*Sigh.* I did my research, I thought. I was careful to get a caliper brake set that’s the right vintage, from the right maker (Phillips’ Vox Populi brakes, NOS, from the 1960s). But it turns out that installing it is just not an option for this bike, unless I’m willing to drill a hole in the chromed crown of the forks, or swap out the forks. The alternative, I think, would involve replacing the handlebars with a front-rod-brake set. Again, not so interested in doing this. I’d like to keep Mary mostly original (or period NOS) if possible.
To remind you why I was thinking of doing this: I found that the stopping distance with Mary’s coaster brake was a bit longer than I’m used to. I wonder if that would still be the case after professionally servicing the brake? In addition to stopping the bike faster, it was suggested that adding a front brake would make the bike safer in wet conditions.
I live in Edmonton, which has a semi-arid climate, and is relatively flat. Realistically, I’m now thinking that Mary is my gorgeous-weather bike, for leisurely rides with friends and family, and runs to the grocery store during our mostly-dry spring-summer-fall riding season. On wetter days, I’ll have the option of borrowing Bert (with three speeds, front and rear caliper brakes, and a generous basket on the front).
So – what would you do? Do you know a way to install a front caliper brake on a coaster-brake roadster that doesn’t involve drilling holes in it? Is there a spare part I don’t know about? Is there another option I’m overlooking? Or, would you follow the instinct to let it be?