Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter

Spring is getting going in earnest now, and Easter weekend 2016 was not bad for riding at all. Saturday was the better day, with warmer weather and a little more sun. I took out the 1958 Raleigh for that. Easter Sunday was cooler and overcast, but the rain held off until just about dark.

I had to repair a rear flat on the 1946-47 Hercules, but once that was sorted, the ride was not bad at all. The roads this afternoon were particularly quiet.

The flowers are really starting to come out here in Virginia.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Evening Rides: 1958 Raleigh

The extra light in the evening allows me to ride after work again. This is always a good sign, because it means I can ride during the week. It helps having a good light, and this particular headlight I made by putting the guts of a 1,200 lumen LED bicycle light into a vintage, Miller shell.

It offers 3 beam levels, plus a hazard flasher mode. The battery recharges, and the battery holder straps right onto the Raleigh's lamp bracket. I'm glad I added it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Some of the Best Conditions to Ride

 Here we are in mid-March, and the spring has arrived in Virginia. Today we have sun and clouds, with temperatures around 75; perfect weather to ride.  Caesar may have had trouble on the ides of March (March 15 that is), but no trouble today.

1947 Hercules Royal Model C

Saturday, March 12, 2016

1947 Ladies Hercules from Birmingham, England

If you have been reading earlier entries, you may know that last fall, I acquired a matching pair of 1946-47 Hercules bikes. The bikes are from the "Royal" sub-brand of Hercules bikes, which were made at the Birmingham factory long before Hercules merged with Raleigh.

I cleaned and brought the men's bike back on the road last fall. I have been riding it this spring, and it's a great little machine. This appears to be a rod-coaster brake variant of the Hercules "Model C" compact roadster (26 x 1-3/8 or ISO 590mm wheels).

Now that the weather is warming, I have begun working on the ladies' Model C. I look forward to the time change as well. The later daylight will allow me to ride my bicycles after getting home from work again. I usually exercise by jogging a few miles each night after work when I cannot ride. I honestly hate jogging, but it keeps me in shape when I can't get onto a bike.

This bicycle was somewhat less complete, but I have some Nottingham-era Hercules parts to put it back on the road. This will not be a purely period repair, but it will be a tasteful job using vintage English parts that go well with the bike.

 I have been able to source a few Birmingham-era Hercules parts for the drive train, but the fenders and chain guard will be 1960s-era parts.

This evening, I cleaned and polished the fenders, as well as re-built the a three speed coaster brake for the bike. The concept here is to complete a tasteful rebuild without searching forever for Birmingham-era sheet metal parts. I was lucky enough to find "H" pattern bottom bracket parts. A lot of this bike is present, it's just missing the chain guard and fenders. I think these 1960s Hercules parts will stand-in well enough. It should be an attractive, fun bike for my wife to ride. It will also make a nice pair with the mens' model.