Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Twin Mixtes

Last year, I came across a Nishiki mixte frame from the mid 1980s. It was in very clean condition and I felt it would be a nice bike for my wife. She was riding a Raleigh Sport from the 1970s and was not all that excited about the limitations of a three speed in our hilly area. The only problem with the mixte was the wheels - they were in horrible condition. I cleaned them as best as I could, but in the end, I just sprung for a new set. It made a big difference. The basket add-on was classic, and I used shellac on it to give it that vintage look... It has handlebars that allow for upright riding, and a ten speed drivetrain. The best of both worlds for her.

Only a very little amount of cleaning brought her back to life.

A few month after I had finished the rehab on this bike, I came across another Nishiki mixte frame! This bike was a tad smaller than the one I dressed up for my wife. I got a real nice deal on it at the thrift store over here where I live. The only deal with this one is that it has drop bars, which puts you in a much more aggressive road riding position. The plan here is to replace the bars, brakes and shifters and convert this bike to an upright rider like my wife's...

Spring project bike!!

~ charles

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Excitement! A Ladies Tourist on it's way!!!

OK... This has been a long time coming... And it's a long story, so let's get started...

As readers of this blog know, I acquired a Raleigh DL-1 Tourist last year from a very nice gentleman over in Gig Harbor who collected bikes for many years. Ever since I got the bike, I have wanted to find the partner to it, a Loop Framed Raleigh DL-1 Tourist ladies version. Amazingly, right after I picked up the gents version, a loop frame popped up on the local craigslist for $100. I took a pass.. Biggest mistake I've ever made on the craig. I've been searching for one like it ever since...

I've set up a nationwide search via craigslist and eBay, feeding my RSS reader with over 50-60 hits per day of possible bikes... Months and months went by - nothing.

Until a few weeks ago...

Toronto... A DL-1 Loop Frame, $100... Oh my, she's in rough shape for sure... How can I get this bike to Seattle? I began emailing and calling a very nice fellow, "P," up in Toronto. "I've got a local guy who said he might be interested, but if not, I'll let you know..." Didn't sound too promising. A couple weeks go by and I figure its gone by now.

Then one day, in the middle of a conversation with my parents, about bikes (go figure), the phone buzzes an incoming text message in my pocket. It's my guy in Toronto and the deal is on. I contact local bike shop that is willing to box up the old girl and send her along via UPS. I'm working with Owen from Sweet Pete's bicycle shop in Toronto. He is a great guy to work with and if I ever get the chance to go up there, I'm definitely stopping by. I PayPal the original owner and, a credit card number later, my little girl is in a box and on her way to Seattle.

Now I'm the first to admit, this she's going to be a project bike with a Capital "P". She is missing the rear wheel. This is probably going to be the hardest part to get fixed. I have a 26" wheel set with Westrick rims, but I'm imagining that the ladies DL-1 has 28" wheels like my gents version. I'm kind of hoping that the ladies version might have 26" wheels... But I doubt it. She has a front wheel, so I will soon know. She is somewhere between here and Toronto, expected delivery in a week or so...

I'm very excited!!!

Here are some pictures from the seller to whet your appetite. More to come when she arrives at home.

Here she is, a little rough... The chain guard is the hockey-stick and there is a rear fender and vintage pedals.

Here you can see the front rod brake attachment. It also looks to have a front rack wire of some kind.. My gents version does not have this, never seen anything like it before.

Front wheel and fender. Looks very dirty, but in decent condition after some clean up. Owen at the shop indicated it was in pretty good condition too...

Handlebars with rods. The left one looks like it might be a little bent. Also looks like an old handlebar mounted light bracket to remove. White grips... Nice...

Rear fender. You can see the chain guard below on the floor.

She's going to look great with a gleaming Brooks B-66 and a shellacked wicker basket on her...



Sunday, February 13, 2011

Waking up from winter...

It's been a crazy winter and I have not had much time to write these past few weeks. The company I founded many long years ago has been acquired by another larger entity; the holidays take their toll on time; i passed a "significant" birthday and entered into a new decade of my life..

Yes, December and January have been a ride... but now, it's time to get back into what really matters- BIKES.

Despite all the other stuff going on, there have been a few bike related things going on. The main one is that I started riding in to work again. All last week, the SURLY and I made the trek in to the office and back. It was nice and sunny most of last week, but I know better. This week, it is supposed to rain. No problems though and I will be out there in the midst of it.

So here is to a new year of blogging about bikes...