The weather is turning cold here, so I’ve been concentrating on continuing the cleanup and adding bits to make Mary more useful. I’m still awaiting some things I’ve bought through eBay (the damaged seat I’m going to scavenge for springs, the pump, the front brakes, a little saddle bag to use for now). Meanwhile, I’ve been gradually cleaning the chrome, and I’ve added a bell (one of the Lime ones, for now, because I like the sound) and a couple of blinky-LED reflectors.
The really big challenge for me, since I want to use the bike for runs to the grocery store, is that modern rear racks are not sized correctly for her 28″ wheels, and that vintage racks that would fit are relatively rare. This would also pose a problem if I wanted to mount a child seat (like, say, the cunning ones from Bobike) on the back for doing the school run. Still mulling over how to address this issue. If off-the-shelf extenders don’t exist, the answer might involve asking my dad (an amateur machinist) and father-in-law (a professional machinist) for their help in creating a custom part to secure everything properly.
[Update: After much consideration, I’ve ordered an NOS-with-attachment-parts Pletscher-style chrome rack, made in the UK by Steco, via eBay, that should fit. I’ll mount a wooden box or milk crate on top of that. Child seats will just have to go on a different bike with 26″ wheels.]
It also turns out I shouldn’t ride her for now, since one of the cotter pins (they hold the pedal cranks in place) is missing its nut, and riding it without a nut could deform the cotter pin or the crank, according to Sheldon Brown’s advice. So, that nut needs replacing before I get back on it (Thanks to Thom and his readers for advice on this over at OldBikeBlog!). The gals at Edmonton Bicycle Commuters helpfully gave me a new cotter pin with nut and washer today, but the nut won’t screw on far enough – I haven’t sorted out yet whether that’s because the pin has worked a bit loose, or because the nut isn’t the correct thread for Raleigh-made cotter pins. I do notice that the nut on the other side isn’t screwed on all the way either. I may need to replace the entire cotterpin-washer-nut assembly, or just reset the existing cotter pins. More on this soon.
I’ve also done a little work on my daughter’s bike: blew up the flattened tires; tried to replace the handlebar grips, but the replacements were too narrow, so instead I put the old ones back on and capped them with wine corks, trimmed to fit, then drilled to accept glued-in tassels (so cute, and super-easy); and added a basket on the front, and a lei of fabric flowers in the same lilac as the paint wrapped around the tube under the seat. I also installed a bell on my son’s trike, and we’ve gotten him a new helmet since he’d outgrown his old one. It has Lightning McQueen on it. He’s four, so he thinks that’s all kinds of awesome.
In other news:
If the estimates on The Headbadge are correct, the serial number on the frame *might* tell me something! It appears that my 7-digit numerical serial number may mean my frame was numbered using “System 196X”, and a 7-digit number starting with 3 (like mine, 3464230) would date the frame’s manufacture to 1972. However, Jay also says there were other numbering systems used from the early 60s to early 70s, with duplicate numbers in some of them, and they haven’t all been worked out. So, let’s look at what other information we have from the bike.
– Mary has an 11 6 (Nov 1966)-dated Sturmey-Archer SC hub (made from 1963-1978). It’s definitely an 11 and not a 71 – one of these days I’ll get a decent photo of it, or do a rubbing, or something. Images and instructions for the SC hub can be found on pages 28-30 of this 1973-dated Sturmey-Archer catalogue (PDF).
– The pedals are associated with a Raleigh model (the Chopper) introduced to market in 1969, in an oval style introduced in about 1967 – but could easily have been switched later.
– The spoking of my wheels is 32 front, 40 rear (Sheldon Brown puts that at pre-1973).
– Most of the parts, including the loop-frame, are in a Raleigh catalogue dating to 1963 (see my previous post for the link and a complete-ish list). Sadly the corresponding 1973 catalogue is a dead link right now.
– The chainwheel and an oval all-rubber pedal, but not forks or frame, are found in a Phillips fitments catalogue dating to late 1960s (PDF).
– Similar vinyl saddles, but not in the blue-and-white colour combination, are still being sold in a Brooks/Wright catalogue dating to 1973 (PDF).
– Forks for 28″ wheels sold in a 1966-67 Phillips price list (PDF). However, pricing is not given for 28″ forks or 28″ hockey-stick chainguards in Raleigh or Phillips 1971 parts price lists (PDFs) – so this definitely puts the frame at pre-1971.
– The only other thing that might help date the bike is the style of its decals. Can anyone suggest an archive of decals to compare with?
So taken together, I still think the evidence (especially the 28″ wheels) points to this bike being from the late 1960s, not the early 1970s. What do you think? Anything else I should look at?