Friday, December 30, 2016

More Bike Spotting in Ann Arbor

I've been meaning to put these up for a while. Here are some photos of all (?) of the Raleigh-made 3-speeds I have photographed in Ann Arbor during the last two summers. Being in a college town, I often spot bikes that were clearly dug out of the garages of parents and grandparents after years of hibernation, and put back on the road by the kids who don't necessarily know how to care for them because vintage bikes are "in" and can be had for free. After I finished compiling the photos, I thought it was strange that I had so few of them but I guess it's because I've seen some of the bikes multiple times. Or maybe because I'm unable to catch photos some of the time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Re-purposing Old Hub Shells

Ah, yes. When you have to buy a full "lot" of something just to get the few parts you need, what do you do with the rest?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Broke My Hub ...

... and then the Lotus sat for a week, and when I finally amassed enough willpower to tear it down, I naturally used the chance to perform another series of updates.

Monday, July 11, 2016

First Time Fiddling With Brifters

I need to specify that while my Ross has friction shifters mounted next to the brake levers and my Lotus has a Sturmey-Archer (indexed) shifter placed close to where the roadies of the stone age used to put theirs, we're actually talking about new Shimano 105 levers this time.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Linda and Gary - 1966 Raleigh Sports

After months of running out of time, some foot-dragging, and dirty hands, this lovely Mr. Mrs. pair finally emerges from their spa day.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Raleigh Restomod Take Two

Here, we have a 1969 Raleigh Sprite frame loaded with modern, standard-dimension, standard-threaded parts. Be prepared for a long-winded explanation of how the idea came to be ... 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Another Monster Emerges: Damson Retro-Direct 2-speed

Back before derailleur drivetrains became popular, internally-geared hubs ruled the bicycle world. And back before those, mostly everyone rode single speed or fixed gear.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Monday, May 23, 2016

58 Years from 1958: This Isn't Even My Final Form!

I have recently completed many updates on Gwendolyn, my trusty 1958 Raleigh Sports. It may seem strange that the bikes that I ride the most such as this one, The Ross, and Gilbert, are ones that I seldom write about anymore when you see how many new projects have been coming my way. The Lotus will probably end up going this way, too. I think it is because these are my most-ridden bikes, I make it a priority to get everything working right at one time, only taking them out of service once in a blue moon to perform a large batch of updates or general maintenance. And, as I wrote in the last post about the Lotus, once everything is dialed in, there really isn't anything that grabs my attention.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Small-Wheeler

Just as Lovely Bicycle! wrote in her article years ago, "The handlebars look like antlers and somehow the bike seems to be always smiling. Just a friendly little reindeer, waiting for you to ride it..."


Behold, my first custom build intended purely for sale, my first entirely "modern" bike, my first bike assembled on film, so to say, and the first bike I have assembled from the ground up in one day, which I think is worth mentioning since none of this came as a kit that was supposed to fit together out of the box. I'm just surprised that everything fit together perfectly and I didn't have to wait for different parts to arrive.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Overhauling a Sturmey-Archer SW 3-speed Hub

In my experience, bits of information on the Sturmey-Archer SW hub are few and far between. While Brian Hayes provides a wealth of valuable information on Sheldon Brown's website as does Tony Hadland, I still had to dive into this operation unsure of what to expect the first time. That being said, if you plan to work on this hub and/or put many miles on it, I suggest that you thoroughly read Hayes' article before doing anything else. This post is the first of a few "tutorials" I plan to write and with it, I hope to bring together all of the information I have found useful and provide straightforward, basic instructions to tear down one of these hubs and get it running without modification.

Image from

Monday, April 25, 2016

Throwback: Raleigh Tourist Comparisons

I have recently unearthed some old photos from way back before I first overhauled my DL-1 Tourist. Here, I remember lining it up side by side with my old Sports to see just how much bigger it was.

Monday, April 18, 2016

I'm Still Here

Well, it seems like even the overload of schoolwork and lack of time for anything else still can't put my bike projects on pause. I have come to realize that these are the things that keep me from going insane during this stressful time. The only true reason why I have not been posting lately is that everything I have been doing and the associated posts are still in progress. There is much that has been done and much to be completed still, but I just can't seem to sit down and finish any one of them. 

Nonetheless, there is one thing that I have managed to complete: I have turned the old, bent fork of my '79 Ross Gran Tour into some sort of handheld weapon by taping up the threads and plugging the end ... I now keep it next to my bed, ready to use in the off chance that I may have to try and fail to defend myself. It would probably be more effective than the Nerf gun, in any case. 

Anyway, the point of this post was to say that I am still here and still building things. Your patience will be rewarded and soon there will be plenty of eye candy. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Mr. and Mrs. Raleigh Sports

It's interesting how my bike hobby has been going recently. It seems like whenever I get an idea to build something, whatever it may be, the perfect bike shows up. It may be partly that I only notice when I start looking, but it seems a lot more coincidental than that. Take my mixte project that I have yet to write about, for example. I'd been searching for a while before a good candidate showed up. I contacted the seller and we set up a meeting time. In the meantime, I start buying parts. Hours before we were set to meet, he tells me that he has found another seller. Amidst the disappointment, my search comes to a near halt, but not before being offered a different, better frame by another person. My DL-1 Tourist is another example. Or my friend's Hercules, only coming up for sale moments after he voiced his interest.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

I May Be On To Something

I've always loved buildings, I've always loved wheels. I've never thought about it in this way exactly, but I have also had a special fascination with homes that go. Building and designing compact, movable living quarters such as campers and mobile homes require clever packaging and often times modular, multi-purpose fixtures, all of which are things that I strangely take pleasure in figuring out. More often in the case of RVs, people can hire designers and builders to specially construct a vehicle to their needs on top of an existing chassis. This process is called coach building, a practice more common decades ago for personal cars but mostly reserved today for larger vehicles. More on this at the end of the post.

My earlier attempts at "not-quite coach built custom bodies" from nearly eight years ago might not have turned out to be very elegant but alas, I have made some improvements to my craft:

New cover photo for the blog? I think so. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


After these few years of cycling experience, I have firmly established myself as purely a transportation rider. As I made clear in my previous post, I do enjoy the occasional race and inter-city trek but those are not regular or scheduled occurrences. All of my bikes are outfitted to be able to carry cargo in some way should the need arise, and all of them have fenders to keep dirt off my clothing

As my experience accumulated, so did my preferences. I used to have more of an "anything goes" mentality, in that whatever I was wearing or carrying books in would be good enough to ride in. While this is still mostly true since I am unwilling to change clothes upon arrival to my destination, I have made a few changes to my daily "gear" to better suit my lifestyle.

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Mechanic

Throughout my entire life, with my fascination with automobiles and now bicycles, the question always lingered in the back of my head: Am I "the driver" or am I "the mechanic?" Automobile racing has existed ever since the second car was built, and as with any form of racing whatsoever, there is always the competitor on the front and the guy behind the scenes who keeps everything running. Nobody has time to be both at the same time, yet both are needed at all times. I have always loved riding, driving, and wrenching on my own vehicles and it has been unclear to me whether I was the driver or the mechanic.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

No Kash For Klunkers

This post is sort of a continuation of the Schwinnanigans post. To start it off, the red '64 Racer has been happily sold off to a Schwinn collector who happens to be going to school within walking distance of my parents' home. He and his father seemed equally knowledgeable and uninformed about the 3-speeds but I am glad the bike went into good hands. When they arrived, they already had a green '72 Speedster, just like mine, under a blanket in the car. They asked for a few tips regarding shifting, lubrication, and adjustment, which I was glad to provide.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Show & Tell: Sturmey-Archer AW turns 80

Alas, the first post of 2016. I did not intend to be absent for so long, but this semester of school has been particularly grueling.

Sturmey-Archer has been producing the AW 3-speed internal gear hub continuously since 1936. To be more accurate, the company, now owned by Sun-Race, modified the design in the '80s to get rid of the neutral space between 2nd and 3rd gear but for all intents and purposes, the hub is still very similar. The AW was the most commonly-used 3-speed hub up through the 1990s which is a true testament to its bulletproof design. It wasn't until recently that Shimano, a long time competitor, finally exceeded Sturmey-Archer in the frequency of 3-speed hubs used on new bikes.