Just get out there and ride! Don't need lycra or special shoes. A helmet is optional...your choice.

I am just a guy with a love of the bicycle and a firm believer it is a viable form of transportation. The bicycle is an amazing invention. It allows a small human to transport a large load over long distances easily. It is THE MOST ENERGY EFFICIENT FORM OF TRANSPORTATION...PERIOD!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bits and Pieces

I did a few minor upgrades to my 1972 Raleigh Superbe as well as my bride's 1971 Raleigh Colt.
Raleigh bikes built prior to around 1960 has nice durable steel parts, many of those had been replaced by plastic parts by the time our Raleighs were built in the early 1970's.

The gentleman that heads up the ABCE has seen fit to provide some very nice reproduction parts. While at the 2009 ABCE I picked up the parts and just recently got around to installing them. You can see the difference in the worn and abused plastic pulley versus the steel one. It is going to provide many, many more years of trouble free riding. I also replaced the cable stop/ferrules on both bike too.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Another one joins the "fold"

Sorry couldn't resist :-)

Found this out in the Stuff etc store in Coralville, IA. Too good a deal to pass up, even though I already had two other bikes with me.

It is a Rolling Rock beer promo bike. As best can be determined from the late 90's. It was apparently made by Dahon, there is a single sticker on the downtube that says not to ride it until it has been properly serviced by a Dahon service agent. It has very low end equipment on it, but that doesn't really matter it is slated for conversion to a folding city bike with IGH, coaster brake, fenders and lights.

Anybody know their Dahon models well enough to know which one this is based on?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

New Member of the Herd


Meet the newest member of the fleet/herd/flock or whatever you call the collection of bicycles that are currently in residence here.

This one was given to me by one of the mechanics at my LBS, because he knew that I like "old stuff".

This is a 1964 AMF/Hercules. I don't know much about the Hercules/AMF bikes, only that they were built by Raleigh Industries and primarily sold in North America. The bike is typical of the British 3 speeds of the era. Sturmey Archer AW three speed hub, 26x1-3/8" tires, Dunlop steel rims, etc. I have just started the cleanup process so I have a ways to go. Initial impressions is that this is a well built bike and of better quality than what Raleigh was putting out by the 1970's.

This particular bike shows signs of much use, but no real abuse. It has been well cared for in the past, but had been neglected for a while. Mechanically it is in good shape and won't need much done. Cosmetically it is a bit rough, but nothing some elbow grease, oil and polish won't cure.

Hercules was it's own brand started in Birmingham, England in 1911 and was absorbed by Raleigh in 1960. The Hercules Museum webblog has a lot of information gathered in one place.

This bike most likely will be going to my sister to use riding around her neighborhood and the large park behind her townhouse. I will have to find out if she wants a basket and if so what type. Perhaps a Peterboro from Maine or a Wald Woody?

More to be posted as things slowly progress.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Labor Day Weekend Riding

I was "supposed" to Labor on Labor Day...but at the last minute my lovely bride got a long layover in MSP so of course having the opportunity to see her and only being 6 hours away was a no brainer. Put the work crew on autopilot, loaded the Twenties into the truck and away I went.

For those that don't know she is a Senior Flight Attendant (25 year veteran) for a US mainline carrier. Works fairly well for us, with both of us being on the road (most of the time).

We had a grand time and rode the bike paths around Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet. The cycling infrastructure in the Twin Cities never ceases to amaze me. It was about a 7 mile run, but that was plenty for my bride and served as a shakedown/checkout ride for my Twenty since undergoing a fairly complete overhaul.

The weather was perfect for riding, and listening to the acoustical band at the bandstand at Lake Harriet. In all a wonderful and relaxing weekend.

I will be headed back to the Twin Cities for another weekend retreat for the ABCE. Stay tuned for a report on that!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Double the Fun!

Received my new to me Twenty from Ebay today!

It is a 1972 model and is complete and in great shape. Only thing missing is the head light bracket. It will need a new set of grips, the old ones are cracked. Other than that a complete and thorough cleaning and we are good to go.

These things are addictive!


Sunday, July 26, 2009


I am trying out Wordpress for my blog. Same name just subsitute "wordpress" for "blogspot"

I have already migrated the existing blog over, but will keep both for the time being.


Sunday, July 19, 2009


Do bikes get homesick for their homelands? Well maybe this will help a bit. ;-)

Found this British Red Phone Box in Iowa City, Iowa and could not pass up the chance. The box has seen better days, but that is to be expected seeing how at this time last year it was standing in 6' of flood waters.

BTW the phone box still has the original cards in it and claims it is Bournemouth S12400 at the Junc of Wimborne Rd and Alma Rd Winton Bournemouth so if you are missing a phone box it is currently in front of the Wig and Pen in Iowa City, IA.

The Twenty has gone through a few more upgrades. I have my Brooks B67 saddle installed, the new B&M Retro headlight, the Spannigia LED taillight, Schwalbe Marathon tires and a Banjo Brothers bag. It has become a sweet riding little bike with the current round of upgrades. Only things left are to swap out the crank for a nicer looking one, find a pump that will fit the OEM pegs, and possibly build up a different set of wheels using polished rims.


Went Visiting Today

Went for a ride today on the Twenty. Checked out a new to me bike shop in Iowa City, IA. 30th Century Bicycle, super neat shop. Met the owners Steve and Cody, hung out an enjoyed being around a bunch of sweet bikes. They stock Masi (among other brands) and have some beautiful bikes on hand. I also loved the selection of used bikes, they have an excellent selection with some interesting bikes available.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

I am sure the Housekeepers just love me...

But you have to do what you have to do! Here is my "on the road" bike storage area and work area. Getting ready to install the new B&M Retro head light and B&M 4D Plus tail light on my Twenty. That big wad of wire on the bed is actually speaker wire, but it will have to suffice until I can source some proper generator wire and the correct slip connectors. More pictures to come when I get the install done. The Twenty has an AG hub installed on it so no batteries to mess with.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

There is a Bike in there...HONEST!

This is why I need a folding bike! You can just barely see the Twenty right at the tailgate of the pickup. When I went up to this job site we orignially had scheduled a truck to come and haul at least two loads of equipment and job related items back to the office. Somewhere along the way the first truck got canceled, the foreman wrecked his pickup and was driving a crew van instead, so lets load up my truck...


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dutch Chic

Look what came to live with us ;-)

On a bike ride with a friend of mine (previous post) we ran across this at a local bike shop. Took my bride back to see it and for a test ride, the rest is history so to speak.

It is a 1966 or 1967 Columbia Commuter II. Not really a folder, but the handle bars rotate and drop down, the seat goes down, the pedals can be rotated inwards and the fork assembly comes off the frame for storage, it has a wheel driven generator, headlight, interesting fender mounted taillight and the Sturmey-Archer 3speed TCWIII hub(more pictures to come). The Dutch part comes from it being built in Weesp, Holland by the Magneet Company, no longer in business.

Not sure which markets it was available in. I have found one advertisement for it via Ebay where Mr. Donut was giving one away in a contest around 1969.

My bride loves it and wants a wicker basket for the rear rack.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

New Technology?

Met up with a buddy of mine today for a ride about town. He has a sharp looking little Trek F600 quite the contrast to my nearly 40 year old Raleigh Twenty. But both bikes serve their purpose and got us where we wanted to go in comfort and more importantly got us back!

The Twenty has been undergoing some upgrades, it has new rims and spokes, Koolstop brake pads and a Kalloy 400mm seat post. I am still riding on the original tires...they were new when Nixon was in office, but new Schwalbe Marathons are on the way. Along with lights and a Brooks B67.

This is a good example of how the Twenty is paying off for me, I am riding a bike with a friend in a town over 1000 miles from my home. I had wanted to bring one of my full sized bikes with me, but due to space constraints the Twenty was my only choice.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Loaded and Locked

Here is one of the reasons I wanted a Twenty. It is locked down in the truck and I am headed out for a couple/three weeks at an out of town job site. It takes up a lot less space than a full sized bike and can be locked in the cab if necessary. So far all I have done to it is general cleaning. I have a new set of alloy rim wheels being built up for it. Plenty more pictures to follow.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Another Part of the puzzle located!

A while back I posted a teaser photo of a Rescued Hercules. It has not been on high on the priority list for rebuild. My day job keeps getting in the way of my fun! I was meandering through ebay listings and came across a gently used Hercules saddle. They don't show up very often and it was the correct one for the bike, so a bid was placed and I am now the proud owner of a very nice OEM saddle for the Herc. Yet another piece of the puzzle, a large part of the fun of dealing with vintage bikes. And I am sure the readers will agree this saddle is an improvement over the one that came with the bike!


Hat Trick

The alternate post title was a "Field of Green"...Raleighs. I just got the Twenty (the one in the middle) a couple of weeks ago. I have been trying to win one on ebay for quite some time, and finally did. Fun little bike and I have great plans for it. Sheldon Brown was a huge fan of the Raleigh Twenty. It lends itself very well to upgrades and is a very stable bike to ride. Not to ruin the hat trick, but I do have a ladies Raleigh Sports in the green also, but it is still in parts for the time being.

The bikes in order from smallest to largest are: 1968 Raleigh Compact RSW, 1971 Raleigh Twenty, and 1972 Raleigh Superbe. I will post more on the Twenty as it evolves.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Giant Excursion

Yet another bike from my collection! FWIW I did an inventory of bikes this past weekend, I currently have 20 in my shop/storage area and another 16 in the outside storage/scrap pile. None of them are what anyone would consider high value, and many in the scrap pile are department/discount store specials that were given to "the crazy guy that likes bikes".

The Excursion started out life as a European Trekking bike with flat bars. All I have done to it is add drop bars, brifters and a well used leather saddle. I am not sure I like the brifters or not, if not I will change them over to bar end shifters, which I know I like on a tour bike.

The bike is equipped with Shimano Deore LX drive train, a bottom bracket generator, full fenders and racks. It also came with the standard rear wheel ring lock. One neat feature that is also a PITA is the generator wiring utilizes the aluminum strips in the fenders. You have a small male snap end on the fender and the light wiring snaps to it, only problem is if you break one of the female snaps they are impossible to replace. I have managed to cobble together a suitable replacement, but would prefer to have something more original.

This actually the second one of these bikes I have had, the first was stolen and this one is the replacement. My brother found it in a shop in Clemmons, NC. Apparently Giant was a bit premature bringing these over to the US, because they never sold well in 1989. AFAIK they were only offered for one year.


Some Days...

Some days you are better off just staying in bed...or not working on your bicycle! This is the freewheel from my Expedition Bike build. I am reworking a 1989 Giant Iguana mountain bike to use for loaded rough road touring. The freewheel is showing some wear, so I figured take it off and replace it, simple right? Not now, I managed to break the removal tool and crack the freewheel housing AND it is still stuck on the hub. So I guess the next step will be to decide whether to purchase a new free hub or cold set the frame for the wider cassette hub. Anyone know if a Shimano 6 speed cassette will work with a Suntour XCM derailleur and shifter?


Monday, January 19, 2009

A Good Reason NOT to read foreign bike blogs...

I was reading People Powered Blog and was having a discussion with Nico about a bike he had posted on his blog People Powered had picked up on the bikes and had them on his blog of the day. I got to translating Nico's blog (using Google Translator) and ran across where he had taken a vacation in The Netherlands Found the Gazelle website with the tandem on it...now I want one!

We have a Raleigh Companion tandem that sees a bit of use, but I think the Gazelle would be much nicer and probably get ridden even more than the Raleigh does. So now the fun begins! Getting the money together and figuring out how to get a bike like that to the states.

BTW the Raleigh does have fenders and a rack on it, and it getting a center kickstand shortly.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Almost There!

From Redline R530

My Dutch inspired bicycle is almost done! I got my Basil Karvan II panniers installed, along with a Esge double legged kickstand. Thanks to Portlandize and Rat Trap Press for their input.

Just a few more goodies and I will declare the bike done. I want a different set of pedals the touring pedals from Velo-Orange look like what I want, then most likely a set of Power Grips. Still toying with the idea of getting a different tail light that is generator powered with the stand light, current tail light and PB Super Flash are doing just fine so I may pass on that for the time being. I am also toying with the idea of a set of cork hand grips, but that is more of an aesthetics thing.

Any suggestions are welcomed!


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Learn a New Language?

Buy a bicycle that isn't sold in the US and have to translate a German website.

Bought this bike off the used bike rack at my LBS . Someone apparently had brought it from Germany and traded it in on a new bike. It is a Staiger Florida. I find it interesting that Staiger would choose to name it's entire line of bikes using names from North America...undoubtedly one of the least cycle transportation oriented countries in the world.

The Florida was from their Trekking line, and comes well equipped, with fenders, generator hub, B&M lights, chain guard and bell (typical in the countries it is sold in, but not in the US). I bought it with the original intent of stripping the components for use on a different bike, but got to riding it around and decided to keep if for a beater/grocery getter bike.

The only items I have added to it have been: the Wald folding rear baskets and the Euro style Wald front basket I also swapped out the suspension seat post for a slightly longer non suspension one. The bike came with a plastic/lexan chain guard, but it broke at the mounting points and has not be repaired/replaced yet.

This bike, with it's 27 speed Shimano drive train, shies away from my normal IGH bikes but has been well worth the $175 that I paid for it. As best I can determine it is a 2002-3 model, and apparently sold originally for ~$650usd