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Category: 1966 Phillips (Mary Poppins)

Trading Spokeses

Trading Spokeses

Subtitled: Wherein Eliza becomes Deborah’s bike, Mary Poppins becomes Nicki’s bike, Fiona buys a vintage Sparta from Karen…and Winnie looks for a new home

Our lovely friend Karen is selling one of her pair of vintage Dutch city bikes, to make room for her gorgeous new Linus loop-frame (which I hope she’ll review for us – its’ biggest selling feature for her was its ability to attach a Chariot for her little guy).

The Sparta Cornwall above, which she is selling, 
is the bigger sister of the Sparta below,
shown with Karen at the Fall edition of Critical Lass. 
Aren’t they to die for? (Along with her Fluevogs?)

Fiona had a hybrid (destined to become her husband’s bike) and a beautiful vintage (1978) Raleigh DL-1 Tourist named Eliza. (In fact, I strongly suspect that Eliza is similar to the rod-braked snow-covered beauty that we swooned over and dubbed The Baroness at EBC last winter, but was far too big for Angel – update: Fiona says Keith found her this one after she just missed out on owning The Baroness). Sadly, Fiona has found that Eliza is a smidgen too small for her. So, she was very intrigued by Sparta and needed a new home for Eliza so she could justify the purchase. (Did I mention she lives in a small apartment-style condo?)

And so began our little game of Musical Bicycles.

Eliza, via Fiona’s blog Retro Rides & Prairie Skies
Yes, those are fully functional rod brakes, 
which apparently mess with the installation of most styles of double kickstand available.
She has 28 inch wheels, so I expect her to fit like Mary Poppins does. 
 She’s been fitted with an SA 3-speed hub, Brooks leather saddle, 
rectangular wicker basket and crocheted skirtguards.
I believe her full name is Lady Elizabeth Doolittle, the Baroness Raleigh of Nottingham,
but as she works for her living, she has no patience for such pretentions.

Nicki expressed interest in Eliza, but we knew Eliza was beyond her student budget. So I proposed that I might upgrade from Mary Poppins to Eliza – my budget can stretch this far, since Eliza is an everyday ride instead of purely a collector’s item, and I’m finding that 3-speeds are much better suited to my rolling neighborhood than single-speeds – and Mary Poppins would become Nicki’s new ride. Since we paid similar values for the two bikes, we could almost do it as a straight swap of Mary Poppins for Winnie, and not much actual cash needed to change hands, which made it very budget-friendly for Nicki. Mary Poppins does have a couple of repairs that need doing, but we think she’s closer to being everyday-ride-able than Winnie, and at lower cost (especially if DIY with EBC’s help is involved).  Most importantly, Nicki has been nurturing a serious bike crush on Mary Poppins since she first laid eyes on her, and we know from the summertime edition of Critical Lass that she’s a perfect fit.

Nicki with Winnie on the day we found her

This arrangement left me with both Winnie and Eliza, but the Musical Bikes fun won’t end there. Winnie needs attention for her nonfunctional coaster brake and a few other small issues, but she should be ready-to-ride with a couple more afternoons of DIY at EBC (a detailed list of her remaining issues is in the blog post about using her as my Basic Bike Maintenance learning bike). I’m hoping a new home for her will pop up in the meantime (if it’s with you, please let me know!).

My eventual plans for Eliza:
– update: first and foremost, new brake pads, since her rod brakes aren’t feeling terrifically reliable
– to inherit Mary Poppins’ 1950s-era Miller bell, 60s-era chrome rack, and antique egg crate (yes, I’m making Eliza my grocery-getter)
– also to inherit the (decorative) chrome handpump (anyone know where to get the leather washers for these?)
– double kickstand absolutely required for grocery-getting, might need to be custom-made or -modded
– cork handgrips
– puncture-resistant cream Schwalbes to set off all the lovely brown accessories
– vintage light (already in my collection) rewired, fitted with LED bulb, and installed

Mary Poppins late last summer in full regalia – 
she’ll retain her jaunty custom basket liner and double kickstand. 
I know she’s going on to a great home.

Nicki’s probable plans for Mary Poppins:
– Mary is keeping her custom-made front basket-liner and double kickstand
– Mary is losing most of her other accessories; she and Trudy will swap saddles, so she’ll have the Canadian Tire Everyday one with the built-in LED light
– giant dingdong bell
– lights for evening rides
– loose spoke fixed – so, relacing one wheel (can’t remember if it’s the front or back)
– coaster brake works, but slowly, so needs to be serviced
– slow leak in one tire, so new tubes

Update 1: Fiona has written about it too! More details on the Sparta, now named Sophi, in her post.

Update 2: photos via Fiona’s blog:

Little Man wanted me to take it for another spin

Eliza’s crochet skirtguards were ordered through Dutch maker Simeli – see more on them at Cyclelicious
What a lovely day.

What a lovely day.

(This post is actually cowritten by Angel and Deborah with additional photographs by Nicki.)

Yesterday afternoon we went on our scaled-down suburban Critical Lass ride. It’s the first weekend of Fringe Fest, and it was women-and-transgendered day at EBC BikeWorks, and some people were probably nervous about leaving the city’s central neighborhoods by bicycle, so we had a smaller group than last time. Miss Sarah has already blogged about the ride from her perspective – if you haven’t already seen it check out her post too.

We met up at the playground closest to Deborah’s house, in a subdivision where the houses are a mix of faux-Victorian, -Georgian, and -Craftsman houses, like Halifax or Victoria rerendered in vinyl siding and concrete. We like it because the sidewalks, front porches, and garages placed on back alleys make it a more pedestrian-friendly area than the typical suburban front-garage development. Some of the bikes you see in the photo above belong to other families who had brought their kids to the park.

Bert isn’t fixed yet. So, we put Audrey’s trailer-bike on a borrowed 1980s CCM 5-speed named Violet (Thank you Monica!!! -D.). As you can see in the foreground of the photo above, Deb used basket straps to put her antique egg crate on the front – which really affected the steering once it had a heavy purse and water bottles in it. (I don’t think I’ll use the crate that way again, as pretty as it looks. -D.)

Angel adding some air while everyone chats.

Winnie’s coaster brake isn’t fixed yet, so Nicki borrowed Mary Poppins and Deb’s polkadot helmet for the ride. Both bikes have 28-inch wheels and coaster brakes, so it was a good way to get her back in the saddle. This was her first time riding a bicycle in nearly ten years. Felt good, didn’t it, gorgeous?

Angel rode Daisy. In the end neither of her kids came – Damien was hanging with his grandparents and Lili needed a nap. Notice the green purse in the milk crate that matches one of the shades of green in her floral dress. Dress and sandals both from Reitmans (different seasons) purse is from random mall luggage store. Would LOVE to find a lovely belt to make the dress less poofy (even though the poof comes in handy while biking in the heat, yaaaay built in “AC”). – A.

Sarah was kidless too, thanks to the older LRT cars not being able to accommodate a child trailer without taking the child out and folding it up. We can’t imagine doing that solo with a wiggly baby! Here she has just put a CL pin on one of her polka dots. LOVE the skirt and the pearl necklace.

These women are effortlessly chic. Marilyn was wearing a beautiful shirt-dress with a pop of ruffly colour underneath. So classic. (I can’t wait ’til my Uniform Project shirt-dress arrives in the mail. -D.)

Of course it is all about the shoes. Clockwise from top left: Sarah in shiny patent leather; Audrey in pink and Deborah with bows on; Angel’s new silver flats; and Marilyn’s divine Dr Marten’s heels (covet!).

Just kidding. It’s also all about the bikes. Here is Sarah’s road bike at rest, with a Brooks leather saddle and reflective super-skinny rims and the beautiful Po Campo bag she’s been trying out.

Mary Poppins awaiting action. Look how pretty the white saddlebag looks with the white vinyl saddle!

Audrey (the only child who ended up coming) didn’t feel like staying at the playground, so we were quickly off on our ride and didn’t stop at any of the other four playgrounds on our route (yes, four). We headed to a strip-mall area with a lot of cafes and restaurants and neat little shops. On the way, we were riding mostly on residential streets, where one driver was unconscionably rude, and a few were clueless about driving around bicycles, but many were great.

We parked our bikes at the library. It was disappointing to see so few racks in a relatively newly-built area, when  according to the bylaws they should be more. Guess we’ll need to call the mall’s management and ask some questions? Then we sat in a franchise cafe and had iced strawberry lemonade and a wide-ranging chat. During which we totally forgot to take photos. Oops. It was delightful to be able to all sit at the same table this time and really get to talk. Unfortunately Sarah and Marilyn needed to take off after the cafe and head back to the LRT, so they didn’t get to shop. Also, the locally-owned toy store has just closed this location (much to Audrey’s disappointment). However, Angel found a great locally-owned kitchen tool shop where she can register for her wedding. Score!

Audrey took this shot of Deborah in the cafe’s washroom. She is wearing windowpane-check bermuda shorts from Ricki’s, a ruffled scoop-neck t-shirt from Old Navy, a thrift-shop straw-and-leather bag, a gold-plated necklace and fabric flower from Anthropologie, a cloche from local Etsy crafter Sugar Soul to cover the helmet-head.

Audrey did magnificently, especially considering that it was only her second time riding without training wheels (her first was the day before when we were testing the trailer-bike on Violet). We walked the uphills because she felt unsteady when I had to stand on the pedals. We think she’ll be riding without training wheels on her own bike by the end of the summer. Oh, and yes, she did choose her outfit specifically to go with the pins for the riders, then lavishly accessorized it Fancy Nancy style. -D.

Attempted panda shot. I am wearing an older sport-style helmet that has never fit my head properly. It is actually not possible with the way it is shaped to get it to sit over my forehead… but it’s a decent slightly-small backup when loaning helmets to friends who forgot theirs. – D.
View of downtown Edmonton from the bridge over Terwillegar Drive. It’s rather pretty, except for the freeway and utility poles in the foreground – and it gives a nice idea of how sprawled out this city is. Our location here is about halfway between the inner ring road (the Whitemud) and outer ring road (the Henday).  

Taking pictures at the end of the pedestrian bridge.

Nicki, Deborah, and Audrey walking up the hill. Angel was able to ride up with Daisy’s 6 speed!
They made it!!

Nicki and the downtown view.

Despite being on the outer edge of town, many of our city’s suburban neighborhoods are blessed with a well-planned system of multiuse trails, and most of them have sidewalks as well. Wide roads with two lanes in each direction on the collector roads make it less nerve-wracking to take the lane when needed than on some of the narrower roads in the city’s core, and some of the collector roads are having sharrows painted on them that will help to make road-sharing more of a habit for suburban drivers. It may not be practical to go completely car-free, and it takes a little planning, but we think that using a bike instead of a motor vehicle so that you’re driving less often is totally doable in the suburbs. Not to mention fun!

To end the ride we headed back to Deborah’s, where some other friends with children met us for a barbeque. Good food and good friends, what could be better?

Full On Double Kickstands, part 1

Full On Double Kickstands, part 1

Previously on Loop-Frame Love: Mary Poppins had her original too-short Pletscher single kickstand switched for a double one that was also too short for her.

After being unsatisfied with what I found locally, I resorted to eBay, and got myself this adjustable-length double kickstand from a vendor in the States:

The stamp in the metal says YING CHENG TAIWAN. The legs screw out and are secured with a threaded nut.

Mary Poppins with her new kickstand.

Hubby chastised me for using my adjustable wrench and went and got the socket wrench set to do the last couple of turns. Wait, we have socket wrenches?

Bert got the other double-kickstand. I’ll feel way better about using Bert for kid-hauling now.

Mary also got a new old saddle, a comfy off-white Brooks vinyl model with springs underneath, that the eBay vendor said came off a Raleigh Twenty with a 1980 hub. It has saddlebag loops, so when I’m going crateless I can use my off-white saddlebag.

Practically perfect in every way.

Audrey snapped this photo earlier in the day when we were out for a ride.
The outfit: black linen-blend bermudas, black ballet flats, and a knit top so thin it verges on being sheer. 
(Note to self: thin blousy knits feel great on hot days but are unflattering on camera. Sigh.)

Coming up: in Part 2, Daisy gets a much-needed double kickstand too!

Carrying A Load (LGRAB Summer Games post 4)

Carrying A Load (LGRAB Summer Games post 4)

Today I’m blogging about carrying a load as part of the Learning Experiences section of the LGRAB Summer Games.

Originally I was going to use the freeloading trailer for this post, but then something snapped inside Angel’s kid trailer attachment – and freeloading trailer got used for parts. So instead, I decided to try a grocery run using a box. There is a long and noble tradition of using fruit boxes and milk crates for carrying loads on bicycles. I love both the utilitarian look of a milk crate, and the romance of using a vintage wood box; but I wondered, which would be more functional? So Angel and I decided that we’d do a head-to-head comparison.

I started by looking at a couple of old plastic milk crates I had in my basement. (These were inherited from postdocs moving to other cities, and are not from local dairies, so no ratting me out to The Milk Crate Recovery Team!) There are a couple of posts out there that describe methods for attaching a single milk crate to your back rack using a bungee cord or some simple hardware-store finds. If you want to attach two crates,  without making mounting a top-bar bike like Bert completely impossible, you can try the simple method at Dinosauropedia to make milk-crate panniers, which looks much more stable than just tying them together with rope(If you’re looking to use other types of plastic bins or buckets for panniers, there’s inspiration to be found at EcoMetro.)

I ended up deciding to give Angel a red milk-crate-clone with a Chinatown shop’s price sticker, which would be perfect for on the rack on Daisy. Since most people attach them with zip ties, that’s how Angel attached hers for our testing. She has already described her first experience hauling groceries using the milk crate. Her load was: 4L jug of milk, 2lbs grapes, ~2lbs cherries, 1lb blueberries & 6 pack clamshell of pastries; her wish list for next time is some canvas bags and bungee cords.  

Eventually I want to attach this sturdy fruit box ($12 at a local antique mall, and I won’t even have to reinforce it!) to the back of Mary Poppins, whose 28 inch wheels will accommodate a larger-scale box:
I haven’t quite decided how I’ll do that. The easiest thing would be to find an appropriate rack to fit the bike, then attach to that, but I’ve been having a LOT of trouble (including buying and returning a couple that were recommended) finding one that will fit onto Mary’s 28-inch rear wheel with no extra hole above the dropout. Perhaps I’ll get someone to make something like this bracket for me, or special-order one from the UK (they’re made by Adie) – or maybe I’ll DIY something using pipe strapping. Once I have a way to attach it, I can take inspiration from one of these similar projects using wooden boxes. Meanwhile, I have lightly sanded the box and given it a coat of this to protect it:
I also chose this gorgeous antique wooden egg crate ($38, but look how pretty):

It’s wonderfully versatile, since I can use basket straps to attach it to the handlebars like this…
…or attach it to a rear rack like this:

Turns out the egg crate is the absolute perfect proportions for on the NOS Steco rear rack that was on Bert. (I say “was” because attaching the CCM Bike Buddy trailer-bike for the kids, which won’t fit onto Mary thanks again to her 28 inch wheels, involved removing said rack from Bert. More about Bike Buddy another time.) The way this bike box on Etsy attaches looks especially elegant, so I decided to do something similar with carriage bolts and thumbscrews.

But first I needed to figure out how to attach the Steco rack to Mary, who has wire fender stays. A comment by Coreen about how they had macgyvered the connections on a similar rack at EBC got me thinking about what I could use in place of the provided hardware. The solution: 3/4-inch copper pipe-hanger clamps, which are sold for a pittance in the plumbing aisle of your local hardware store, are pliable enough to be easily bent from their U-shape to go around the stays of the bike, and are soft enough that regular drill bits could be used to enlarge the nail-holes to accept the screws from the other hardware. I cut a leftover piece of rubber gasket to fit inside so the paint on the stays wouldn’t get scratched and to improve the fit. It looks great, and feels really secure!

22 Oct 2010 Update: After a couple of bumpy rides I managed to lose one of the nuts you see below – so if you’re doing this, add some Threadlock (from the adhesives aisle at the hardware store) to keep your rack in place. Also: be aware that this solution is fine for carrying cargo, but the weakest point is still going to be the attachment point and therefore your rack won’t be able to carry as heavy a load as it may be rated for. So, you know, no attaching a child seat to this, m’kay?

Now for my DIY wooden attachment clamp. Here’s what I started with:

I cut two equal lengths of the hemlock door stop, sized to fit diagonally (to help distribute the load across the slatted bottoms) in either of my boxes, and sanded the cut ends, then marked where the holes needed to go, and drilled and sanded again. I won’t give measurements since it’ll vary with the box and the rack you’re using. The 2-inch brass carriage bolts are fine for the fruit box, but just a smidgen too short for the quarter-sawn oak of the egg crate, so I needed to go back and get 2.5-inch ones as well.

Also, the bottom of the egg crate was not attached to the sides, so I predrilled some holes (oak is called hardwood for a reason!) then used 3/4-inch brass wood screws to hold everything securely together.

Here’s the finished product installed (some pics with the fruit box and some with the egg crate):

(Clearly the fruit box is too long for this rack, 
unless I install it the other way and double my bike’s width.)

You’ll notice that Mary Poppins has also been fitted with a double kickstand! This one is meant for 26-inch bikes, so it’s OK on perfectly level pavement and too wobbly on rough ground – but it will do until I can find one that’s the right size. The kickstand Mary came with was also too short, so this is still an improvement to parking stability. It’ll move to Bert once I get the right one for Mary.

Something that the process of installing this baby reminded me: I love having a vintage spanner (aka wrench) from the manufacturer of my bike. It makes these sort of jobs so much easier, because it’s designed to fit into tight spaces and fit the odd-sized bolts, and it’s great as part of my bring-along toolkit for when the bolts holding my fenders on get a little too loose (as happened on the Critical Lass ride). If you have an old bike and you know who made it, I highly recommend checking the old owner manuals that are online to match up to then eBay to see if you can get the right one for your bike. The Raleigh/Phillips ones regularly go for less than $5 before shipping – well worth it.

My 1960s Raleigh spanner. I use the hex-wrench shape on the end all the time.

The first thing I realized when I started riding was that I hadn’t left room for my butt! Luckily this attachment system is versatile, too: I just pulled over, loosened the thumbscrews, and slid the box about and inch and a half further from the seat . No problem.

I wore cotton capris and my favorite flat sandals. This reminds me, I need a pedicure.

The ride to two of the closest grocery stores to my place takes me on a multi-use path through this lovely park:

15 minutes door-to-door, including waiting at the lights on 23rd Avenue to cross busy Rabbit Hill Road as a pedestrian. Not bad! It’s nearly triple that when I walk it with my kids in a wagon.

Here is what I bought, about two bags’ worth of groceries, including all the items that were on Angel’s list. This is totally what I would have bought today if I had brought my car.

I took about 5 minutes to repack the groceries into my baskets. In the future I expect it’ll take less time since I will have my packing system figured out. The veggie tray, marshmallows, lemon juice, shampoo, and my purse went into the front basket, and everything else (including my lock) fit into the egg crate. Hey Angel, I think the egg crate wins.

I did find that it was pretty top-heavy, and once I had unlocked from the rack I needed to keep a hand on the bike to keep it from falling over (stupid too-short kickstand). Once I was riding it didn’t affect my balance much. By the time I got home, a fender-rub noise had developed, and investigating it showed me that all three of the nuts holding the rack in place had loosened and the whole rack had shifted a little bit to one side. Clearly someone with more hand strength than I have needs to retighten them, and DH has suggested that we try using lock-nuts instead of hex-nuts.

All in all: easy-peasy! I can totally see this being my new evening-or-weekend-morning grocery-run routine – which was part of why I wanted to get a bike in the first place.

Update, 22 Oct 2010: there is also a great wooden-bike-box how-to (with attaching a leather handle!) over at Eighteenth Century Agrarian Business.

Bert The Bike: 1976 Canadian-built Raleigh

Bert The Bike: 1976 Canadian-built Raleigh

(Actually written a week or so ago, but I had some trouble uploading the photos so held off posting it…)
While I was away in Nova Scotia for the past three weeks, something finally made its way to our garage. Yay!
Bert-the-Bike after a little TLC!

It was a gorgeous day today so I brought Bert out into the sunshine for some cleaning, installing bits and bobs, and documentation. I took the photo above at the end of the afternoon, after the addition of a black bell, a coffee holder (very important), the rear rack and the front rack. (Yes, the Wald front rack still needs to be attached to the front forks – I wasn’t brave enough to unscrew the nuts holding the front wheel on so I could finish the job.)

I had suspected that Bert was made in Canada based on the big white downtube sticker similar to Orange Gino’s – that hunch turns out have been correct. The serial number is RL6—–, which this excellent article at The Headbadge says corresponds to Canadian manufacture in August 1976 (or 1986?), and there’s also this nifty decal:

It reads, “MANUFACTURED IN CANADA BY RALEIGH INDUSTRIES OF CANADA LIMITED UNDER LICENCE FROM RALEIGH INDUSTRIES LIMITED”. This also might help to narrow down the date further – does anyone know when this language was used? Was it when TI or Derby owned Raleigh?

As you can see, I’ll need to do a little rust removal around the spokes, but not too much – the chrome is in pretty good shape. Both rims say:
26 x 1 3/8, MADE IN FRANCE, <>RIGIDA<> , CHROMAGE SUPERCHROMIX, <81>  45   26
Both tires say:

Rear 3-speed hub after a rudimentary wipe-down: (in logo) 3S (stamped below) SHIMANO JAPAN F1. I’m so relieved it’s not a Shimano 333, which have a reputation for catastrophic failure, according to Sheldon Brown. I haven’t been able to find anything about pulling a date of manufacture off the 3S hub…
[update: although it appears that the hub isn’t original anyway, read on…]

The hub is not attached to the shifter at the moment; the threads on the little connectors (actually called a bell crank and cable adapter, according to what I found by comparing photos on eBay with what I have) appear to be stripped. Hubby is convinced that he can fix it by trimming off the stripped part of the bell crank; let’s say I’m skeptical. =) Park Tools have posted a good article on how to maintain and adjust Shimano hubs, but the shifter on Bert looks quite different from  the one in their photos (more like a metal Sturmey-Archer shifter), so I think Bert will need to make a visit to the LBS to get that looked at.

[Update: one trip to EBC (my local bike kitchen) later, we’ve figured out that that’s a Shimano male end (on a probably-not-original hub) and a Sturmey female end (probably original from the rust on the cord) in the photo above. No wonder they weren’t playing nicely. One of the mechanics (Alex, you’re wonderful!) macgyvered a Shimano end onto the shifter cord. Now we just need to repack the bottom bracket before we can ride.]

Some more beauty shots, and other details that may help to date the bike or distinguish it from its’ British and American cousins:

Raleigh heron chainwheel and cottered cranks with R nuts, obviously before I cleaned it.

These are Union pedals with yellow reflectors and the Raleigh symbol impressed into the treads; what you see here is the Union logo and Made In Germany stamped near the crank.

The Norco kickstand Bert came with. This might be original or a replacement. There are a zillion of these things in the parts room at EBC, and I strongly suspect that they were Canadian-made.

Raleigh-logo-stamped handbrakes, classic black (Dare?) handgrips, unmarked black vinyl metal pan saddle, silver United Cycle Sales & Service sticker above the big white R decal on the seat-tube.

The headbadge, which was missing a rivet, is just a flat bit of stamped metal, not the lovely brass of early years. I wonder if Canada was the only Raleigh plant that used the lines instead of location on the headbadge?

 Closeup of a decal. You can also see the gold pinstriping on the front fender.

Closeup of decal on rear fender. Nottingham, eh? Liars.

The replacement NOS Sturmey-Archer rear reflector after installation. This was a little finicky to screw on without removing the tire, but not too tricky for an amateur like me to handle.

The NOS 1960s English chromed rear rack after I installed it. Having the right wrench (a Raleigh/Phillips one, with all the English sizing) made this a fairly simple proposition. This rack was originally meant for Mary Poppins, but the shape of the attachments meant it fits much more securely on Bert’s fender stays. The brass screws are replacements for missing ones from the package, bought at a normal hardware store.

[20 June 2010 Edit: I got mine via eBay, but I just ran across a UK shop that also sells these NOS Steco chrome racks – and their photos include a good photo of the connectors if anyone is curious. I think they could be replaced with a different connector so you can connect to the frame for bigger loads.]

You can also see in this shot that Bert came with hardware for attaching a hockey-stick chainguard (there’s also a braze-on for it on the frame). Unfortunately the gorgeous chrome chainguard I got for Bert is actually for a 28″ bike, not a 26″ one. Grrrr.

Looking at all the above, I’m drawn to the conclusion that Bert was made in 1976, not 1986 – there are just too many standard Raleigh-UK parts there for him to be a child of the Eighties. What do you think?

I also had Mary Poppins out for some loving and a beauty shot. I gave her some new jewelry and a wipe-down, then took these photos:

With her saddlebag. Unfortunately the saddle springs are still borked.

Such a pretty girl! Her rear tire is completely flat and likely needs a new tube (at minimum).

1950s made-in-England chrome Miller bell, with patina intact and a wonderful sound.
Curses, foiled again: brake venting.

Curses, foiled again: brake venting.

*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.

Speaking of NOS, isn’t the original box awesome? Santa was very good to me:
The long bolt goes through the hole in the crown. Easy, right? Except:

See? No hole for installing a brake.

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?

Racks & Cotter Pins / Is Mary actually from ’66?

Racks & Cotter Pins / Is Mary actually from ’66?

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.

If only I could just order from one of these old catalogues. Time-travel shopping would be awesome.

[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).

 Now *that* is bike pron.

– 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?

Adventures & Mysteries in Sourcing Parts for Restoration

Adventures & Mysteries in Sourcing Parts for Restoration

It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted, in large part because we’ve had another cold-flu-whatever virus run through my household. So, I’ve been unable to do much bicycle work*; cuddling the kidlets has taken precedence. However, I have been reading the other cycling blogs and forums, and spending waaaaay too much time on eBay, researching the various parts my ’66 Phillips is currently sporting and figuring out what’s period-appropriate and what she’s missing that I need.

My first view of my ’66 Phillips (now dubbed Mary Poppins) on Kijiji

According to this digitized 1963-era Raleigh-made parts catalogue (PDF), here’s a list of parts that are in my bike:

  • Frame with detachable backstay: #RFJ401/2/3, Lady’s Roadster Curved Diagonal (page35) (Need to check the height to get the exact catalogue number)
  • Forks: 28″ wheel, Other Marks (not Phillips! interesting!), #RAB109 (page 9)
  • Handlebars: #RNA120, North Road Raised with no levers (page 17)
  • Chainguard: #RCA101, 28″ wheel, ‘hockey-stick’, enamel finish (page 13)
  • Chainwheel: Plain (page 8)
  • Basket: probably #RMM143 Shopper (not illustrated, page 2) 
  • Rims: 28 x 1-1/2, Westwood, chrome (page 28)
  • Handlebar grips: #RNL104, 7/8″ diameter, sleeve grip, white plastic (page 22)
  • Reflector: #RDL105, White Plastic (page 3)
  • Possibly missing: mudflaps (page 3), bell (page 3), tools (pages 3-4), lamp bracket (page 12)
  • Colour, based on Retouching Enamel list (page 4): Royal Blue

One mystery has been solved:

Pedals like mine (except they have added reflectors on the edges) just sold on eBay for 36 pounds (for those keeping score, that’s about Can$64 before shipping, which means they cost more than I paid for my whole bike). That listing said they belong on a Raleigh Chopper – and sure enough there is a beautifully restored 5-speed Chopper for sale on eBay right now with the same solid rubber, chrome-edged pedals. Raleigh introduced the Chopper in 1969 according to the ads of the period, so the pedals may have been a later replacement for the Phillips-logo block pedals you’d expect would have been the standard issue for the bike based on the information in the catalogue linked above (pages 29-32). Then again, Sheldon Brown dates the switch to oval pedals with no ball bearings to 1967, so maybe the pedals are original and the bike was built in ’67 with a ’66 SA coaster hub.

A couple of other mysteries to solve:

I do wonder whether the bike should have had a lamp fitting originally. Anyone know if lamp brackets were standard on all 1960s Raleigh-made bikes, or if they were routinely left off the models sold with front baskets attached?

My rims are probably original, since they’re Sturmey-Archer (as I noted in my first post, they’re marked STURMEY ARCHER *ENGLAND F250 28 x 1 1/2* ). But are the tires original? (Or should I say ‘tyres’?) Hard to say. I was expecting Dunlops, but they stopped making bicycle tires in the late 60s (according to Sheldon Brown – does anyone have a hard date on that?).
Here’s what the tire sidewalls say:
28 x 1 1/2 SuperElite 700 x 38B
(logo) SEMPERIT (logo)
…and they have Schrader valves.
I *think*, based on a Sheldon Brown article I read, that the original tires should have been 635 mm – but these say 700. Is that the mm measurement? Is that 700C or 700B? Is that 1995 the year they were made? Are these actually wide replacement tires? WTH? Here’s what Sheldon wrote:

“28 X 1 1/2” (635 mm) tires used on some rod-brake 3-speed roadsters are a distinct size of their own, and should not be confused with 700C (622 mm) tires which are sometimes also referred to as 28 inch.

So, having gone and read Sheldon Brown’s tire sizing article, it appears that my bike may have the rare Canadian 28 x 1-1/2 F.13 700C 622mm tires instead of the UK roadster standard 28 x 1-1/2 F10 or F25 or 700B – but made in Austria – on rims made in England. Confused yet? I am.

As for my wish list:

I’m reconsidering my wine box / milk crate idea, and adding to that list of cargo-carriage possibilities a Wald 535 extra-large twin rear carrier basket. It’s made of wire and similar in style to my front rack, and it’ll carry way more stuff than the Pletcher-style mousetrap rack that seems to have come standard on most Raleigh-made bikes in the 60s. I want to use this bike trips to the grocery store, so carrying capacity is important. Would it be period-appropriate to put a Wald basket on a Raleigh product?

On your advice, I’ve decided to add front caliper brakes, to complement my coaster brake and make the bike a little safer. I’ve won an auction on a NOS Cherry 1-3/8″ centre-pull front caliper brake set, but I have my fingers crossed that I’ll win a set made by Phillips that I’m bidding on right now. Cross your fingers for me!

It would be nice to have a frame pump to fill the lonely-looking braziers. I missed out on a Phillips-branded frame pump about a week ago, but the fierce bidding war for it indicates I’m not the one person wanting one to complete my bike! Now I’m bidding on an unbranded chrome-finished one which is similar to #RMJ-121 on page 3 of the catalogue linked above. [Update: I won that auction! Wanna see how pretty it is?]

I’ll also need replacement springs for my poor mangled mattress saddle – which will hopefully come courtesy of a saddle with significant upholstery damage but sound-looking springs that should be arriving in the mail any day now.

* I did manage to grab a little time today to clean some of the chrome with Rust Cure 3000 and a rag – which works pretty much as I expected from the information in the links I’d provided previously. I also partially cleaned and lubricated the chain with ProLink Chain Lube according to the directions on the bottle; I expect to have to repeat that process. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to finish cleaning up Miss Mary and take her for another spin or two before it snows again!

More Photos of Mary

More Photos of Mary

I thought I’d put up the best of the other photos I’ve taken of the decals and parts of my 1966 Phillips loop-frame roadster, Mary Poppins. You’ve already seen the headbadge, front mudguard, pedals, and saddle in other posts. Here’s the rest.

Phillips decal on the frame.

Other decals on the curved top post of the bike. The top one, badly damaged, shows a coat of arms and the words “GUARANTEED GENUINE ———–  –IGHT —-GHT”. The green sticker is the repair sticker from a now-departed local bike shop. You can also see the top braze-on for the missing frame pump, and some paint damage on the front mudguard.

Made in England, and some of the pinstriping.

More pinstriping, and a decal that reads, “THE TRUE —-ER  —–E  B——-“. The rear braze-on for the frame pump is hiding under that electrical tape. I guess it was catching on someone’s trouser cuff?

The chainguard, with Phillips decal and some damage from the pedal. This is also a pretty good photo of the pedals and crank. The chain could use cleaning, and I haven’t checked it for wear yet.

A nice shot of the chrome on the pedals and the Pletscher kickstand. I think the part with the red enamel says E56E.

Is this part with the Sturmey-Archer stamp the derailleur?

Best photo I’ve been able to take yet of the Sturmey-Archer SC single coaster brake. The reflective chrome plating makes it tricky!

Rear mudguard with reflector [update: it’s marked BSA.U.40LI(heart)LIC.2628 FAIRYLITES BRITISH MADE I(circle)3224] and a smear of adhesive – I wonder what used to be stuck there (maybe another chrome trim piece?). There is a very badly scratched up decal further up the fender, the one with the lion and the phrase “Reknowned The World Over” that’s modelled on the prewar Phillips headbadge.

These grips are made of the same material as the rear reflector’s casing, so I think they might be rubber, not plastic. They are marked “MADE IN ENGLAND”.