Given that last post, I was thinking back about all the things we’ve done to this Raleigh Roadster since we purchased it, and I thought I would just do a quick run-through of the changes we’ve made, so you can see them.
For us, getting an older bike like this isn’t getting a collection piece to be restored to original condition and then kept highly polished and squeaky clean – it’s to get a really high-quality bicycle that we can use well for everyday transportation. It happens to be a beautiful bike, but part of that beauty is in the fact that it is well-loved, well-used, and just keeps on going.
When we first got the bike, it looked like this:
A bit worse for wear, but generally solid in the ways that really mattered.
One of the first things we did was to replace the light and the tire generator, both of which were in pretty sorry shape:
Next, first gear on the rear hub bagged out on us, so we had to replace the rear hub, rim, and tire.
Next up was a basket on the front, and a new bell:
After that, a new seat was in order, as the one it came with when we got it was pretty water damaged, and a little wide for my wife:
Next, a front rack, to support the ailing basket, and allow for the prospect of a much larger basket in the near future.
After that was the aforementioned larger basket:
It was at about this point where we got the WorkCycles Secret Service, and the Raleigh moved to my hands. We swapped seats, and I took off the big basket and have been using it with just the front rack.
The original front tire got a crack in it around this time as well, and I had to replace the tire.
Then yesterday, we got the rear rack put on, and I grabbed the pannier bags from the Secret Service, and we mounted that big basket on the rear rack of the Secret Service until we can get the front rack for it.
Quite a difference from the first shot to the last, eh? It may seem like a lot of work, but all-in-all, we’ve spent considerably less than a new WorkCycles, on a beautiful, practical bike that serves as a real vehicle for us, has already lasted over 30 years, and could last several more decades if treated well.
This is one of the benefits of starting with a vintage bicycle that is in overall good condition, and spending some money to make some relevant updates to it. If the frame and basic components are in good shape, you can make updates bit-by-bit, and end up with a really fantastic bike at the end, for considerably less than a more-or-less equivalent new bike. You just have to have a little bit of patience :)
Do you all have any experience buying a vintage bicycle and modifying it to fit your needs?