A short while back in the post “Bike Crazy”, I talked about my latest acquisition, a blue Raleigh Wayfarer. It’s a classic British 3-speed bike, a type known commonly as a sports roadster in the UK, but also known rather inaccurately as a “British Racer” this side of the pond. Raleigh was thee major British bicycle manufacturer, so a Raleigh in itself is common.
But the Wayfarer? It’s the first time I’ve seen this model. And I’d love to figure out more! Searching ye olde internet brings up scant information. Most of it is in the form of photographs, as seen here and here on niniferrose’s flickr account. Even “the bible” on bike info, Sheldon Brown, does not mention the Wayfarer model in his Retro Raleigh page.
I’ve also asked people who are more knowledgeable about British bikes. Todd Boulanger hadn’t heard of it, so he speculated that it might be a Canadian model. Good speculation, but if that’s the case, then Keith in Edmonton should’ve heard of it. And he hasn’t. In fact, every mention that I’ve seen of it online has been from the UK. Could it have been a model only available in England?
The only other interesting lead is here, depicting a BSA Wayfarer. BSA was one of the bike manufacturers gobbled up by the great Raleigh machine. My very uneducated guess is that the Wayfarer was originally a BSA model, then whenever Raleigh decided to drop the BSA badge (as the UK bike market shrunk in the ’60’s, even in the face of the burgeoning bike boom), it “took over” the Wayfarer model for a while, until maybe the mid-70’s, when the 3-speed sports roadster started to fade away. It also looks like it might have been subsumed by the Traveller model in the later ’70’s, as they look pretty similar. I’m also guessing that it may be a lower-to mid-level model, as it lacks the distinctive Raleigh “triple crown” front fork (but still has the herons on the chainring.)
Does anyone have information on the Raleigh Wayfarer? Please leave a comment if you do!