Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The blues

Holly's Raleigh Super Course Mixte is up and running, which is great. Boy is it smooth, and pretty. It came with a bent fork that has since been straightened, and crummy plastic Simplex derailers that have been replaced by the nice Suntour Cyclone stuff taken from my Motobecane project. I was worried about how nice the frame would be, since online photos can be deceiving at times, and some of these old frames are heavy. Turns out the paint looks quite good, with only a few chips, and most of the stickers are good too, though the Raleigh on the downtube is faded, and Sir Walter on the seatpost is almost unidentifiable. The frame is Reynolds 531, though apparently single-butted, and not super lightweight, a fact the steel rims do not help. Still, it's a big step up from the heavy but beautiful 3-speeds Raleigh was making at the time. This bike was probably fourth from the top of the line at the time it was made, and most likely the nicest women's bike. Some years the Super Course was made in the famous Carlton shop in England, though I don't think this is one of them - the mid-range components and cottered crank don't point that direction, anyways. It has a nice upright riding style, and a sprung Brooks B-66 saddle to match. Holly wants some aluminum fenders and maybe a basket eventually, which will probably look nice. Even as is, it makes quite the bike.

I was hoping to have a his-n-hers photoshoot of the new bikes, but gremlins seem to plague that Motobecane. I've switched the bike to a fixed/free wheelset, and ever since problems abound. First, a tube exploded, which scared the dickens out of my riding friends. That was sorted later, and I got to enjoy the first ride on it this morning to class. It was interesting and I'm not sure I'll take to riding a fixie or not at this point. Upon arrival to school I did my best hipster impression, trying to lock up the rear tire to skid to a stop. The chain broke immediately, and it's a good 1/8" chain too. I'll be a little more careful how I reconnect the chain next time, I suppose.

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