Thursday, November 27, 2014

Found! 1968 Raleigh Superbe

Last summer, I got a beautiful, green 1968 Raleigh Superbe.  

The paint was no longer shiny, but it was otherwise in amazing shape.  I had to replace the front wheel.

And then it was stolen, along with every single other functional bike that was locked at the same rack.

Yesterday, after getting a haircut, I decided to walk across the street to the bike shop that seems to have a bunch of old bikes for sale.  It was the shop mentioned on the sticker of the down tube of the Superbe.  Lo and behold, there it was, tied up in front of the store,

I told the shop owner, a Raleigh fan himself, of the situation and he said the bike had been a rental for years, and many of the rentals end up around town.  Aha! So that's what that sticker meant.  I will be returning the blue Schwinn to him then, which he'll probably be happy to see again.

The front tire has been replaced, but either the Iverson wheel is still there and was cleaned up or the owner put an Endrick pattern rim on.  It's not the original Westrick pattern wheel, though.

Part of me is sort of sad to see a bike going on 50 years old and still doing rental duty, but then again, it shouldn't be a big deal since these old Raleighs are so tough and so many were made.  I'm not sure how the shop owner got this back - maybe it was because of the sticker - but I'm glad it happened.  Thinking about it, I may actually have had a hand in recovering it.  If it wasn't given to me only to be stolen, the Superbe may have ended up sitting out in its old place for who knows how much longer.  This was the best possible outcome, far different from what I expected after I lost it, which was it being dumped or sold to someone who didn't know the value of an old 3-speed.

I almost wanted to buy the Raleigh for its asking price of $175, but its 19 inch frame is too small for me to build a suitable commuter out of.  Maybe I'll ask if the guy has any 23-inch mens' frame Sports out back ...

EDIT: In the summer of 2015, I happened to catch this bike again, this time rolling down the street with its new owner. We had a nice chat and went on our merry way.