Talk To The Hand…

Talk To The Hand…

…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

Photos with a side of history:

More Rudge-Whitworth History:

Advertising Images:

screencap of matchbox image, date unknown, 
Alright, time to go discuss this like a responsible adult… wish me luck!

Update: (Deep sigh!)

As I suspected, we simply can’t stretch our budget this far right now; we only have money for the bikes that can be ridden day-to-day. (It *really* didn’t help my cause that – unknown to me – our annual property tax assessment AND income tax forms came in today’s mail. Terrible timing!) 
So… my dear bike-obsessed Edmonton friends… contact me if *you* are seriously interested and I’ll hand on the relevant information that’s not in this post. This may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own an antique bike of this vintage and distinction – since I currently can’t do it, I sincerely hope that one of you can.

2 thoughts on “Talk To The Hand…

  1. Hi Deborah,

    I just came across your blog yesterday while looking at bikes like my mom’s. My grandma bought my mom a bicycle the year her father died, back in 1966, and it’s the same bicycle as your Mary Poppins, a Phillips from England. My mom still has the same bike, and still loves and cherishes it… and is still riding it! 🙂

    Unfortunately though, there are a couple things on it that need replaced, the brake lever and the shifter… You wouldn’t have happened to come across a place that I could find replacement parts like this?

    You can email me at dawnabbott (at)

    I’ll continue reading through your blog too… maybe you’ve already mentioned some good information in there 🙂

    Thanks for your help! -Dawn

  2. I’ve already emailed Dawn back but thought I’d also post my answer here…

    As it happens, replacement parts for Raleigh-built bicycles are fairly easy to find because so many of them were made. I have pretty good luck finding replacement parts on eBay (usually at inflated prices) or at the local bike kitchen, once I know exactly what I’m looking for through looking at old parts lists that can be found online – but the easiest thing to do is to find a local bike mechanic or bike shop who specializes in vintage bikes and ask them. And the best way to find that resource is to ask local people who ride bikes similar to your mom’s (or a local bike blogger) where they take their bike to be serviced. It might be that the brake lever and shifter can be fixed without replacing them, if the mechanic knows older bikes, and the mechanic can probably get the replacement part for way cheaper than what you’d pay through eBay. (Believe me, voice of rueful experience here – I’ve gotten some lovely new-old-stock parts on eBay but it turns out I paid waaaay too much for some of them.)

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