Other People’s Bikes: The "On the same wavelength" edition

On Saturday I encountered a Raleigh Sports. Now encountering a Raleigh Sports in Portland is not rare, nor is encountering other British three-speeds of that era. So encountering one is not a big deal, even if it’s in good shape.

What is a big deal (and the reason why I decided to snap pics) is what the owner of this particular Raleigh Sports did to his/her bike: They replaced the stock wheels with steel rims and built new wheels with alloy rims. What’s even more interesting is they used a different rim than SunRims CR18, which is most common and accessible alloy rim for ye olde Raleigh 26″ x 1 3/8″ (650A/590mm) size.

The bike also had creme colored Schwalbe Delta Cruisers, too!

I’m assuming that they used the Sturmey-Archer AW hub that came on the original bike to build into the new rear wheel. (I couldn’t get a good look at the hub.) But for the front, this person went the same route as me and built the wheel around a modern dynamo hub, in this case a Shimano Nexus hub, which is better than the Novatech one I have on my Wayfarer! (While s/he may have a better hub, I don’t think the Planet Bike headlamp is any better than the Spanninga on mine.)

As I’ve said above, Raleigh Sports in their original form are common, but Raleigh Sports (or any British three speed) with rebuilt wheels are pretty damn rare. When you see them, you know someone really cares about their ride, and uses their old British three speed as an all year form of transportation. They care enough about their bike to invest some dollars into their ride.  They are on the same wavelength as someone like me.

The bike was in front of a fast food outlet, in the same spot as the Black Arrow bicycle from a few months ago. So it’s likely that the owner would come back soon, if I wanted to talk with them about their bike. But I sort of felt weird about that. (I already felt weird enough taking photos of the bike!) Besides, I was running late to work.

What I need is to get some “I like your bike” cards made so I can hang notes on bikes like this!

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7 thoughts on “Other People’s Bikes: The "On the same wavelength" edition

  1. I was looking through your blog after I switched my ’63 Rudge Sports’ wheels to the CR18 Sun rims. I was wondering how the one on your wayfarer is working. I switched my hubs and spokes over to the new rims but will be taking them to a shop to get properly tensioned and trued. I use my Rudge for a 3.5 mile work commute in Florida.
    Greg

    • Hey Gregory, the wheels have held up good. The rims do wear down though. That’s the disadvantage of going from steel to aluminum. However, that wearing down is why the breaks work better!

  2. Good spotting. It looks as if Sun’s AT18 was basically the CR18 sans eyelets. Converting steel to alloy costs a bit but if the bike is a daily driver, so to speak, I think it’s the smart move. I’m glad I did it, anyway. I found a bike post, which I can’t find again, saying that for a wheel size in between MTB and 700c, this size, 650a, would have been a better choice than to get distracted by 650b. It’s a point. I have a wacky nostalgia bike project in mind if I can find a men’s 70s (or thereabouts) Sports at a reasonable price.

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