Saturday, October 14, 2017

Not So Colorful Yet

The weather started grey today, but by late afternoon it had cleared. I took my 1958 Raleigh Sports for a ride around the area because the weather had turned out to be pretty good.

 One thing that has surprised me is that the fall has been so mild so far. We had cool weather in August, and some of the Red Maples had begun to turn their usual fall colors. But then in September, we had very warm weather, followed by a warm October start as well.

The result is that here we are half way through October, and there's not much fall color yet. It's hard to tell if all this means a mild winter or not. We shall see.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Damp Evening Ride - Raleigh Sports

It was damp and grey this evening, but not really wet enough to prevent me from riding. I took out my 1974 Raleigh Sports for a ride around the area to pick up some mail and look at some houses for sale.

The chilly, damp weather is the Raleigh's natural, English environment.

The B&M Lumotec Classic and the battery-powered lamps together work well enough to see in the dark. The original Sturmey tail lamp works well.

The orange-colored street lamp looks the green look a little odd on this bike.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Columbus Day Ride

The weather turned very warm, and very humid on Sunday, with the same conditions on Monday. There were a few showers around for the first time in quite awhile, but it stayed dry enough to ride.

I took out this neat little Raleigh Twenty. It's a fun bike.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Moving Backwards in Time with Parts: "Retrograding" a Project

Sometimes you build an old bike project, and later go back and edit your work. Sometimes those edits involve "going back in time" or "retrograding" the parts on the bike.

 Used to describe a person, "retrograde" as a noun can be a severe insult. But in this sense, I use it as a verb to describe work on an old bicycle: my 1941 Schwinn New World. At one time, "retrograde" as a verb meant to travel back in time with whatever it was you were working on.

I think that's a great word for those projects where you start off with some more modern parts, and over time end up migrating with the project back towards original or period-correct parts, or even just original parts from around the same era.

I see no shame in this, though it does get costly if you're buying all your parts twice (one newer set and one older set). Let's take a look at the 1941 New World project.

First, I previously had on this bike a set of aluminum, Weinmann brake levers from the 1970s. They worked well, but I eventually started wanting something a little closer to the original Schwinn-built brake levers. Those originals cost $100+ per set for a nice set. But what about something that looks a lot like the originals, costs less, and is more of an "older" lever than the Weinmanns?

I also had a set of 1990s-era Schwinn reproduction grips. What if I could locate an old set of original Schwinn grips that would function and work on this bike? Sure enough, I eventually found a relatively nice set of post-war Schwinn black grips that swapped right onto the bike.

In addition to "oldness", 'retrograding' a bike can also bring the project to a more consistent, overall condition. The reproduction grips worked well and were nice looking, but were perhaps a bit toonice for this 1941 Schwinn. These old Schwinn grips are just the right condition for this project.

Bike projects evolve to reflect each owners' inclinations. At 20, I was hellbent on original and correct. Fourteen years later, I'm more flexible, but still demand a coherent and "old" type product. So I "retrograde" some of my projects. I go back and decide "old stock" may be just what I want in some cases.

This is never at the expense of safety, but it is more something with an eye to the project as a whole. I want something fun, presentable, classic, and consistent.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

A Dry, Summer-Like Day

Today was dry and summer-like. I took a short road trip with the Mrs., and then got back in time to go for a ride on my Raleigh Sports.

It's a great bike, and it's good to enjoy as much of the nicer weather that we have left in the season.

I took a tape measure to my various bicycles the other day, to see just how consistent my set ups are (seat height, handle bar height, seat-to-handle bar reach, etc). It turns out they're all very, very close in all measurements. After you've been riding for long enough, you settle into a certain "fit" on the bike. If you've been riding a long time, check the fit of various bicycles you own. If the bikes are of a similar type, you may find that you've actually been re-using the same measurements a lot. That's the sign that you've found a nice set up for yourself.