learnt to ride in the mid-1950s on my father's old bike - a prewar touring model with 'North Road Drop' handlebars (slightly dropped compared with racing handlebars) and a 3-speed gear with the control on the crossbar. And a certain amount of rust.
In 1959 my parents bought me a bike: they couldn't afford anything expensive - I got a second-hand Rudge 'policeman's bike', bought for £12 - and the best £12 value I ever had. I used it when in Stratford right up to 1997 and cycled hundreds and hundreds of miles on it: when we cleared the house out I sold it and for all I know someone is still riding it. Those bikes last for ever (but are heavy).
My present bike (see picture) is rather better: a Raleigh Richmond frame. I never liked racing handlebars, so it's simply fitted with ordinary handlebars turned upside down. I also never liked derailleur gears, so the bike was fitted with a five-speed Sturmley Archer. This worked well for a few years, then the gears became unreliable and were replaced: the same thing happened a few years later: the five speeds don't have anything like the life of the three-speeds.
By this time Sturmley Archer had gone out of business anyway, so the shop recommended a Shimano Nexus 7-speed hub gear, and I will write about this in a later post.
Click here to see a large version of the picture
Posted: Sun - June 25, 2006 at 08:37 AM by Roger Wilmut
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Published On: Mar 11, 2016 05:00 PM