Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dad and Daughter Three Speed Adventures!

At last, the Kid's Raleigh is back from a lovingly performed restoration by the bike shop at MLK High School in Davis and its mensch of a teacher, Theo.

Here's the short version of the story: I bought a woman's Raleigh Sports on Craigslist for about $50.  The chainguard said "Colt," but everything else screamed Sports.  Hub is a 1968, but bike may be a year or three older.

I took it to Theo, who was eager to restore it for a very reasonable donation to the school's bike shop program.  A week or two later, Theo called with bad news.  "I feel like a surgeon," he said.  "The farther I get into this, the clearer it's becoming that the patient isn't going to make it."  The head was "ovaled," and even persistent hammering was unlikely to make it right again.  He thought I might want to pull the plug before he sprang for the new wheel, brake and other parts.  I agreed.

To my surprise, The Kid was more than disappointed.  I tried to interest her in other bikes, including a sweet English-made Hercules, but it was clear her heart was set on the bike she'd decided to name "Crumpets."

I pause here to note that Crumpets is an awesome bike name.  OK, let's move on.

I left the bike with Theo for a while... broken collarbone, so no hurry to go fetch a bike I couldn't lift into the car and couldn't ride.  This turned out to be a good thing.  As the bike sat in Theo's shop, he had a change of heart.  He called one morning to say a student had double-dared him to prove his skills by fixing the Raleigh... surgery was back on!

A week or so later, and Crumpets came home!  New front wheel and brake... all new spokes on rear wheel... restored Sturmey Archer hub... cleaned within an inch of its life. 

The Kid was overjoyed.  She even likes the old Schwinn saddle that's there as a place holder for a better-looking one to come. 

Best of all, we've already been on three good rides together, she on Crumpets and me on my three-speed Schwinn.  Recently, we rode through the neighborhood delivering goodies she'd sold for Girl Scouts.  I rode Takumashi who, while not a three speed, still made a handsome companion to Crumpets, don't you think?  He even wore his prized Basil panniers for the occasion.


  1. Beutiful Story about Crumpets. Any car or bike I haved named always performs better. The bike and daughter are darling as you point out. Very classy bikes. It is rare and wonderful that your young daughter appreciates quality and rides with you. Keep up the good work! I have a lady's 1976 pristine Raleigh a 5 speed but can't get the wife to ride it, she prefers the 1960 rod brake tandem Apollo/Phillips tags. Thanks for your heart warming post. Eduard

  2. Crumpets is a very nice bike -- Fiona has great taste.

    I've got to know more about the brilliant Basil panniers the Takumashi is sporting. And the wicker basket on the front is very nice.

    You're both ridin' in style!

  3. You and Fiona (aka the Kid)are riding in style. Crumpets is a key buy that she will cherish for years to come.

    How many bikes is that now in your stable?

  4. Excellent! AFAIK the only difference between a Sports and a Colt is the frame size. My bride rides a blue 1971 Colt. It is the only full sized bike she will ride.

    I am glad to see you daughter appreciating quality at an early age. Good work Dad!

    You may be able to pin down the year of the Colt by the color and/or the serial number. The serial numbers are a bit tricky but there is someone starting to get a pattern of how the numbers are going. He is over on Bike Forums in the Classic and Vintage section.

    The best I can determine 1969 was the first year they offered a Colt in the green. If your hub was a late 68 it could very well be the correct one. FWIW they also made 24" wheeled versions known as the Space Rider, it came with a 3 speed coaster brake.


  5. @scottflodin,

    The Basil Karavan Panniers are the best city bike panniers I have ever had. I use them on a Redline R530. They aren't a good choice if you want to remove them frequently, they are designed to be left on the bike. They are made in the Netherlands and made out of water repellent canvas, they are rated at 41 litres capacity. I can get a solid weeks worth of groceries in mine.


  6. Oops..

    Forgot the Colt did not come with pump pegs, which the Sports did.


  7. Aaron,

    It definitely has pump pegs... before you added that I was thinking it might be a Colt after all. When I bought it, it had a mismatched black chainguard on it. The seller remembered a matching green Colt guard, but said it was not original to the bike... he had no idea how he came to have it, so I always wondered if it might not have been original after all.

    I keep meaning to flip it over and find the serial number. The one I did find easily came back to a model I know isn't accurate... I think the number referred only to the rack, not the bike.

  8. Scottie!

    Aaron nailed it on the Basil panniers. They are handsome and spacious, but a bit of overkill for North Sac... can't really risk leaving them unattended and not practical to put on and take of at a minute's notice. A more substantial review is coming, but it's unlikely to say a whole lot more than Aaron's concise and accurate take!

  9. Kid Justice... I'm embarrassed to say. Let's just say bikes outnumber people and pets combined. And we have five pets.

  10. Mike,
    What is the frame size on Crumpets? That will be the telling factor. Serial number can be in one of 3 places. Bottom Bracket, back of seat tube, or around the seat lug.