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.