Friday, February 24, 2012

How I Won, "Best of Craigslist"

Three years ago I got tired of searching Craigs for vintage Raleighs and finding bikes that not only looked like junk but were priced at a ridiculous level. I decided to place one of my own.
I first found this photo of this bicycle that had been burred for over a month in back of the store in my photo file and priced it at $300.00 but when it made "Best", they dropped it to $30.

The response was great! One reader wrote and said I caused him to blow his oatmeal all over his monitor! Another wrote asking "What kind of person are you?" and telling me that I should at least supply a shovel.
The copy made it across the county in about a week. Friends on the West Coast were writing me and saying that it had to have been me that posted the ad. They were right.
If you have already seen this, you now know where it came from.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

AKA: The Golden Arrow.

The Gold Head Tube and Enameled White Steel Fenders were two of the small differences with this very early Golden Arrow. Braze-on Mud Guard Eyes and Forged Fork Drop-outs were later added.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

When 3 Speeds Weren't Enough

Around 1936, Cyclo introduced a clever way around expanding the gear range of the 3 Speed Hub. By placing a 2 or 3 gear 1/2x1/8th inch cog block on the driver of the hub and adding a Derailleur, The standard 3 speed bicycle could be converted into a 6 or 9 speed bicycle.
I used this system on 3 different bicycles including the DL-1 I posted back on November 18th 2011 and a BSA Gold Vase I had back in the early 80's that used a S5, five speed hub to then have a 15 Speed touring bike.

This cog block was a later version with the 3 splines to replace the single cog. I found that for the system to be totaly dependable, the cir-clip needed to be flattened by placing the clip on a anvil and pounding it with a ball peen hammer. This would allow the clip to fit better because of the space needed for the cogs was too wide for the Sturmey Archer Driver by about 1/3 of a millimeter. Under heavy load, the cogset could pop off requiring working it all back together with the wheel on, or correctly with the wheel removed.

My DL-1 Nine Speed. High gear on this bike was around 117" and low gear around 22"

High gear on this 15 speed BSA bicycle was 137"! Notice the DBU on the seat tube for the perfect touring rig!

The Derailleur worked in the opposite direction then most so that when you pulled back on the lever, it would change into its high gear. What a great feeling when its really a high gear and your at the top of a large hill!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Fate of a Golden Arrow

What the heck were the original owners of these beautiful bicycles thiking about? Not much is my guess.
I hope it never comes to the day that I need to turn my Lauterwasser bars upside down to get comfortable on my Golden Arrow.

Barbara's new Golden Arrow before being restored by the fine folks at Via Bicycle in Philadelphia

My Golden Arrow as found on the side of the road in 2004

The "Constrictor Anti-Shock" grips placed in the center of the bars kept the top section of the bars in near perfect condition.

Both bicycles were brought back to original condition with love, care and my favorite product "Elbow Grease."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Via Bicycle Pilgrimage

There comes a time in every bicycle collectors life when they must go to Via Bicycle. You will leave a changed person.
Located on Ninth Avenue in Philadelphia, Pa. The shop of mostly "New Old Stock" will widen you eyes and understanding as to what is still available for that project bicycle you have been thinking about restoring.If they don't have it, it was never made.

Hand painted signs in the front window is classic art work from a time gone by.

Every space on the four floors is loaded with bicycle past. Metal art for cycling in every fashion, form and vintage is there. It has a feeling as if all parts have come home to Via.

The walls are covered with cases filled with bicycle history and where there isn't a case or shelf, there is framed wall art. Some of the prints you have seen, and many you have not. Maybe it was just me but even on the prints I thought I knew well, in person all the figures with or on bikes have a slight smile as if happy to be there.

Prints of all types are there. Advertising as well as art depicting bicycle enjoiment.

With a huge heart and a giant mustache, Owner, Founder, Curtis is a pleasure. Happy to have you and meet any new collector and lover of the bicycle. Curtis will show you things that you might recognize but not notice the fine detail that makes every piece in his fantastic museum of bicycle past, special. You feel special with his kind words and is modest way of pointing out things that you would have defiantly missed otherwise.

Another fellow you may meet is Joel. His presentation of hidden spots was wonderful and pointed out parts on Bicycles with stories that make the Via experience complete. The level of love these folks have for cycling excels that what you might normally find in you everyday local bicycle shop.

Like going back in time, Via reminds me of my childhood when everything was magic. Hardware stores and general stores had a way of presenting things that required going through and looking over and over to actually see it all. Like finding treasure, every turn of the head is a "Wow" and a far cry from the modern way we have become use to in the new sterile retail environment. Not a space is unused to present something fantastic and rare from bicycle past.

24" wheeled Schwinn Track Racing Bicycle

One piece Cinelli Bar and Stem

Via is celebrating their 30th year of bicycle sales. Congratulations for having such a wonderful bicycle shop and knowledgeable staff!

For more information about "Via Bicycle" go to

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bicycle Touring through the English countryside on a 1937 Raleigh Golden Arrow. A dream come true!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Head Follows the Crank

Here is a drawing of from a book published in 1944 called 'Cycling". It shows the proper placement of a crank cotter. I had been told years ago at Ben Olken's Bicycle Exchange in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Ma. that this was the proper way to set the cotters, but had never seen an illustration until receiving this book as a gift. Head follows the crank.

Two drawings from the 1939 Raleigh Catalog of the RRA Drivetrain

Friday, February 10, 2012

Only the Best for the Best

I have had this photograph in my collection for about 30 years now. It was a still taken during a break during the filming of the Beatles movie "Help" while at Paradise Island in the Bahamas
The guy in the middle of the shot is the director, Richard Lester.
Wiki says that the Beatles were unhappy with how the film turned out. John Lennon said that Dick Lester made them feel like extras in their own film. The photograph shows Ringo with a bike and Paul without. The scene was the time in the film when Paul, John and John were chasing a car with Ringo in the "Boot"
Remember when these guys looked old?