Monday, July 15, 2013

And So It Begins...

I've always enjoyed cycling, so after a forty year hiatus I started refurbishing my custom built Reynolds 531 framed 10-speed road bike.  After many trips to Velo Classique in Purcellville, VA.(‎ ) for parts and advice I was back on the road.  I quickly realized the 1970's era 10-speed was not nearly as comfortable as I once remembered.  My older self now preferred a more upright riding position, I still enjoyed riding the 10-speed, but I thought maybe its time for a different type of bike to "cruise" the local trails and events.

I live near the western terminus of the popular rails-to-trail Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) bike trail.  This is a 45 mile trail that links with other bike trails in the Washington DC area providing ride opportunities of various lengths, eateries/vineyards/brew pubs, and historic points of interest.  I wanted a comfortable bike to enjoy this great local resource,  I have little interest in modern bikes I wanted a classic steel, diamond framed bike.  I also wanted a bike that needed some TLC.  I enjoy old-tech mechanical things, one of my other passions is classic British sports cars.  I have a MGB that I restored and still keeps me busy.  I have found there are many similarities between researching and restoring classic British cars and bicycles.

My search started with checking thrift shops, and searching local craigslist and ebay for a suitable bike.  I found a 1949 Comrade Roadster nearby.  I was unfamiliar with this make, but it was old, needed work, and had a Sturmey Archer 3-speed AW hub .  There are more pictures here

The bike was built by the Comrade Cycle Company of Darlaston England. I learned about 3-speed hubs, cotter cranks, rod-brakes, quadrant shifters, dynohubs, and many other interesting subjects during the restoration.  If you have any information on the Comrade Cycle Company please let me know.

Of course this bike is very heavy compared to my Reynolds 531 10-speed, but it rides nice, and is comfortable.  Its been on many peaceful rides down the W&OD, DC Tweed rides, DC Seersucker rides, and recently a nighttime full-moon ice cream social ride ending on the National Mall.  The dynohub with converted front/rear LED lighting worked great.

Next up is a 1953 Raleigh Sports Tourist Model 23 acquired from Velo Classique.  I plan on documenting my efforts in getting this very incomplete, rusted hulk back on the road.

Please share your thoughts and experiences.   

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