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.

First up, a 1962 "Royal" 3-speed. I'm not sure whether this brand was made for a department store, but the bike is definitely a Raleigh product. I really like the stem, and it seems to fit the 23.8 mm clamp diameter. I'm interested. Last time I saw this bike, it was lying on its side close to a bike shop downtown with a flat tire. 

A circa-1978 Raleigh Sports that I've seen before, minus the rear reflector and streamers. I'm glad the owner added the reflector back. And here's the green 1968 Raleigh Superbe that I owned at one point. 

I struck up conversations with the owners of both of these bikes. I was unlocking mine when I met the owner of the black Hercules to the left. It has an abbreviated rear fender, mountain bike 26" (559 mm) tires, alloy wheels, and a single speed coaster brake hub. He was saying something about it being about time to re-pack the brake because he was doing so many skids. For the 1962 Armstrong, I actually chased the guy down the street on my '58 Sports enthusiastically yelling that I had the same bike. Much to my delight, the owner was not only open to my strange greeting, but was an enthusiast himself. It's good to know that both of these bikes have loving and knowledgeable owners. 

Interesting story about this 1976 Raleigh Sports. When this photo was taken in 2015, I noticed that it did not have a shift cable, meaning the bike was stuck in 3rd gear. I left a note asking if the owner wanted it fixed since I had spare parts, and to my surprise, she responded with a yes! I met up with Erika, installed the parts, oiled the hub, and she gave me a great sandwich in exchange. Fast forward to this past summer, and Erika came to me with the news that her front wheel and seat had been stolen. I supplied her with the spare front wheel from my '69 Sports that was not being used, as well as a standard-length seat post from my 1962 Dunelt that was getting an extended-length one. Her brother gave her a lead on a new Brooks B72 saddle which was to be locked to the bike this time. As a side note, that rear mud flap is quite interesting and from what I have seen, it was a factory option

A beautiful 1967 Raleigh Sprite with the Sturmey-Archer S5 twin cable 5-speed hub. It had the dreaded (and broken) plastic shifters since the metal ones only came in 1969. I left a note just wanting to chat with the owner, and it turns out the actual enthusiast had a friend weld up the broken top tube lug and loaned (or gave) it to them. I ran into the rider one day when I was fixing my Schwinn on the grass and we had a nice chat. The shifters do still work, they're just at their full length anymore ... 

This 1963 "The Londoner" emerged from the Raleigh factory but was made from pre-1960 Birmingham (Phillips) parts. In 1960 when TI bought Raleigh and put Raleigh in charge of bicycle operations, they still had a bunch of old Phillips parts left over so those were used up on bikes without an established trim or appearance, like my Rollfast and other department store brands. Last time I saw this bike, the tires were flat and the chain guard was detached. 

The 1962 Rollfast on the left is a Raleigh product, unlike mine. I approached the owner asking if they wanted their shifter cable adjusted since they said the gears only "usually" work, but they declined. She must have thought I was going to charge money or something. And here's an unknown 1967-ish Hercules on the right, parked near the river. 

The Aquas:

There was a member of The Raleigh Bicycle Nottingham facebook group who was particularly infatuated with the aquamarine green Raleighs and I happened to spot three of them within a month of them mentioning it. Above, a circa-1970 Dunelt spotted when I was stuck in traffic, followed by a 1970 (I actually forget what that is ... a Robin Hood?) and a 1970 AMF Hercules. The Dunelt has Continental City Ride tires which probably means the owner is a little more serious. 

Two more Hercules: A dark green 1970 model and the black one with an 8 speed hub that inspired my 2nd Raleigh restomod

There is a black AMC Flash 3-speed behind the mountain bike. I have no idea what it is; it's not a Raleigh product, it's not a Birmingham product, and it has a Shimano 333 hub with a twist grip shifter. It also has a banana seat and the stem is pulled out way too far. I think I heard about certain Japanese companies putting out 3-speeds with cottered cranks but since Japan is more known for their cheap-but-well-made bike boom road bikes, there is next to no following on the 3-speeds. 

A 1992 Gazelle with Sturmey-Archer drum brakes. What a majestic machine ... 

Even the smallest details have been taken into consideration. 

At the Re-use center, a 1954 Robin Hood Sports with a bent seat tube for $100. Why though?

This Huffy Sportsman was not actually a re-badged Raleigh Sports as they sometimes are, but I felt it was worth mentioning anyway. Someone modernized it with a Shimano Nexus 3 hub. 

Doppelgangers! and ... oh wait, those are mine, too. 

And last but not least, a late '60s Robin Hood that was extremely weathered but nonetheless solid, and a 1974 Raleigh Sports with a 1967 hub and an alloy front wheel. I can't tell what's up with this owner; I saw it for sale at a bike shop for $300 so evidently they knew what they wanted, but I see it being left outside all the time and sometimes not even securely locked. I guess it's none of my business. 

And now, I can finally move these photos out of my "new" folder. 

I swear, there were more ..