Wednesday, February 3, 2016
My Raleigh Model 21
For years the best way to find an old Raleigh was in a weekly magazine called "The Want Advertiser" The Want Ad as it was known hit the news stands around 6:30am. All the really good deals were sold by 8:00am so if you really wanted a real "find" you would need to be there when it first arrived.
My favorite spot back in the early 70's was the little mini market in Wellesley Hills next to the Maugus Restaurant.
I would ride to the Maugus, order breakfast and wait for the delivery truck to arrive. There was a phone on the back wall back then, that I could call and ask the proper questions to see if the bike was worth riding to buy.
The ad above, as simple as it is, was proof enough that this bike was for me.
I called the number and when the women answered, I simply said, I want to buy your bike and come and get it now.
She told me that she was going out, but would be returning to the house around 3:00 and would hold it for me because I was the first caller.
I told her that the bike was very important to me and made up a story why. I asked if I could come over and wait for her to return home.
"OK,,," she said, "But I wont be home until 3!"
I got her address and went to Sudbury by bike and found the house. As I sat on her steps all afternoon the phone rang inside. I counted 47 calls in the time from when I first arrived. Maybe the same callers or no one interested in the bile at all.
The women finally arrived as she said she would a little early. She told me that she didn't want to keep me waiting any longer.
When she rolled the bike out, it had no fenders. She noticed that I was a little surprised and said, "Would you like the fenders?
"Yes, that would be Great!" She said" I also have some printed things that come along with the bike." I said, "GREAT!"
Below is the printed material that she gave me along with the bike. The letter is from the second owner to the third. I am the fourth.
The bicycle remains in my collection today. It has K series hubs that are rod pulled drum brakes, 28"wheels, as seen in the photo of the catalog. The bicycle was purchased in 1934 in Boston and is one of the first Raleigh's to be imported by Raleigh of America into this country and as Im sure you can imagine, a dream to ride!
Here is what the letter says:
Frank W Warren
546 South Street
Murray Hill, NJ.
March 28th, 19
I am pleased
that the Raleigh arrived in good
shape and that you like it.
For several years it was
my most prized possession
and I never could persuade
myself to sell it even though
it was a nuisance to keep
in the garage. Once I did advertise it
For sale and an unpleasant
character came to look at it.
he tried to talk me down on the
price by making disparaging
remarks and I ended the conversation
by telling him it was obvious he
knew nothing about bicycles and
suggested he go to Sears Roebuck
for their junk.
I bought it about 1942
from a youth in Milton, Mass, who
was going into the Army and it was
a tearful transaction. The bike
was evidently the apple of his eye
and his mother made me promise
to sell it back if her son returned.
I had to leave my address and
make the promise. For several years
Janey, Bill, and I traveled on bikes
into the surrounding country,
often trailed by five or six of their
pals. Janey was pretty young but
we always got back.
That saddle you find
uncomfortable is a Brooks
saddle- the best. I would suggest
you get some saddle soap or
leather polish; it is probably
somewhat brittle after twelve years
in the garage.Also you might be a
trifle soft for road work on a bike.
Enclosed are a few pamphlets
describing Raleigh parts. The bike
ought to be in good mechanical order
but you must oil it.Never shift
gears while pedaling; just coast
while making the shift. Its easy to do.
I doubt if the tires will last very long.
Once you get it cleaned up, it is easy to
keep clean if you just use auto polish on
We are planning to go to
Stamford on Good Friday and hope
to see you.
Love to Juliang and Janey