Tagged: Saddle

Raleigh Sports Model C.1939-1942 – Please stop eBay!

I know I shouldn’t… I know it, but I’m weak. I see a nice part and I buy it. It’s going to really get me in trouble… The story behind this buy is:

A couple of weeks ago a new hit popped up on my Raleigh Blue Streak search on eBay. I have 95% of the parts I need and nothing I actually needed was listed. However, the results that came up showed a crank set in better condition than the one I already have and the price wasn’t too bad either so I waited, bid and won. After checking out the sellers other items I ended up with a few more parts and one of them being this frame set. At first I thought I’d just add it to my watch list. It sat there for a bit and then I decided to ask the seller how much he’d accept for the frame and for a hub I wanted for another build. I thought it was a fair price so I agreed to buy it.

I picked it up on Sunday morning. The chap I bought it off seems to have exactly the same addiction as me. In the kitchen was his freshly built 30’s path racer and outside in the garden and in the sheds were multiple bikes and bike parts… I’m pretty sure he also said there were some in the loft. We spoke for a bit about the bikes and apart from getting this nice frame I’ve always made a new contact for parts… missing out the eBay middle man.

So the frame. It hails from the beginning of World War 2. The Sports Model preceeds the start of war but in those earlier catalogues the bike is clearly shown with a coloured head tube. Despite the name “Raleigh Sports Model”, the frame carries a lot of weight! Thick, heavy tubing with no fancy lugs. Climbing hills will be fun. The frame still has all the original paint/enamel on it and despite a few rust patches it’s in really good condition, so much so that I’m thinking of just polishing the frame and applying a clear coat to preserve the originality.

As with most old Raleigh’s the “standard” gearing was a fixed / freewheel hub with optional Sturmey Archer. It seems the bike did indeed get the Sturmey Archer treatment but I’m going for the fixed / singlespeed option. I already have a Baylis-Wiley front hub which fits perfectly along with a set of peroid Raleigh wing nuts. I also have a British Hub Company rear hub that suits both the frame and the fixed / freewheel standards. Digging through my boxes I’ve found a set of fixed cogs that I can fit and a nice Phillips freewheel.

You’ll notice the Brooks saddle too. That’s come from my “old” fixed gear (it’s been relegated after bending the frame). It’s not period correct but it suits the bike. As for the other parts, I think I have a set of brakes that will fit, along with the crankset and handlebars. The rims are going to be the hardest thing to find! 26 x 1 1/4″ are rare, so very rare and finding ones in good condition for a reasonable price is even harder. I do have other options but I’d like to stick with the original wheel size if possible.

I’m in no rush to get this bike built. This is another one for my own collection so it will be on the back burner for a while. Still, what do you think? A part of British cycling history.

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Raleigh “Blue Streak” – Part Hunting

I’m really getting somewhere with this project now. Having started with just a bare frame I’m happy to say my shopping list is very nearly complete. It’s taken a lot of searching to find the parts I have so far and a lot of luck with the auctions but I think I’m almost there. The last few parts will be an extremely tough find though.

The aim:

The shopping list:

Pump Clips – Campagnolo
Rims – 27″ x 1 1/4″ Endrick
Tyres – Dunlop White Sprite
Handlebar – 15/16″ Steel Maes, taped and plugged
Stem – 2.5″
Brakes – G.B. Alloy
Mudguards – Britton’s Celluloid, Electric Blue
Gears – 10 Speed Benelux “Mark 7”
Chainwheel – 46/49T Double
Saddle – Brooks B15 Leather
Equipment – Polished Alloy Pump & Twin Coloral Bottles in Handlebar Carriers.

In the last post, all that time ago, I’d managed to find the original crankset, chainwheels and pedals. They’re matched exactly to the photos I’ve found and thankfully, I didn’t pay too much for them! Here’s what I’ve found since.

Frame Pump

A Bluemel’s Featherweight pump. I found this in my Grandpa’s garage along with two other pumps. For some reason I thought this bike needed a white pump but after reading that brochure again, I think I’ll swap the pump out for the polished alloy Afa pump I also found.

Handlebars

Ok, the brochure does specify steel but I must have missed that first time around. I found these alloy G.B. Maes bars on eBay for a good price so snapped them up. I’ll work on polishing the alloy up so that it shines like steel – it’ll be fine!

Stem

Now there’s no mention of a brand on the advert with regards to the stem, however, after careful studying of the photos I narrowed my choice down to a select few. The photo shows a specific style, with the handlebar clamp bolt angled on the front underside, the stem bolt should be raised and the rear of the stem should overhang. The Titan stem’s jumped out at me and after a few failed attempts to get one I came across this recently rechromed item and made sure I won it. It’s a beauty!

Saddle

Finding a Brooks saddle isn’t hard – eBay is littered with them. Finding a specific Brooks saddle in good condition becomes a little more challenging. I don’t think I paid much for this example, less than £30 and for that price I’m very happy. It is used and it does have some tiny scuffs but it’s in excellent condition and will look great on the finished bike.

Brakes

The brochure stated G.B. alloy for the brakes and that’s exactly what I’ve found. I did do a bit more research than that though. Looking through picture after picture I tried to identify the specific model. In some pictures I saw the Sprite engraving and so, found a set and bought them. They’re in good condition and will look even better after a thorough polish.

Gears

Now these are the parts I love the most and the parts I’ve had most trouble finding. Starting with the “Mark 7” rear derailleur, I looked around and found a few examples but they were either extremely high in price or poor condition. I’ve honestly searched for months until I found this specific derailleur. It only cost me £25 and all it really needs is the red filling in on the logo. After that I kept an eye out for the shifters and the front derailleur. Lots of single sided shifters were popping up but never a double. When this one made an appearance I couldn’t let it slip away so bought it straight away – I think that was another £20. The front derailleur is proving to be a very rare part. I’ve seen one in the UK and I was beaten to it. I’ve seen a few more rod shifters pop up but I need one to work with my downtube shifters. If worst, does come to worst, I do have an option in the States but at over £200, I really want to avoid that…

To get the bike working, I’m only really missing the wheels. I don’t think they’ll be too hard to find but I may need to send them off to be rechromed along with the crankset and pedals – I won’t know until I find a set. As for the hubs, the catalogue doesn’t specify a brand so I think I have free range there. The only other parts (apart from the front derailleur) that I need to source are the mudguards. The brochure states “Britton’s Celluloid” but I haven’t found anything under “Britton’s”. In terms of Celluloid, well there’s lots of them. I’ve seen lots of NOS Celluloid mudflaps pop up in all colours of the rainbow, however finding the right colour is tough. It’s hard to match what I see on eBay / Google to the exact colour I need. I think I’ve found a couple that are a near match – close – so close.

I’ll start contacting companies to see if I can get the transfers replicated next and after that, it’s strip and spray time! I’m excited!

Raleigh “Predator” – Fixed Gear Facelift

I was getting all ready to write out a nice post about my plans to change the design of my fixie. It’s coming close to the 1000 mile mark so I thought it’s only right to spruce the old girl up a bit. In the first few hundred miles the bike got beat up quite a bit, trying to fine tune the chain tension etc. A respray is long overdue but I also wanted to change the style of all the components.

I wanted to flip things around. The light frame would go dark and the dark components would go light. Essentially I was going for a black and chrome look. It would look a little more “period” than it does currently. This, of course, meant buying a Brooks saddle and a chrome seat post to start with. I opted for a B17 model in black. I got it for a good price and it’s in pretty good condition. I rode with it on Friday and I can safely say it’s just as comfy and supportive as all the other Brooks saddles I’ve ridden.

The next buys were a new set of bars and a new stem. I didn’t want flat bars anymore and I didn’t want the tradition drop bar, although I would have gone for the sleek sloping style that are on the France Sport if I could have afforded a pair… Instead I went for a set of “North” bars (or at least that’s what I’ve seen them called). I think they’re meant to be used as riser bars for town bikes but instead I’m mounting them upside down so there is a very slight drop. They’ll be wrapped in a black cloth tape and fitted with a matching period brake lever. Stem wise, I wanted to go back to chrome or polished alloy. I still have the original SR stem from the bike but it only has a 60mm reach and I feel comfortable with a bit more. My searches on eBay threw up lot of choices, too many choices, but I found myself leaning towards the alloy stems with a “sleek” design. On my watch list was a renovated “Biba” stem which was beautifully polished, however as £40 it was quite pricey. I kept looking and to my surprise another “Biba” stem popped up under the title “Unusual British Made Stem”. The seller had noted the two cyclists in the logo but hadn’t seen they also spelt “biba”. It was only £10 so I bought it without waiting. It’s needs a slight polish but it’s exactly what I was looking for.

As for the next steps I’m hoping to get my hands on a “Rudge” crank set because I love the hand design and possibly some new pedals. The frame will be stripped and repainted a gloss black and the bike will be good for another 1000 miles.

Well… actually that’s all just a “wish” at the moment. I had a slight accident on Friday riding to work. While trying to flip my non drive side pedal, without hitting any form of pot hole, my chain jumped off the sprocket, wrapped itself around the hub, locking and pulling the rear wheel out of alignment in the drop outs. This was at around 20mph, possibly more and was quite a violent motion. I skidded to a stop, realigned the wheel and tensioned the chain and rode on. Something didn’t feel right though. When I got to work I checked the bike over and noticed something that concerned me. Looking at the bike from the rear, aligning my sight down the seat tube and head tube, shows the rear wheel has a lean to the non drive side and it also seems the rear triangle is now bent slightly too.

The chain has slipped off and locked up before but never this violently. I asked my work mates to have a look too and they said the same thing. The rear triangle looks bent… I’m going to try and find a frame alignment tool and check it out so fingers crossed. It would be great if I could just bend it back but the more I bend the steel, the more it stresses and eventually the more likely it is to fail…

N+1 : Norman “Rapide” c.1946-50

N+1. Always N+1. I have saved searches on eBay that I check daily when it comes to bikes and bike parts, always on the look out for a bargain. Last week I checked my search for “frame” and this bike popped up at a whopping 99p. It had a brief listing stating it was possibly from the 40’s or 50’s and it was lightweight but apart from that I only had the pictures to go off. I was won over by the lugs so it went on my watch list.

The auction ended yesterday. When I woke up I checked the listing and it had no bids still so threw on a 99p bid so that I could be notified when bidding started. Amazingly the listing didn’t really attract any bidders and in the last few seconds I threw on a bid to win the bike for £15. After contacting the seller it was decided I’d pick the bike up first thing this morning. A two hour round trip and the bike was mine. The seller himself wasn’t at home but he’d left the bike with his mother. She had the frame ready but to my surprise she also gave me the original saddle and seat post. If I’m lucky I’ll get a call in a few days saying she’s found the crank and pedals. All this extra for free. Brilliant!

The bike itself is in pretty bad shape. The paint is peeling, there are lots of rust spots and the alloy parts are showing signs of corrosion (hopefully they’re not seized!). The only markings I have to go by are the Norman transfers but with a little direction and research I managed to find out the exact model. What I actually have is a Norman “Rapide” as found in the 1946-1950 catalogue.

It’s a great find. An amazing find.

I’m missing a lot of components but what I can tell you is the bike has Reynolds 531 tubing and is very light. It comes with Maes Stratalite bars and a GB “Spear point” alloy stem, a Statalite seat post and a Brooks B17 saddle. I’ll probably replace the saddle as it’s a bit worn and torn but the rest is good to use. As for sourcing the rest of the parts I have a few options. The standard bike seems to come with a freewheel or fixed cog but there are also 3/4 speed Sturmey Archer options and a 5 speed derailleur option. Five speed will probably be the way to go for me.

Looking into who Norman were, they seem to be a British company founded just after World War 1 but didn’t start producing their own complete bicycles until the 1920’s. However the name Norman wasn’t used until 1935 when they moved in to their new factory in Ashford. It’s said in their peak they could produce 5000 bicycles a week but in around 1950 the company was purchased by Tube Investments which preferred the Raleigh brand for their bikes. The Ashford factory went on to close in 1961 and the Norman brand eventually disappeared from sales literature by 1963.

The bike has got quite a lot of interest on Facebook and looking into a few forum posts it seems people hold the older Norman bikes in higher regard than Raleigh. It also looks like this bike is a very rare find. Searching through Google I’ve only managed to find two other examples. Granted not everyone posts their bikes on the interwebs but the only rarer bike I have is Grandpa’s France Sport.

Hopefully this will be ready (along with the Blue Streak) for L’Eroica Britannia next year. I’d like to showcase some of my finds!

Raleigh Trent Sports – Panniers, Pedals & Glass

My mind changes a fair bit. I’ve only recently bought the Carradice saddle bag and webbing pouches for panniers but I’ve gone and bought a completely new set. The old set up was more than enough for me but it just looked a bit cluttered. I had a look around eBay and saw a few sets I liked. Missing out on the first couple, I managed to win the auction for the next set; a pair of Altura Arran 36 Panniers. Yes they are modern but they have more than enough storage to carry a change of clothes, coat and food for the winter trips to work. They should be waterproof too… hopefully.

They were so simple to fit and look a lot neater on the bike. I’m happy.

Next up, I decided to change the pedals. The bike came with a set of Union flat / cage pedals but according to the original brochure the bike should have a set of nice quill pedals. My excuse to buy a new, rather expensive, pair was that these Union pedals had a bit of play in them and seemingly no way to strip them down and repack the bearings. I could feel the movement in the pedal axle as I rode and began to picture a pedal breaking off at some point. The decision was made and eBay had the goods. There were lots of different quill pedals from cheap, rusted worn pedals to the super expensive NOS pedals. I opted for the middle ground and bought a beautifully shiny used set. Stamped “Made in England” and “SA”, I want to presume they’re Sturmey Archer pedals. I could be wrong, who knows, all I know is they’re gorgeous and make me want to strip the whole bike down and do a complete restore to get the paint to match!

Last but not least, the speedo is finished. The glass I ordered arrived and has been fitted. It was a little smaller in diameter than I wanted but it was still a fairly good fit in the rubber seal. I’ve applied a thin layer of black sealant to the edges so *touch wood* it shouldn’t fill up with water in the rain.

I just need to find a set of 50’s lamps now and get the dyno hub working!

Raleigh Scorpio – From Rust to Riches

Riches may be a tad too far in descriptive terms but for a bike that was seized and covered in rust it hasn’t turned out too bad at all. If you consider all I’ve really done is a strip and clean the outcome is brilliant. OK so it’s not going to win any awards but it’s another bike saved from the scrap and for someone (I hope) it’s going to open up a new world of exploration.

The final job I had to do was to sort out the rear wheel. That was the only thing stopping me from aligning the gears and the rear brake and getting the bike on the road. Unfortunately the original wheel had a bent / broken hub so I went on the look out for a replacement. I found a rear wheel in excellent condition on eBay, made an offer for it and it got accepted. It arrived, I swapped out the axle for the Raleigh gear but unfortunately it wasn’t the right fitment. Despite a bit more spacing the chain sat far too close to the chain stays for my liking and the dish of the wheel was completely wrong. I had to find an alternative.

Fortunately for me, I’d been watching a complete 27″ wheel set and with it ending at around 9.30am on a work day I managed to win it for the starting price. A low starting price. I was expecting to pick them up from the Post Office on Thursday after the failed delivery attempt but to my surprise the Parcel Force guy recognised my name and turned up at my work in the afternoon to deliver them. (He’s not a stalker, just recognised my name from delivering to my workplace regularly) While this set wasn’t as completely rust free as the last replacement, I’m happy to say it did fit!

At the weekend I stripped down and cleaned the axle, giving it a fresh coat of grease before fitting it to the bike. The dish was perfect and the chain line was spot on. I swapped over the tyres, aligned the brakes and gears and gave everything a final check. It was finally ready for the road!

The test ride didn’t start off too well. You may notice one shiny new component missing from the finished picture…? If you didn’t, it’s the pump. The nice new chrome steel Raleigh branded pump I’d bought seems to have had a terrible fitment. Less than a mile into the ride the pump had fallen off three times, bouncing across the road. On the third time it fell into / under the rear wheel of the bike and got bent so a little further down the road I threw it straight in the bin. Things picked up after that and I tried to put the bike through it’s paces. I racked up 20 trouble free miles and called the bike complete.

If you’re interested in buying the bike after seeing the progress, it’s available on eBay [HERE]

Overall I think the build went well. It was a bit of an experiment to see how well the Oxalic Acid treatment would work and on reflection, I am impressed. It wouldn’t have been worth completely stripping the bike down to have parts send off and replated and sprayed and although it still does look rough up close, I have to say I really like it. For anyone who does buy the bike; you always have the option of upgrading to 10 speed should you feel the need. The frame has all the guides built into it…

Well that’s it. I hope you like the finished bike and I hope you’ve enjoyed following this build. Onto the next one!

Raleigh Trent Sports & Smiths Speedo

One of the main reasons I decided to chance a bid on this bike was because I was the old mechanical speedo and thought “How cool!”. The bike has been awesome but unfortunately when I first cleaned the bike I found the speedo didn’t work. The cog on the end of the cable kept skipping off the face of the wheel plate. I pulled the speedo off and stripped it down. Initially I thought the mechanical cable had seized but what I actually found was a tiny cog had seized inside the speedo itself.

For weeks I kept spraying the unit with WD40 and Penetration spray but nothing seemed to have an affect and the cog remained siezed. I’d essentially given up on the part and it was left on my workbench to gather dust. That was until yesterday when I was out in the garage checking over another bike (post to come). My Dad popped around and he noticed the speedo and started looking at it. I grabbed the cable, plugged it into the mechanism and tried to demonstrate how it was all seized but to my surprise it worked! The weeks (or months) of sitting on my bench had allowed the remnants of the fluid to penetrate right into the corrosion and freed the whole thing up.

I borrowed my Dad’s ultrasonic cleaner earlier and gave the mechanism a good clean in some Methylated spirits before stripping out the offended cog and greasing up all it’s associated components. One circlip held it in and it gave me no trouble what so ever. The whole unit went back together without a hitch and is no sitting pride of place on the handlebars of the Trent Sports.

I had a quick test ride up and down the road and I’m happy to say it works! The speed rises and falls smoothly but at a standstill the needle seems to rest at 3mph. I’ve no idea how to calibrate the unit so I’ll just have to remember that when I’m out riding the speed the unit shows is probably 3mph faster.

You’ll notice the unit doesn’t have a glass lens on just yet. This was missing when I got the bike but a new one is on order (along with some new brake blocks!)

Another “new” addition to the bike is a Carradice saddle bag. It’s a big bag giving some extra storage for my food runs and despite its size, it doesn’t interfere with my legs at all. Of course this means I can’t attach a camera or lights to the seat post any more so I might have to make up a bracket for the pannier.

All in all though, I’m really pleased with these two latest “developments” for the Trent Sports.

Raleigh Scorpio – Reassembly Begins

The cleaning continued with a few more parts soaking in the Oxalic Acid. After the first batch the only components that needed doing were the pedals, crank arms, chain ring(s) and shifter. The wheels will be done soon but I need to mock up something to soak them one at a time. Before soaking, the shifter had a few rust spots and was generally a bit stiff while the non drive side crank, pedals and chain ring were suffering a fair bit from a good coating of rust. I left them all in overnight and in the morning I had some lovely clean components. The pedals were a bit too badly corroded to be rust free but the difference in before and after is brilliant.

With all the chrome cleaned I decided to start reassembling the bike. I’ve used new ball bearings and a good amount of grease in everything I’ve put back on. The bike had been neglected so much before that the old grease had almost solidified and in some places had disappeared completely. The new grease and bearings have got everything turning smoothly again. I even decided to strip down the pedals and replace the bearings and grease in them. It’s a job I’ve never actually done before and I found it really simple. Both pedals had thick, black, treacle like grease in the outer races and nothing in the inner. The new grease and bearings were definitely needed!

This bike won’t be perfect cosmetically. It’ll be far from it. The frame would really have benefited from a complete respray and parts definitely need replating but I wanted to see how much of an effect a deep clean would have. So far, I’m pretty impressed and I hope it will impress the new owner when I come to sell the complete bike.

Two Bikes Fit For The Scrap?

Call me mad, but I’ve bought another two bikes and these two aren’t in the best of shape… As usual I’m always browsing eBay and looking for old bikes. I saw these two pop up a week ago and despite being described as very very rusty I saw potential so decided to watch them. They were a fair distance away from me so I had expectations of leaving the auction to run without my input, however on the day the auction was due to end they still only had one bid. The fifteen minute warning popped up on my phone and they were still sitting there with one bid. This was the moment I considered buying them. I figured the opening bidder might have put their max bid on so with 10 seconds left I put a mid range tester bid on to try and figure out how much they’d bid. I was outbid. So with three seconds remaining I stuck in my maximum and won.

£31.

I picked the bikes up today.

The first is a Raleigh Scorpio. I haven’t properly dated it yet and I haven’t found any specific catalgoue for it but from what I have found I feel pretty confident saying it’s late 70s. It’s a 21″ frame with all it’s original 5 speed gear. The leather seat is the thing that caught my eye, knowing full well they are easily worth the £30 I paid. I thought it might be a Brooks saddle and I was almost right. The saddle is stamped “Wrights” and after a quick Google it turns out they are a company owned by Brooks. Instead of sharing the same quality of saddle with their parent brand, Wrights saddle use a slightly lower quality leather but in effect, are still a Brooks production. It does show signs of wear but compared to the saddle on my Trent Sports it’s in brilliant condition!

Overall the bike isn’t too bad. The chain was rusted solid and chucked straight away and the bearings are all rather rough but I really do think most of the components will clean up. The worst part looks to be the stem where the rust has bubbled up under the chrome to a point where a polish won’t really work. Shame, it’s a really nice stem!

For now, this bike will go into storage until a few of the others I’m working on are finished and with the tear down hopefully I can dig up some more information about the Scorpio.

The second bike is a mess. It’s 100% the worst condition bike I’ve ever bought. It’s covered in rust, battered and broken. This bike was not loved.

Let me introduce a 1954 (dated from the Sturmey Archer hub) Claud Butler. I love the designs on the bike. Despite it’s appearance I love the old worn transfers, the chrome plating on the frame under the paint and the beautiful stem. It’s going to test my patience and be a massive challenge but I want to restore the bike to original.

I’ve had a quick search around on the Veterans Cycle Club Library but unfortunately all the catalogues around that times only list “road” or “race” bikes. I’m going to have to look into the history of the bike a lot more to find out about its production and original equipment. As it stands, it isn’t pretty.

I think almost all the bearings are either completely gunked up or seized. The seat post is alloy and I know from experience removing an alloy seatpost from a steel frame can be a massive fight. The rear wheel is locked in place and speaking of wheels, the rims are rusted, missing spokes and bent. The Bluemel mudguards are smashed out of shape and will need a lot of careful loving to persuade them back into shape. It really is fit for the tip but looking at all the details on the frame I feel I have to save it.

So what do you think? Am I mad for thinking these bikes can be saved?

(Apologies for the poor quality phone pictures)

Raleigh “Trent Sports” – The Saturday Steed

My Saturday routine now involves the ’54 Raleigh “Trent Sports”. The “All Steel” heavyweight. My first post about this bike was to simply introduce it and my plans to strip it down and refurbish the whole thing, however it hasn’t quite worked out like that.

I spent one of my weekends a few weeks ago cleaning up the bike. It was covered in years of grime and fine deposits of rust build up. It had one puncture and the tyres needed replacing but all the gearing and brakes were free and working. I wanted to see what it looked like under all that grime so carefully I wiped the frame down with some very very fine wire wool and WD-40 taking care not to remove the painted on details. I spent hours carefully going over the whole bike. The result? Well it’s cleaner but the paintwork has been damaged by the years of grime leaving dark spots all over the bike, but the weird thing is…. I like it.

It’s original, untouched, a work of art. If I tried to repaint the bike I would have to learn how to replicate the frame details or find someone very talented who could replicate exactly the fine designs. Don’t get me wrong, it would be awesome to have a beautifully restored bike but I want to use this for my weekly food runs and perhaps over the winter as daily. I’d always be worried about damaging the beautiful (and no doubt expensive) paintwork. My decision has been to now, leave the bike as it is.

I bought a set of tyres and tubes and fitted those. There was a bit of a struggle with the pannier rack but I managed to work my way around that and later on I found out the little trick I was missing… Nothing has been touched apart from those parts. I’ve left the original cables in place, left all the bearings as they were and simply begun to enjoy the bike. Unfortunately one part had to be removed. The Smiths speedo is unfortunately seized. The cable itself is fine but the mechanism inside the dial has had water seep in at some point and it’s rusted solid. I’m in the process of trying to rescue it but it’s a slow process; the gears are very fragile now!

It’s a slower pace of life on the ’54. The Sturmey Archer gearing took some getting used to but after a few rides I’m better at predicting what gear to change into and when, that even the biggest hill (around here) isn’t really a problem. I’m happy to cruise around on a super comfortable Brooks saddle for a couple of hours on a Saturday morning while I load the panniers with a few local goods.

Speaking of the panniers, what do you think? I looked around and had my heart set on a gorgeous Brooks set but at around £150 they were a bit out of my price range. eBay had a good selection of new and used but nothing really stood out to me until I saw the ones you see on the bike now. They’re military webbing pouches and although they’re not the biggest, they work perfectly for what I need. They’re simply clipped in place (with a couple of cable ties for security) and away you go. I love them.

I’m really enjoying riding this bike every week. It’s not just me that likes it though as it’s had a couple of compliments thrown its way. Last week I rode passed a Motorcycle awareness event at a local showroom so stopped by to have a look around and after speaking to a few of the guys there they begun to admire the old girl and look her over. Yesterday’s encounter put a smile on my face though. As I was riding home I could hear a car approaching from behind but it wasn’t going fast so I was preparing for some anti cyclist abuse but to my suprise, the first thing I heard was “Nice bike”. I looked around and saw a chap matching my speed , window down, with a smile on his face. It’s all on video so I’ll post that below, but to have someone drive by and feel the urge to compliment the ’54 really made my day.

That’s the first moving compliment I’ve ever had!