Monday, October 19, 2009

Number five

I've been looking at a lot of three-speeds lately. I've really fallen for the vintage Raleighs, with their straightforward design, upright position, and fluted fenders. I've even tiptoed into a few Ebay bidding wars over some of them. Along the way, I found a beautiful old Raleigh Sports with the Little One in mind. I took it to a new friend in Davis who runs a high school shop class and loves three-speeds himself. It should be returning home in another week or so with new brakes, shifter and front wheel.

While at his shop, I found myself transfixed by this Schwinn Racer.

It began to occur to me how similar this particular Schwinn is to the Raleigh Sports models I've been coveting. Same design and setup. Same Sturmey Archer three-speed hub. And while "made in England" is a pretty cool attribute of the old Raleighs, "made in Chicago" is, well, maybe even cooler in my book. They came in vibrant, American colors and just look faster.

This one was made in July 1970. It's a more intense blue than comes through in this photo, and it shifts and rides smoothly. It's a pleasure to ride and fun to look at, too. It is unnamed as yet, so suggestions are welcome. I keep thinking of Chicago-based names, but our beloved Berwyn took the best one of those with her to cat Heaven this summer.


  1. Dad had a mid-70s Raleigh road bike during the bike craze. He rode it to work for a summer or so, and we took a few family road trips. I remember reading "Everybody's Bike Book" from 10-Speed Press around that time. I'll have to procure another copy of that book. I remember liking it quite a bit.

  2. Ed, those are truly awesome. I had picked a name, but your suggestions are making me think I should reopen the question and consider it a bit more.

    O'Hare is great... I like "Eddy O'Hare," after the aviator/namesake. Also, Hancock has always been a favorite building, my favorite of the truly tall ones. Berghoff was also a favorite spot... really great picks!