The mistake was purchasing my beloved Nora, the 1963 bicycle I bought and rebuilt, almost a year ago. Back then I had stars in my eyes and only had my childhood experiences and love of old things as a guide as to what to look for in a transportation cycle. In all fairness to myself, I just wanted to get back on the bike and didn't want to invest a lot of money in case my return to the pedals was short lived.
|Marina the Schwinn|
Even though Marina has 21 speeds to choose from, I realized that I only use about four of the different gear selections in my commutes around town and even though she's a lot lighter than Nora, she's still a very heavy steel bike.
Before long I started reading blogs by other bike enthusiasts like Lovely Bicycle and Rideblog and learned more about different types of bicycles and cyclists. I read about the experiences of other cyclists out there and the various bikes available. There's a bike for every personality and journey and the selections are as varied as snowflakes. Before long, I was dreaming of British bicycles and the bikes that caught my eye the most were the Pashley Princess Sovereign and the classic Raleigh Sport 3-Speed. I felt both bikes would suit my needs commuting around town and running errands.
The Pashley Princess runs about $1200 retail and a good Raleigh Sport can be found on Craigslist for around $150-200 (which is high, but they're harder to find in Texas than on the East Coast). After doing research on both types of bikes, I learned that the Pashley is much heavier and harder to get up hills than the classic Raleigh (and I live in the Hill Country!) ... not to mention that the price of an old Raleigh fits into my budget better than a Pashley! So I started looking for a vintage Raleigh Sport, circa 1969-1978. I dreamt of finding a green Raleigh because 1. green is my favorite color and 2. the one that Velouria at Lovely Bike used to own was gorgeous! For months I have been pouring over ads on Craigslist, drooling over Raleigh photos on the web and eyeing my husband's 1972 Raleigh with serious bike envy.
|Marina, Lilly and Norman!|
Check out the cool porteur (front) rack
my husband built for his Raleigh!
|At last! His and Hers Raleighs: ready for a ride into the sunset!|