Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Perfect Sunday Morning for the Perfect Sunday Morning Breakfast Ride!

The Perfect Day for the Perfect Bike! Nine riders of The Raleigh met at Curious Velo off the Minute Man Bikeway on Mass Ave in Lexington for a fun ride to Concord at the Colonial Inn for breakfast.

The best plase yet to start a Raleigh Ride, Nick Bennett's "Curious Velo" is like a museum of British Bicycles from days gone by. From Bikes to Bits. His shop is really something to see and a real great source for that small part for your Raleigh Project. Love for the Bicycle is here. You have to visit and return!

Cool, comfortable and slow going, we started at 8:30, early enough so it wasn't too crowded as it sometimes gets on such a beautiful Sunday morning.

At the end of the pavement and the end of the bikeway, we continued on the dirt Railroad bed to Concord. Shady and quiet.


We made it to the Inn around 9:30 and parked the Cycling Iron in photogenic spots, un-locked in view from our tables.

Breakfast at the Inn is first class. Just the right amount for hungry cyclists. It became quiet while everyone enjoyed their breakfast treats!

Afterwards we headed off to "The Battle Road". The Battle Road is the road the British solders marched on from Lexington to Concord on the morning of April 19th 1775, after the battle on the Lexington town green, now known as the Battle Green. British solders graves with the Union Jack can be seen along the way. The National Park Service has claimed the land and have knocked down homes that were not standing at the time of the battles of Lexington and Concord. Sandy and slow going, we passed old homesteads once the farms of the people of the then, new country.

At the end of "The Battle Road" we returned back to the pavement and up over the hill we know as "Shirley's Pimple" and back to the Bikeway in Lexington Center.

We arrived back to Curious Velo at noon.

The breakfast Ride was a total success! Every one was happy to be at the end but were talking and looking forward to the next ride and get together!

We hope to see you there!

Here are the photos from our ride:







































Scott R Chamberlain, and Nick Bennett Leaders of today's "Breakfast Ride"

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Raleigh Roadster Breakfast Ride, Sunday May 24th, Lexington, Ma.

Come join us for a slow go, Breakfast Ride on Sunday May 24th at 8:00 am.
We will be starting from Curious Velo in Lexington along the Minuteman Bikeway to Concord Center. Afterwards we will ride the Battle Road back to 128 and onto to 2A to Lexington Center and back on the Bikeway. We expect to be back at the shop no later then 11:30am

Bring Cash for breakfast and a lock for your bike.

This is a slow ride and will be fun and not fast. Photos and videos are encouraged so wear your fancy cycling duds so you will look your best.

Here is info about the location of the start of the ride:
http://www.curiousvelo.com/

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Raleigh New England Afternoon, Saturday May 9th

Come join us for an afternoon of adventure in Dover and the towns around as we bring out the Raleighs for a day of fun and film.
We will be shooting a movie of this day so polish you bike and wear your fancy duds.
Ride starts at 11:15 am at the parking lot of the Dover Library in Dover Center.

Please,British Roadsters ONLY. This is an all Roadster ride so no Recumbents, Road racing machines or anything modern.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Thanksgiving Morning Fox Hunt Ride


Ever see a real Fox Hunt? They don't hunt real Fox, but they do dress up, ride horses and run the Hounds, chasing the scent of Fox, dragged through the woods on a rag.
For years in Medfield, Ma the Norfolk Hunt Club on Thanksgiving morning has run a English style Fox Hunt through the woods and fields of Medfield, Sherborn and Dover.

Over the past 30 years we have "hunted the hunt" by bicycle. Weather permitting, we will do it again this year. The Hounds follow the scent, the horses follow the hounds and the bicycles follow "The Hunt" Simple as that!

Heres the drill: Meet at the start of the event at 10:00 am Thursday November 27th on North Street in Medfield Ma.and head to the Medfield State Hospital grounds to watch them ride through. Return back to the start by 12:00. Sometimes we catch them and sometimes we don't. We do however get out for what always turns out to be a wonderful ride with a story for the dinner table.

Antique Raleighs or British bicycles only. Proper Dress Required. Helmets optional.

Email me if you have any questions. Cash prize for the "Best Dressed"

Hot Tea will be served. Bring your cup.

We hope to see you there.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Golden Arrow

It wasent until I found my first Golden Arrow in the Sherborn Dump back in the early 70's that I really fell in love with a bicycle.

At that time I had owned 1 Raleigh 23" Raleigh Sports 3 Speed and a 24" Raleigh Sports 4 Speed, but it wasn't until the Golden Arrow that I realized "The Raleigh" was a bicycle of the highest quality that was looked at for years as one of the finest racing machines.



Before the Golden Arrow I had used my Raleighs as "Woods Bikes". Something to get me up to the pond and save time as well as the wear and tear on my racing bike and lightweight wheelset. Sort of a all purpose bicycle for camping and shopping the dump. Named by my close friend, Jon Currier, "Mobile Unit 1", was my pick up truck of bikes. I could move two complete bikes on my Raleigh Sports and not have to worry about puncturing a Tubular Tire or "Sew Up" as they were known back then.

My first Golden Arrow came in 3 phases. The first was the frame. I noticed immediately the differences in the frame angles, headset and removable chainring. The bicycle had no wheels. Figuring it was a three speed, I shopped the dumps for a set fitting for my new bike.
About a week later back at the Sherborn Dump, I found the wheel set. Fixed and Free, front and rear with the "R" wingnuts. There must have not been enough room in the car for the wheels on the first trip to the dump. The bicycle at this time still had black North Road Bars instead of the Lauterwasser style that it was originally sold with.



26 x 1 1/4 EA1 tires were rare back then I managed to scoop a pair of near perfect Dunlop Roadsters with the wheelset, but bicycle shops no longer sold that size.
It wasn't until about a year later, a roommate of a close friend came across a 30's Raleigh with Drum Brakes that felt the bike more fitting with up right bars, so we swapped.



Me on my Golden Arrow in October of 1977 after crossing into the infield at the flooded track at Watkins Glen for the US Grand Prix

The Golden Arrow as a fixed gear became my primary bicycle. I rode it everywhere. After becoming use to it super laid back feel with its very relaxed headtube angle and extremely raked fork, It became normal to me and felt right.
As time went on I would meet older riders that recognized the bike from having owned one. They too knew the feel of the Arrow and the love for the Raleigh. I learned that the bicycle was made in two sizes, but it was only the smaller 21" frame that was preferred by riders of all heights. The laid back seat tube angle would create the perfect top tube length as the seat was raised for the rider.

Bill Vandell on his 1936 Raleigh Golden Arrow. This shot was taken by Mr Landry in Concord, Ma in 1937

The Golden Arrow to this day remains my favorite Raleigh. I have owned three. On a later date I will do a "Part Two" to this story of how I came across my third. It was truly a dream come true!



Thursday, November 13, 2014

Reinventing the Bicycle

Over the last 10 years we have seen old designs become new. Fixed and Free bicycles, the normal bicycle until the early 40's have become the New bicycles of today.
Simple and clean drive trains are now what's mostly seen on big city streets here in the U. S. Single speeds appeal to new riders for the light weight and lack of maintenance.
Walk through any large bicycle shop and you will see, one speeds, two speeds, three speeds, all the way up to Eleven.
Raleigh for years offered Sturmey Archer 3 Speed hubs as an option only. Bicycles for the most part came as a one speed. Freewheels were normal gear, but Fixed Cogs were found on all racing models.
Years ago, I was working at a shop that dealt with all new old stock as well as used classic lightweights. Everything we sold except for rubber and cables was antique. One day a older gent and a friend showed up with a Drysdale, "Red Devil" The Red Devil was one of the favorite of all the road racers back in the 30's. (The other was the Raleigh Golden Arrow) Fixed gear, simple and clean as a whistle.
As the gents unloaded the bike they were selling for a friends wife, who had passed away, we chatted about riding "Fixed."
I told them that I had my first in the early 70's, a Golden Arrow and now had 2 custom built bikes as well as 3 Arrows. I went on to say, I Love my Fixed Gears, People think I'm Nuts! I ride them everywhere! In the woods as an off road bike and once back from Montreal!
They looked at me like the child I was and still am and said, "Did you ever do it on wood rims? We didn't have paved roads when we were growing up. We knew a rider was out of shape when they would show up on one of those "Derailleur Bikes".
The fellow was Joseph Cote. He went on to tell me they use to ride 52-13 fixed. It was easer on the down hills. A normal training day was 180 miles.
Bill Vandell of Vandell's in New Bedford, Ma. was the same way. High gears and big miles, he would head out in the morning from New Bedford and ride up to Vermont and be back home for dinner. Dirt roads for the most part. He rode a Golden Arrow.
Times have changed. Riders prefer lower gears. Fixed for fashion and not proper form. Road racing is derailleur bicycle only but back in the 30's they were not allowed. Excepting the derailleur was hard here in the States and for some today as well.


Bill Vandell and his 1936 Raleigh Golden Arrow

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Veterans Day Ride 11,11 at 11

Nine Years Ago!

Its that time again!

Veterans Day comes but once a year. A day to remember our past and the Men and Women that served this country of ours to make it and keep it as we know it.
Veterans Day for us has been a day of celebration. Bring out out the old bikes for a slow ride through the New England splendor.

We will be meeting in Dover at 11:00 am (Tuesday) and be riding a multy stop ride to the Sherborn Inn for lunch. There will many photo Opportunity so don't forget to bring a camera!
Bring locks and cash for lunch. Helmets are optional.
RSVP by email with the address at the bottom of the page. This is going to be a fun ride. Rain cancels this event.







Monday, May 26, 2014

Bosrug Breakfast Ride Sunday June 1st

Please join us again for another Bosrug Breakfast Ride from Lexington to Concord, Ma, Sunday June 1st.
We will be meeting In Lexington Center if front of Peet's Coffee at 8:30 am and heading out around 9:00 on the Minute Man Trail West to Concord to feast at the Colonial Inn.
This will be a wonderful event for 3 Speeders and upright Roadsters only. A video will be made of the ride and breakfast so period dress is always a added plus to the event.
Bring locks, cash and a bicycle. Rain cancels the ride.
Hope to see you there!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Breakfast Ride Sunday Sunday May 4th




Lets start off the new Raleigh Year with a breakfast ride to Concord, Ma.

We will meet at Peet's Coffee at 1749 Massachusetts Ave, Lexington, MA 02420 At 8:00am.

The ride will be bicycle paved bicycle trail to road to the Colonial Inn in Concord at 48 Monument Square, Concord, MA 01742 and return via the "Battle Road" on dirt, to road.
We will be back in Lexington Center around 11:30.

This should be a fun, very slow ride. Please, 3 Speeds only. If you have a friend that wants to come along, lend them a bike. We have one Ladies that we can lend, but the rider must know how to ride off road.

Rain cancels the ride and possible postpone it for the following Sunday.

Bring Cash and a lock. Helmets optional.

Hope you can attend.

Friday, November 22, 2013

When Oil turns to Honey

In New England during the Winter, things slow down. Riding your 3 speed is slower. Not only is it harder to move because of having to be bundled up, but greases and oils thicken and can make it hard to simply roll your bike.

What was once a thin oil that would spill out of a bottle and work perfectly for a 3 speed hub, in the cold can stick things up. The change is drastic and enough to consider changing to a thinner oil if if you ride during the Winter months.

That being said, oil is oil and anything is better than nothing, but when it gets below 30 degrees, a thinner oil works better.

I run my Raleighs on oil. I use grease to assemble my bikes, but run 30 weight into the Bottom Bracket, hubs and chain. A good oiling before a ride can make all the difference in the world.

During the Winter months I use "Marvel Lubricating Oil" Different from the "Mystery Oil" that most mechanics are familiar with. The "Lubricating Oil" is for doing just that. Its thin enough to get into the hub and work. Its displaces water for less freeze up as well. The side of the can use to say "Good for,,,and Velocipedes" That was enough for me to give it a try. Actually it was the only oil in the house at the time.


Im sure that their are many oils on the market that will work as well. Checking the effect of the cold on your choice of oil can be done s easily leaving the bottle outdoors over night. Leaving the bike in a barn or a unheated garage has the same effect, it just cant be seen to be believed.

Choose a oil that is thin enough to do your job and don't forget to change back when the weather warms up again!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The View from a Raleigh

A day on a Raleigh Roadster is quite different then any other bicycle experience. Rolling along, head up, you will feel the difference in less time then you may expect.

The view from a Raleigh is higher. A better view makes for a better ride and a better day.

New England is loaded with history and scenery that has not changed in years.

I once read about the feeling that a Civil War reenactor would get, dressed in all wool and accessorized with everything down to the silver coins in their pockets and the correct time piece on the correct chain. Its called a "Civil War Moment" A complete shift back in time. When everything is the same including the view, there is nothing holding you to today. Jack Finney in his book, "Time and Again" wrote about this.

You can get this feeling riding a Raleigh Roadster here in new England. You find yourself in places that current time plays no roll. Swept away by the view from your Raleigh. There is a such thing as a time machine and it just happens to be your bike.

I love finding new, old places. For a sit and a view. The Raleigh fits so well. Other people notice. Smiles from strangers are always good!

The Roadster is a go anywhere machine. Good off road as well as on. We are so lucky to have so many old roads to explore here in the Boston area. Its possible to find byways that have not changed in 300 years.



The Raleigh rides well and rids you of problems. Sit back and enjoy the view.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dump Bikes

Over the past years of posting to this blog I have mentioned that my love for the Raleigh started by picking the dump. Its true. Many of the Raleigh's I have owned were free.
Found and saved from being crushed, I gave these bicycles a whole new life.
Over the years I have collected photos of the bikes. I no longer own all the bikes, but I still have some of the photos.











These are some of the photos, but not all. I will share some more on another day, Until then, Always carry your camera!