Sunday, March 24, 2013

Monson 2013

Sometimes its not the things I find or the bikes I wish you could buy that are the best part of any swap meet.
The people you see and meet are truly my favorite part. The common interest of old bikes and bike parts connects us. Seeing the new and old friendly faces is truly the best!
People are what I'm looking for when I go to a show and because of it, they smile say hello and thank me for coming.
Its the people that make the event, not the bikes and parts. If it were only a room of stuff, it would not be close to as much fun.

Here are some of the photos from the Monson swap meet from this year. If you have never been, you just might enjoy meeting some of the faces.

Monday, March 11, 2013

SOMA's Lauterwasser Bars

As close to the real thing as I have ever seen, these aluminum alloy copr of the populay bars from the 30's could lighten up any Raleigh Roadster.

The bars measure 25.4 at the center and 22.2, or 7/8" at the grip. Standard for what we call in the industry, "Touring Levers" Road bike levers could be used if shimmed and shims hidden by bar tape.

The bars should retail for around $65.00. Cheap by comparison to the originals that I last saw on Ebay for #300.

Great Site Loaded with Info.

One of my readers introduced me to this site this morning. Beautifully laid out, I found it a joy. I hope you do too!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dr Cutler West

Two of my all time favorite customers in the 70's were Sheldon Brown and Dr cutler West. Everyone reading this, I think has heard about Sheldon Brown. Cutler, Im not so sure. They're both in the photo below. Sheldon to the right, Cutler to the left.

Sheldon and Cutler West

Cutler was always a pleasure. Very kind and very quiet. He was said to have more money than,, Rockefeller, but rode a women's 3 speed bike. He was a genius and Dr Edward Lands right hand man.

I was living in Cambridge and working at the number one shop on the East Coast. (Ben Olken's Bicycle Exchange) I met some of the most interesting people. I once helped Carolyn Kennedy put a Allen Rack on the back of her Volkswagen Bug to bring her Women s Raleigh Sports back to Hyannis.

Cutler was special. You can see in the photo to the right with Sheldon. Eisenhower jacket. huge beard. No ego. A joy, every time he came in.

They said when he died, they went into his Cambridge home and found Polaroid pay checks used as book marks. Never cashed, Never needed. He road a Raleigh 3 Speed and did quite well.

I was told he picked up the tab at the Bicycle Exchange for the repairs and bicycles for the Cambridge Visiting Nurses. They used Womens Raleighs to get around.

Check this out:

I will always Remember Cutler. People like him make staying in Bicycles Sales worth more than money. Employees at the Bi-Ex would walk away from people like him. The attract for me was overwhelming and worth every second.

Looking for a New, Old Bicycle

Shopping for an antique Raleigh can sometimes be as fun as riding one. Prices have been climbing over the past 5 years, so maybe the time is right.
Bikes are found in different ways. Searching on Ebay may not get you the best deal if your a buyer. A world market has more folks shopping that can drive the price higher than what we would consider a good deal. After the shipping costs are added, you could be paying more then the bike is worth.

Craigs List, being local, eliminates in most cases, shipping costs. Prices are more reasonable and sometime, the seller has other bikes they want to pass on. They also may know where to find more.

Swap meets like the Monson, Ma show (March 24th, 2013) are a great place to meet collectors that have bicycles they want to sell or swap, thus the name "Bike Swap". Asking around, you might find out about other locations that have old Raleighs sitting.

Shopping the town dumps and the metal pile takes time. Great bikes can be found, but don't expect to find what your looking for. It seems like now a days there are fewer and fewer being thrown away because the word is out, "That bike is a Collectors Item!" When I ever I hear that said, I say, "Well, your going to need to find a Collector"

I once had a women on the phone tell me that her 1960's Raleigh was worth $1000.00, I said, "Its Not." She then went on to tell me that the guy next door knows all about bicycles and he said so. I said "Sell it to him for $500. and he can then make some money to who he knows will pay $!000." I then went on to tell her that the bike was only ,at tops, worth $100. After a long pause, she said that that the first person to come to her house, she would sell it for $50.

Finding bicycles on the side of the road happens. I once found a 1936 Raleigh Golden Arrow.

Hunting for Raleigh's can be fun. A great way to stay in touch with whats out there and for how much. The best advice to any buyer is that if they find something that they want, Go Get It. because its not going to last for long.

Do you have any good ideas that you want to share?