After months of running out of time, some foot-dragging, and dirty hands, this lovely Mr. Mrs. pair finally emerges from their spa day.
Last seen briefly here, they don't look to have changed much, but they also kind of do.
Initially, I swapped tires around, gave them brake pads, chains, larger rear sprockets, and greased the hubs, stems, headsets, etc. to get them running. Quick things that would take one afternoon of sitting down and realizing that if I didn't get it done then, it would never get done. On the first ride, the original Brooks B72 saddle of the Mrs. tore right in half. I had allowed the Proofide an entire day and night to soak in, so I figured it was just too old and weak. Also, since the Mrs. was missing its chain guard, I temporarily installed the yet-non-original one that came to me with my roommate's Hercules.
The two bikes hung in sort of a limbo as the school semester wrapped up. Fit to ride, but not to the point that I would have considered them finished. Two of my closest studio mates would sometimes borrow them and ride with me. The crank bearings in the Mr. seemed to be in poor shape and the Mrs, despite looking rougher, rode smoother so in turn covered more miles. Taking into account it had a bent crank, I thought the bearings and cups in the Mr. had been damaged in an impact. The Mr. has still hardly been ridden even upon completion.
So, fast forward to just a couple weeks ago. I knew that I had too many bikes, and I had enough loaners with 21" frames, so I decided I'd better finish these and put them up for sale before the season was over. These two bikes deserved a more active retirement. Aside from the occasional midnight food run (with a friend on the Mrs), they pretty much just sat in my apartment gathering dust. I finally tore down the bottom brackets and cleaned them. The bearings and cups in the Mr. ended up being in decent shape; the roughness was just half-century-old caked up grease. Also, the left crank on the Mr. was noticeably bent, and the right crank on the Mrs. was also bent but slightly less, so I took the set I had saved from the '69 Sprite frame and split it between the two. They were of the same style as the originals and the right crank had a 48-tooth chainring just like the '66 one. A perfect match, and I suppose these two bikes are even more inseparable at this point. Of course, new cotter pins went on both sides of both bikes.
For whatever reason, the handlebar clamp on the stem of the Mr. was slightly bent so that the handlebars dipped a little toward the left. The bar itself was fine. I am not sure if it had come like this from the factory or if it was due to an impact. I used my spare and pristine 1953 stem to fix that, but not before finding out that the clamp bolt on the replacement stem had stripped so I threw the '66 bolt back on. As for the chain guard on the Mrs, I found a green one from a '74 model. It was the only green one I could find and had the later style mounting that bolted onto frame braze-ons. I cut two slits corresponding to the slits on older style guards, pried the metal apart, and mounted it. Bam, good as new (not really but kind of). The '70s green is different from the '60s bronze green, and the green on the frame is all but gone at that so this guard kind of sticks out like a sore thumb. At least it does its job.
The Mrs. got a "new" saddle, a brown 1968 Brooks B72, to replace the torn one, thanks to a member of the Raleigh Nottingham facebook page who lives nearby. More on that story later. It is softer and less dried out than the previous and matches well enough. The Mrs. also got a new air pump, a Sunlite chrome unit that I painted with matte clear just to make it look a bit closer to the aluminum original. Lastly, I polished the paint on the Mrs. because one of the previous owners seems to have gone at it with too harsh an abrasive. More of the green was worn off this one and it was covered in scuff marks. The polish at least made the blue look a bit less sandy. Whoever did the Mr. did a decent job, though, so I left that one alone.
So, they're done. Here, you can see the differences in paint color between the two. The Mr. came with Kenda K40s and the Mrs. still had the original, cracked Spitfire tires. The Kendas went on the Mrs and my old set of Schwalbe Delta Cruiser gumwalls moved from my old Sports to the Mr. I thought the Mr. would be ridden more and I was wrong, but it's whatever. Both bikes then received LED headlights and tail lights, as well as Crane Karen brass bells.
The gold stickers on the Mrs. were very peely so I sealed them up with clear packing tape. Hope it lasts and does not change color too badly. I also replaced the near-nonexistent heron decal on the seat tube. Both bikes received new KMC gold chains and Dia Compe gray matter brake pads. I re-routed the shifter cables on both - the Mr. from the top tube to the down tube, so that it could be hung or carried on racks without damaging the mechanism, and for the Mrs. I cut the housing back since it ran the full length and created a bunch of resistance. I gave it a pulley from 1962 and a new fulcrum clip. I nearly forgot, but the Mr. actually received an indicator chain from my 1971 Twenty because its original was bent and I wanted a different one on the Twenty anyway. It also received a 20-tooth rear sprocket (48/20 ratio) since it felt quite a bit faster and more zippy than what I was used to, and the Mrs. received a 21t which is what I usually use with a 48t chainring.
The new cotter pins were a bit longer on the big side than the old ones so I couldn't use my cotter press to install them. Instead, I put a wrench socket over the other end and used a bigger C-clamp. I hope it did the trick. I should probably get the "Bikesmith" cotter press since I intend to keep doing this.
Of course,the coolest and most significant thing to me about these bikes is that they have been together since they were new. Their Grosse Pointe registration tags are consecutive and they still have "Ken's Bike Shop" stickers behind the seat tube. I just love how the two have remained together for all this time and despite all the items I have replaced, they still read as a pair.
Due to my increasing scatterbrainedness as of late, I have nearly forgotten to mention yet another thing ... the names! Well, back when I was very young, my mom had a co-worker named Linda and she and her husband Gary played a large part in indirectly starting my love for wheeled vehicles. You see, back in 2000, two of the hottest cars you could get were the Mustang Cobra R and the F150 SVT Lightning, and of course they had both of them. I still have a soft spot for those. They must have mentioned it to my mom at which point she probably started talking about them around me and voila ... that's how it all started. First cars and trains, and then bikes. I thought naming these bikes after them was not only fitting because they belonged together, but also despite the short time I will have spent with these bikes in the grand scheme of things, all of the small details I found about the pair has left an impression on me. Just like how I can probably count the number of times I have met Linda and Gary on one hand.
Well, that's all for these two, I think. I am certainly glad I could be the one to bring them from their slumber and I hope they find new owners to enjoy them.
For sale ads can be found here ...
EDIT 10-23-16: Someone finally bought them and they are now back in Detroit. The new owner specifically stated how excited he was to be able to ride them to Belle Isle. Sounds like they've found a great home.