Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My bikes

Part 3: 1966 Raleigh DL-1 Tourist, "The Old Gentleman"

When I bought my newer Nishiki, there was another bike there as well. Shortly after buying the Nishiki I had a business trip and couldn't ride for two weeks. Two things sank in during the trip: I decided I didn't want to bicycle commute once in a while, but EVERY SINGLE DAY, if possible. The second thing that kind of planted itself in my mind was that I wanted to look at that other bike.

The only things I could remember was that it was old and it was a Raleigh.

When I got back from my trip, I made good (so far, anyway) on commuting more often. I also got another look at that Raleigh. It had two flat tires, rusty chrome everywhere, an old, cracked, leather seat (oh... um... on bicycles I understand they are referred to as saddles by those who are knowledgeable about such things), some wires hanging limply that went from a generator to a headlight, a 3-speed hub and some weird looking, funky brakes.

I decided to buy The Old Gentleman, as I've begun to call him, and took him home. I took some pictures that first night. Not much to look at- an old, worn-out saddle, a saddle bag with broken straps, the wires hanging around...

Note the old headlight...

...and original frame pump.

Wait a minute... what's going on with those brakes?

I came to learn that this bike as "roller lever" or "rod" brakes. Instead of a cable, they have a hard linkage all the way back. Instead of squeezing the rim like caliper brakes do, they are pulled up into the inside of the rim. This was done to make the brakes more rugged for bikes intended for the English countryside.

Still, even that night, The Old Gentleman had a stately profile

There was a City of Houston registration sticker on the bike from 1975, so it's at least that old. I learned that the Sturmey Archer 3-speed hub has a date code on it, and the one on this bike is 65 12, which means it was made in December, 1965. Based on that, I'm calling this a 1966 model.

I cleaned The Old Gentleman up a bit- shined up the chrome, waxed the frame and lubed the working bits. I also did some basic maintenance- reconditioned the Brooks saddle, replaced the shifter cable which was kinked, and replaced the saddle bag with a NOS (new, old stock) bag of the same style. Then I added some Wald baskets front and back, and now The Old Gentleman is ready for duty as a grocery getter and back-up commuting bike.

Me, with my new bikes.


HeidiTri's said...

You are officially a bike geek! Welcome to the club!

ubrayj02 said...

Do the two rods in the front ever get hung up on each other? I've had that problem with one Raleigh-type brake set. I believe it is due to the rods coming off the handlebars being bent, but I was wondering if the brakes on "The Old Gentleman" ever catch on each other or the headset?

Doohickie said...

So far, no, they don't touch. Let me ask you something: Does the left side brake lever drive the front or back brake? If it drives the front (like most bikes in the U.S.) the rods may be swapped. Being a British bike, my left brake lever drives the rear brake. (The idea is that when you take a hand off to signal a turn, the remaining hand drives the rear brake because if you're riding one-handed and a brake grabs suddenly, you're less likely to lose control if it's the rear brake I think.)

Have you tried asking your question at BikeForums? See the link in the left sidebar of my blog.

Thom said...

Beautiful work! You might be interested in my Old Bike Blog and a new project I'm working on (see my profile for details).

Fibber said...

Hi Doohickie!

I was looking for some additional info on the DL-1 and happened upon your blog. I'll "stop by" another day to read it in detail. Looks nice, though.

Steve (Fibber from Bikeforums)