I 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.
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.