Monday, August 21, 2017

Late Summer: Schwinns and Raleighs

A few shots of late summer riding here in old Virginia: 1947 Schwinn New World; 1958 Raleigh Sports; and a Magnolia blossom.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

1947 Schwinn New World

A fine evening to ride. I took out this 1947 Schwinn New World. I upgraded this bike with a set of pristine, original wheels from a late 1940s Schwinn Continental - Schwinn dural hubs, stainless Schwinn rims, and double butted spokes.

I topped it off with a classic 1940s-50s French lighting set with an Ideal headlight and an amber headlight bulb. 

It's a really comfortable bicycle and is a joy to ride.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

LED Tail Light; Pictures from This Week

A few pictures from this week - very humid and warm. I have been riding my tall frame Raleighs this week and really enjoy them.

 This Raleigh Sprite 5-speed is a solid bike in a really nice color.
 This 1958 Sports 4-speed is also great, and has a lot of the "golden age" touches from the 1950s.
 The Carradice Zipped Roll bag is a great choice for this bike, especially the black and wide model.
 I recently purchased an Ascher LED light set. These kits come with a white and a red slip-on (or rubber clamp-on) light. The white headlight is pretty weak, but the red tail light is great. I may buy a red piece of plastic to put over the white and make a second tail light out of that.

The Ascher lights recharge with a USB Amazon-type charger. They have several brightness and flashing modes. The thing I like most is that it's sort of retro. It has a black rubber body and a little chrome trim ring. They slip right onto your saddle bag and when you don't need them, you just pull them off and put them back in the bag.

This is the light on low brightness. It supposedly will get about 7-9 hours on a single charge. If it does, that's really good.

 The headlight is still the homemade Miller with an LED insert. It functions well enough, though it isn't great at focusing the beam.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

1958 Raleigh Sports Bicycle

Another humid day here. I took a little time this afternoon to clean and do a little maintenance on my 1958 Raleigh Sports. It's running well, but has some grime built up on the drivetrain and around the brakes. A little wiping with a rag solved this. I also gave each brake caliper a couple of drops of light oil.

One of the other things that I do is to use John Deere Ultraguard rubber treatment on the cable housings and grips from time-to-time. This helps keep them from drying out and keeps them clean.

One thing I did notice was that I was starting to get a little duller sound from the Sturmey Archer hub pawls. What I do is listen to the sharpness of the "clicking" sound of the pawls when in Normal or High gear, and when coasting. I believe a little bearing grease may have gotten into the pawls - not much, but a little.

You can 'thin' this out with just a shot or two from a WD-40 or Kano Kroil bottle. Be careful to use only a very small amount - you don't want to wash all the oil lubrication out of the hub, or make a mess. But just two squirts of WD-40 thinned that right out and the hub was sounding normal again. It shifts very smoothly and is a joy to ride.  The WD-40 should not be regarded as a lubricant, rather you are working to thin-out the lubricant already in the hub. The best lubricant for the hub is 20-weight oil, like Sturmey Archer "blue can" motor oil.

 I've put quite a few miles on this bike over the past couple of years, and I really enjoy it. I find the 23 inch frame on 26 inch wheel platform a good one. The Raleigh Sports really got a lot right about putting together a nice utility bike. I suppose that's a big part of why they were made for so many decades.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Schwinn New World Summer Rides

Before the rains set in, I got a chance this afternoon to ride this 1941 Schwinn New World for a little over an hour. I took it down to the local nature preserve, and the bike always seems to perform well.

 This particular frame size and the angles of this frame make for a very docile, pleasant bicycle. It's very stable and reliable at slow speeds in traffic, and it runs just as well as faster speeds. I really wound it up on the way home, and it handled the higher speeds just fine.

 Overall, it's just a simple, fun, pleasant-to-ride old bicycle. And it gets bonus points for being American-made.