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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