...  I need to sell off a few.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer Lull

The heat of summer (not to mention being way to busy at work) has kept me from the keyboard over the last few weeks...

Not to worry, there have been many updates to the bikes and I'm planning on updates soon.  Stay with me!


PS - a teaser... from Manzanita, OR.  Lovely!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

My Commute

I have to admit I'm pretty lucky as far as a commute goes. Much of my ride us on the Mountains-to-Sound Greenway between Mercer Island and Bellevue. There is a section of the trail that surmounts a small arching bridge over the Mercer Slough, a marshy section of Lake Washington just south of Bellevue. It's a great place to canoe, quietly slipping between the reeds to spy turtles, ducks, dragonflies and, the symbol of Raleigh Cycles, the Great Blue Heron. One time, following a particularly crummy day at work, I stopped on the top of the bridge to catch a couple of river otters frolicking in the weeds and mud of the bank. They seemed so carefree, and, just watching them play, washed away the cares of the day.

I often stop here and hope to introduce my Tourist to the other herons in the neighborhood.


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New Orleans sightings

I have been a bit lax on updating the blog recently. I was in New Orleans last week on business and was really impressed with the number of bicycles I saw. It makes sense- the delta lands are flat and cycling would be a joy, if it weren't for the absolutely oppressive heat.

The bikes I saw were much like the city itself- a mix of parts, and a little dirty and provocative at the same time.

Here's a jaunty young buck, an older Schwinn, ready for a night out on Bourbon Street. He's got his bars done right to catch the attention of passing loop frames that might happen by...

This young stallion is rocking a set of the ever-present emerald green party beads that have become synonymous with this city. Loving the old school brass bell...

This little Brompton folder just made me a little homesick and wished I had my beloved Twenty with me. I must find a way to transport it by plane.

This is a pretty typical scene. This older couple has seen better days. She looks on from the safety of her wrought iron balcony at a gent who went a little too far last night. She's only a little worse for the wear, missing her saddle. He's now passed out in the street and thieves have picked him apart. The dangers of over-indulgence...

I love this city, but you must be careful. My only regrets from this trip were not having my bike with me and not making it out to Wallingford Bike shop.


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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Third Twenty

I've got to stop looking around on craigslist! I just keep finding more bikes.

I recently came across a Raleigh Twenty here around Seattle that was different from all the others I'd seen recently. First off, it is blue. I'd heard these were uncommon and it must be true because I've only seen one before in my looking around on the web.

But this is a really rough example. The finish is in pretty bad shape with numerous scratches and even a couple spots of what we called "cancer" in my youthful high school days. Rust that had worked it's way under the finish in spots, that was cancer. Even a few of the chrome bits are rusted over- the main hinge handle, the top rim of the headset, and the inside of the fenders.

The most unique thing about it is the single speed coaster brake hub in the back. It's not Sturmey Archer. It is a Suntour Coaster brake hub.

Sooooo.... This may finally be the bike that I convert to a daily rider with new hubs and rims, lighter seat post and the like. The condition doesn't warrant trying to restore it to showroom. I will probably "borrow" some parts and put them on the other nicer bikes.

So here are the pics...

Here she it. A coal miners daughter of a Twenty. Doesn't look too bad from a distance.

Notice no front or rear brake blocks. Not a multiple speed bike so no shift cable either.

Ouch! This is indicative of the overall status of the bike.

Weird. No SA hub. Single speed Suntour coaster brake. Really gummed up and running stiff. No way to date her without the SA hub. But the older bars and decals make it from the earlier period of production.

Here is the whole herd!

No one likes to witness surgery. Within 30 minutes, I had her completely apart down to the bottom bracket. She lays in parts in my shop.

I'm going to need a lot of help and advise guys! Any ideas? What should I do with her? I'd love to have a Twenty as a daily rider, even a bike to dis-assemble and pack on a plane. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.


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Monday, June 28, 2010

Delta Cruisers and Carradice

I got a text message from my wife this afternoon.  "You have packages!" For some odd reason, UPS claimed there was  "natural disaster" somewhere around Spokane, WA that delayed the arrival a couple days.  But I knew exactly what she was talking about.  The Delta Cruisers had arrived.

I hopped on the Twenty that I rode in to work on this morning and "raced," or at least went as fast as a Twenty can carry you, home.

The rest of the next couple hours was spent pulling the original rubber off the Tourist and putting on these gorgeous cream-colored beauties.

The front was no problem at all.  Once the brake pads were removed and the axle lined up with the keyhole slot in the fork, the wheel dropped right out.  The original tire was a bit difficult to get off.  The tube was the original one too and had two very old patches on it.  I was a little nervous the Delta Cruisers wouldn't fit as they seemed a bit large.  In fact, the first time I put air in it up to 35psi, I noticed some of the bead sticking out.  I let a little air out and pushed it in, re-pumped to 40psi (these are rated max 45psi) and it held fine.

The rear... well, let's just say it wasn't so easy.  Here were the steps:

  • Undo shift cable
  • Remove brake shoes
  • Undo brake guides and slide them back so wheel clears them
  • Remove axle nuts (indicator nut on the right, standard nut on the left) and  washers.  Don't mix them up!
  • Remove wheel alignment nuts on the back of drop outs
  • Slide wheel forward and remove chain from cog
  • Slide wheel back out of drops
  • Watch for the unique wheel alignment/chain tensioner
I HOPE that I never get a flat on this thing while I'm on a long ride.  It would be very unpleasant to have to undo all this in the wild.

I also took the opportunity, while I had her all ripped apart to adjust the chain (it was a bit loose previously) and then re-set the rear brakes.  This was the most time consuming part.  Adjusting rod brakes appears to be an art that will take me some time to master.

Anyway, I got it all done! and look at this lovely girl!!

Another surprise was my Carradice Barley saddle bag that arrived from England.  I got a great deal on this bag, even shipped from across the pond.  What quality!  Now I know why everyone talks about this bag. 

One thing I've learned from mounting other saddle bags with leather loops to Brooks saddles is that the metal very quickly chews up the leather on the loop strap.  While I'm sure you could get replacements, I "line" the loop on the saddle with a short 1.5 inch section of old road inner tube.  I save all my old inner tubes.  They come in handy for so many things.  From buffers to keep a chain from hitting the chain stay to makeshift bungee cords to tie something to a rack, they are very handy to have.

Here you can see the short section of tube with the leather strap running through it.  The easiest way to do this is to push the tube through first and position it, then slide the strap up through the inner part of the tube.  It can be a bit tricky, but it really saves straps from the wear of metal on leather.

I'm riding her in tomorrow, no doubt about it.  I'll post my impressions of the ride.


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Greasy fingernails

I tried my hardest to get my hands back to a presentable fashion for work...  I personally think its a sign of a GREAT weekend when you come in on Monday morning with a little grease under the nails.  A summary of my antics:

Stripped a Vintage Peugeot
I picked up a late 70s/early 80s Peugeot from my parents last weekend.  It was the bright yellow version that you see everywhere and in horrible shape.  I had them buy it sight unseen for $20 a month or so ago.  I was ready to just ship it off to the thrift store when my middle son, who is 13, decided he wanted to start riding a "racing bike" as opposed to his Schwinn mountain bike.  I stripped it down to a bare frame, sanded and re-painted it silver.  Painted out the lug seams in red.  I have a set of decals coming - not the original ones, but they say Peugeot on them.  The rear Simplex derailleur is low end, but it works.  I still need to find a set of brake levers with cable stops in them.  I'm about 60% of the way done with this bike. 

Raleigh Twenty Detailing
I can't believe that I'd never detailed out the rims and spokes on the brown Raleigh Twenty.  Spent some time with the Wenol polishing up the rims.  A little steel wool and grease on the spokes and they look good as new. I also re-connected the wire in the head tube that keeps the stem/handlebar from coming all the way out.  I liked having the extra inch or so of height but I was having some visions of the thing coming off in my hands when I hit a bump at higher speeds... not pleasant.  I already have a couple crowns on my front teeth from a bicycle incident when I was in high school.

Sterling Mountain Bike Overhaul
A friend and neighbor brought over a couple mountain bikes that he had leftover when a couple med students moved out of an apartment he owns.  Just wanted to get "my take" on what to do with them.  The Sterling has Shimano Exage components and a decent frame, the other bike was crap with no-name pot metal components.  My vote was to keep the Sterling and fix it up for his granddaughter (it is kind of a pink/purple color).  It needs new tires.  The other one should go to the thrift shop.  Would I do the fixing on the Sterling?  For a bottle of nice wine? Heck Yeah!!  So I guess that makes me a "professional bicycle mechanic" now...  Who'd a guessed it.

Admired the Raleigh Tourist
The whole weekend, she just sat there looking drop-dead gorgeous... I removed the fenders prepping for her new set of Schwalbe Delta Cruisers (that are three days behind schedule from UPS - thank you very little).  Nice looking bike, for sure...


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Raleigh Tourist - Day 1 impressions

I rode the Tourist in to work yesterday for the first time.  It was rumored to be the nicest day of the rest of the week and I was dying to get it on the road.

The morning was cool and I decided rather than dress in my typical road cycling gear (wool/chamois cycling shorts, Smartwool T-shirt and a wool long-sleeved cycling "jumper"), I'd go street clothes.  I'm lucky that I can get away with jeans and a button down shirt with black Ecco shoes at work.  I threw on a black North Face jacket over that and took off.

My ride route to work is basically flat for the first 3 miles, then a long downhill to Lake Washington.  From there, I cross the I-90 bridge to Bellevue, WA with a small, but significant hill into Factoria, where my office is located. Overall it's 6.5 miles one-way.  Coming home is the exact reverse, and the "long slow downhill" becomes a REALLY long VERY slow uphill...

First thing I noticed is just how comfortable a broken in Brooks B-66 can be.  How to say it nicely... it just melts into your backside like you are part of the bike. In a nice way.  Oh, come on, you know what I mean!!  It is squeaky though.  I need to lube up the springs and other metal points to try and eliminate the squeak.

The Tourist steers like a boat - long, smooth and graceful.  The long wheelbase holds its line very well.  It is not meant for agile turning.  There are a couple sections of trail where you need to make a pretty tight turn and I needed to really think this through before carving a line.  I just made the corner as wide as I could.  The handlebars just barely missed my knees...

There were a significant number of rattles, I think primarily coming from the fenders.  I spotted these leather washers on Velo-Orange the other day and wondered if they might take out some of the rattles.  I'm going to be taking her apart this weekend to install my new Schawlbe Delta Cruisers and tubes from Calhoun Cycle in Minneapolis.  I might try and find some leather washers locally, possibly at Dutch Bike.

The other big mistake I made was pumping the tires up.  They are original Raleigh Roadster tires rated for a max of 50 PSI and I took them up to this pressure, as I usually do with my road bikes.  But I think these tires are meant to ride a little softer.  The ride felt a little stiffer and bumpier than before when the pressure was lower.  I need to let a little air out.  What do you all ride at in terms of pressure on these?  I've had bad experiences with "snakebite" flats on my road bikes.  The I-90 trail has a couple expansion joints in the bridge that really play hell with tires and tubes if the pressure is too low.

The way home was a challenge.  The day warmed up to mid-70s and I had to ride the long slow hill in street clothes.  I got my coat off and into my messenger bag, but too late.  I'd already started to sweat.  Cotton blue jeans are horrible to ride in when you have a bit of sweat going on - sticky. The Tourist is no lightweight and I could really feel the extra weight on this hill.  I just dropped it into 1st and plodded along, eventually making it to the top.  I think I'm going to need to find some more appropriate cycle attire for summer riding that is work friendly and yet not too hot for the rides home. Any suggestions?


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Raleigh Tourist

OK, here is the surprise...

I've been falling more and more into the habit of reading LovelyBike, 2Whls3Spds, and, of course, Sheldon's sites amongst many others.  After finding and re-habbing the Twenties, I realized that they would not be bikes that I would ride for any kind of distance or back roads touring.  They are beach bikes and tootling around bikes.  I needed a roadster!  My wife had her Raleigh Sport from 1980, I needed a mate to it.

The Raleigh Tourist that was on eBay all last week is now in my garage!!!

After the bidding ended, I was the high bidder but didn't clear the reserve price set by the seller.  I immediately contacted them, informed him/her that I was the high bidder, lived about an hour away and could stop by and take a look.  Dick (the seller) had a reserve set at $550 for the bike.  We negotiated a lower price (still much more than I usually pay for a bike, but this one was truly worth it, IMHO), right around $400.  This was all on Tuesday.  I had to wait all week to drive down to Gig Harbor.  THAT was the hardest part!!

I got up at 5:30AM this morning, filled the tank on our minivan, mounted a bike rack and took off.  It was a drizzly, wet morning, but there was very light traffic heading south on I-5.  It had been forever since I drove across the Tacoma Narrows bridge.  The mental images I have of it are only the classic movie of Galloping Gertie breaking apart in the wind.  You can't help but think of this as you drive across it now.  It is a spectacular crossing and I'd love to try it on a bike someday.

After getting a little lost, I finally made it to Dick's house.  He was an elderly gentleman in his upper 70's (I'm guessing).  We chatted for a bit.  He was a bike collector, and at one time he had over 40 bicycles, many of them from prior to the turn of the century!  Penny Farthings and the like!!  This was his last bike.  A 1980 Raleigh Tourist... in STUNNING condition.

As I walked up to the bike, I could tell it been well taken care of, possibly not even ridden.  Every decal was intact, no paint scratches on the frame - none.  The only detectable flaw I could find was a small dent in the front fender - looks like a BB struck it, but the paint is still intact in the impression.  The Brooks saddle is a leather B-66, with the modern steel rivets.  The saddle is in great condition, the black color is slightly worn through in a few spots.  Nothing a fresh coat of Proofhide won't nourish.

It has the original Raleigh bell.  Bright and clean it rings, not a speck of rust.  The central medallion has a frosted metal look that is striking against the chrome of the bell.  Looks like a vintage coin...
The thumb shifter validates the dating on this roadster.  It's a 1980 (see hub below). I'm not sure when Raleigh stopped shipping Tourist's to the US, but this must've been near the end.  Dick was the original owner.  He purchased her in Seattle, near Green Lake.


One interesting thing is the front wheel.  I believe it is a replacement.  It does NOT have the Raleigh-red hub nuts.  It also has a dyno-hub!  Not hooked up to any wiring or lighting, but there it is.  I wonder if at some point there was work being done and the wheels were accidentally interchanged with a Superbe.  Dick told me he had an extra wheel in the attic.  It may be the stock wheel.  He was going to check on it and, if it is, I will pick it up sometime in the future. The Westwood rims are in stellar condition, no dents and arrow true.  The tyres are original Raleigh Roadsters 40-635 28 x 1.5 with plenty of tread left.  I so admire Velouria and the "co-inhabitant's" bikes with the Schwalbe cream colored tyres on LovelyBike, I wanted to convert these.  I probably still will just to preserve these stock tyres in their original condition.

The hub clearly says "80" indicating the age.  It's her 30th birthday.  I think the month is "1"  More to come as I clean her up.

Here is the last picture for now... the chain guard is in great shape. The overall color scheme is the black with red and gold pin striping and decal sets.  Even has original aluminum air pump.

So... that's it for now.  Some questions I have... did this originally have a Pletscher rack on it?  Could the dyno-hub be stock?  The rod brakes appear to work fine, but the front need adjusting and possibly new pads.  Are rod brake pads "special" or can you use any set of brake pads with a central bolt fitting, something like a Koolstop Continental?

Thanks for getting me hooked everyone!


Up early...

It's 6AM and I'm on my way down to Gig Harbor. There is a bike rack on the car. I have an hour drive each way ahead of me...


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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thoughts about speed and shame

I had a nice leisurely ride home from work today. The Twenty (I'm thinking of calling it Otto) goes at a pace of it's own. No matter, I just settled in and enjoyed the ride. I never noticed the gorgeous ferns on the side of the road before as I commuted back on my road bikes. There were a number of things that became more noticeable - road hazards, animals and insects, the sounds of the trees and wind.  I was passed by the spandex crowd a few times but it didn't bother me at all. I came to the realization that speed blinds you to the passing details... the wind in your ears deafens you to the sound of the world. 

Then came the hill near our house. It's a good 9% or better grade. There are some things English 3-speeds ( and my legs) were just not meant to do. 9% grade hills are one of them. No shame to get off and walk.I have to admit in my younger days I would have seen it as a sign of weakness to get off and walk.  Now, it just doesn't matter.  I enjoyed the even slower pace for a while, stopping to examine the ever growing verge by the side of the road.  No shame at all...


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The Twenty, cafe style

This is how the Brown Twenty likes to roll on a semi-overcast morn outside of Seattle... Cafe Style!

I rode in to work today on the brown guy (I really need some names for the bikes). Street clothes! Stopped by the library on the way in to drop off some books - it's amazing how well designed a Pletscher rack is. It snugged the books down just fine, even over bumps. I am going to need to look for some new pedals though. The antique ones I picked up from eBay and shipped from England are very creaky. Wondering about bearing replacement? Is it even worth it?


PS- Some really exciting news to post this Saturday!!!

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Location:Factoria Blvd SE,Bellevue,United States

Friday, June 11, 2010

Playing Around

Blogger has a new Template designer... fun!  I was always a guy who liked to change around the furniture in my room every few months.  Now I have a blog to do that with.


Monday, May 31, 2010

Riding between the Rain

The rain finally stopped and I got my wife out for a ride.... on her Twenty!!

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