…that’s what I’m afraid my husband, who is already making noises about us owning far too many bicycles, will say when I chat with him about an extremely interesting bicycle I heard about today that is available for sale from a friend of a friend. If I purchase it, I’ll probably have to sell more than one of my existing bicycles (say, Mary Poppins *and* Rhonda Rollfast) to fund it. But here’s why it might be worthwhile:
It’s a 1935 ladies’ Rudge-Whitworth (not sure if it’s loop-frame or straight step-through), with cobalt-blue paint, and white celluloid-wrapped handlebars and (I think?) fenders & chainguard. It’s in fine condition and its current owner (the son of a collector) is looking for a home for it where it will be cherished as a completely unique piece of cycling history. A 1935 date puts this bike to either just before or just after Rudge-Whitworth were bought out by EMI (It’s not clear from the information available online how that ownership change altered the bicycles’ design & construction).
What is clear is that after 1943, when Rudge-Whitworth were purchased by Raleigh, the bicycles became rebadged (but not second-tier) bicycles built using Raleigh’s proprietary parts, but with Rudge-pattern forks and chainring.
The majority of the Rudge information online- has to do with post-1943 Rudge bicycles, or the groundbreaking Rudge motorcycles – so I have collected links to pre-Raleigh photos and information I have found online below.
pre-1943 ladies’/ step-through Rudge-Whitworth bicycle photos:
- http://www.theoldbicycleshowroom.co.uk/c1934-rudge-ladies-fast-sports-1507-p.asp 1934 straight step-through frame white celluloid-covered handlebars
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/imagetaker1/5092861016/ 1924 loop-frame
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/niniferrose/3092958783/ 1930s straight step-through frame
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/niniferrose/4487312133/ 1930s straight step-through frame
Photos with a side of history:
- http://oldbike.wordpress.com/1912-rudge-whitworth-no-3-aero-special-de-luxe-all-weather-full-roadster/ …show that as early as 1912, Rudge were using Sturmey Archer parts (such as the quadrant shifter)
- http://oldbike.wordpress.com/1910s-rudge-whitworth-gents-roadster/ (actual date 1926)
- http://oldbike.wordpress.com/19331934-rudge-28-gents-with-double-top-tube/ (1933/34)
More Rudge-Whitworth History:
- Better Rudge It Than Trudge It, Victorian (above) via http://www.cathtatedirect.com/node/4161
- http://www.lordprice.co.uk/TRBC1006.html – Light Weights Make Light Hearts, 1903
- http://www.heritage-images.com/Preview/PreviewPage.aspx?id=2494325&licenseType=RM&from=search&back=2494325&orntn=2 – Britain’s Best Bicycle, 1905
- http://www.advertisingantiques.co.uk/Default.aspx?tabid=974&ItemID=2311 – Britain’s Best Bicycle, 1910
- http://www.free-images.org.uk/advertsing/30-rudge-whitworth.htm – Britain’s Best Bicycle, likely also 1910
Update: (Deep sigh!)