Monday, April 4, 2011

Two Years Older, Not Much Wiser!

Though I missed it last year, this time around I remembered: April 4th, 2009 was the date of the first Lovely Bicycle post. Since then I've acquired a few bikes, learned a great deal in the process, and improved my cycling skills by about a thousandfold. I have also aged two years and learned to levitate. Honestly, levitation is not that difficult compared to learning to ride a roadbike.

In my quest to penetrate the mysteries of The Bicycle, one thing I understand quite clearly is that I still don't know much about bikes, and won't any time soon. I am not trying to be humble or self-deprecating: I mean it, and I don't think it's a bad thing. I have been fortunate enough to speak with quite a few framebuilders over the past two years, and they all have something different to say about frame design and construction. Some have very concrete theories about which geometry, tubing, etc. work best, and can explain why in great detail. Other builders just shrug and say, "I have no idea why the bikes I make ride well. All that trail and angles stuff is nonsense and there is more than one way to skin a cat." The builders with the best reputations and most coveted bicycles fall into both categories, and if saying "I don't know" is good enough for some of my favourite builders, then surely there is no shame in it.

I am not suggesting that the making of bicycles is some mystical thing that we mere mortals can never hope to grasp. But the more I learn, the more I realise that there are just so many contributing factors to how any given bicycle handles, that it is exceptionally difficult to generalise. In fact, the safest and most reliable way to make a great bike I've heard framebuilders describe, is copying the geometry of their favourite vintage bike, then experimenting with minor modifications. After all, frame geometry is "open source" and anybody who knows how to take measurements correctly can use it: Why not make what you already know works?  If contemporary manufacturers wanted to, they could all be producing vintage Raleigh Sports replicas in Taiwanese factories, which would ride much nicer than most modern commuter bicycles sold in bikeshops today. Why don't they then?.. That's something I haven't yet figured out either.

So there we have it: I don't know much, but that does not stop my continued interest in bicycles and cycling. One of the things I try to do on this blog, is to maintain a space where those who are new to bicycles can learn interesting things without feeling intimidated by industry jargon or by those who appear to be more knowledgable: Curiosity and openness are enough to enjoy cycling. Thank you for all the support I receive from you in its many forms: engaging discussions in the comments and over email, useful advice, shared information, trades for spare bicycle parts, donations for give-aways, and sponsorship. Thank you for reading, as I continue to share my mystified observations in year three of Lovely Bicycle!

63 comments:

  1. Thank you for two great years, Velouria. I didn't "discover" you until you were blogging for a few months, but I went back and read your earlier posts--for pleasure as well as information.

    I think that one of the reasons why frame- (and bicycle-) building seems so enshrouded in mystery is that, as you note, there are so many different opinions. Such is the case because bicycling is ultimately a subjective experience: What feels good to me may not be to your liking.

    One reason why, I believe, there are so many different opinions is that bicycling is an active and interactive experience. The cyclist experiences his or her bike more intimately than the driver does his or her car, for example.

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  2. Yours is a very engaging blog. I've enjoyed following it. Hope you continue you a good long while yet.

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  3. Velouria, Congratulations on the two year anniversary of Lovely Bicycle and thank you again for continuing to provide your thoughts, pictures and interesting topics. I'm looking forward to your daily posts and I'm also enjoying randomly reading back posts. The topics indexes on this site are great. I hope that you are enjoying writing this blog as much as your readers enjoy reading it every day. Steve in MD

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  4. Keep up the good work, I start my day by checking whats new to read on your site. I have been riding bikes for about 45 years now, I'm still learning from you.
    By the way, I'm ordering a Brooks Pro today, the "Vans" model - fantastic embossing on the leather, I hope the break-in goes well (hmmmm).

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  5. in addition to providing new people a chance to learn, you are also asking questions that allow experienced people to broaden their horizons.

    thanks you and congrats!

    and now, to celebrate... SPRING!

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  6. I know less than not much about bikes, but I do know you have and continue to be very interesting and thought provoking reading. Thanks a bunch for that.

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  7. Congrats on the 2 years! I'd say that you've learned a great deal. I know that I've learned a lot more about bicycles through your blog over this past year especially. Thank you for sharing with us all the spoils of your curiosity!

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  8. JPTwins said...
    "...and now, to celebrate... SPRING!"


    We celebrated with a leisurely ride to and around Fresh Pond and it was even almost warm for a change, though not a leaf or flower in sight!

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  9. Congratulations on two years! I stumbled across your blog quite by accident, but I'm awfully glad I did. It is a welcome thing to know that there are knowledgable people out there like yourself who share my appreciation for lovely bicycles. Without this blog, I think I would have been left to the depressing conclusion that my local bike shop was the culmination of "cycling culture", which couldn't be further from the truth!

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  10. Heartfelt congratulations, Velouria! Thank you for two years of thought-provoking, smile-inducing posts.

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  11. Congratulations! I think I've been reading that entire time. Many happy returns, of course.

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  12. Justine - I forget who now, but possibly Grant Petersen, pointed out that not much can go wrong with frame design in the sense that it is fairly difficult to create an unridable bicycle. And as long as a bicycle is ridable, there will be someone out there who prefers it to other designs. While it's of course much more nuanced than that, the point is that a niche market / cult following can be established for almost any bike.

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  13. I am so glad that this blog came into being two years ago. That was just about the time that I got into bicycles. As a result, this blog quickly became my bike tutor. (And it inspired the purchase of my beloved Adelaide.) I can honestly say that this blog has impacted my life for the better in many ways. So thank you, Velouria.

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  14. Happy 2-year anniversary. When I first started reading your blog I didn't know much about classic bicycles and you sparked a new interest for me. Thanks for sharing all that you have learned, for all the beautifuly written prose, and all the lovely photographs of you and your bicycles. You inspire us everyday.

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  15. Happy 2 year anniversary! It's a wonderful site you've built here and I look forward to many more posts from you!

    S.

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  16. If it weren't for you, I wouldn't own a single vintage bicycle, or even a comfortable bicycle, so I'm very grateful. I certainly wouldn't be writing my own biking blog, or taking long rides, or thinking about tire color, all of which are lots of fun. Thanks, Veloria!

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  17. snarkypup said...
    "If it weren't for you, I wouldn't own a single vintage bicycle... I certainly wouldn't be writing my own biking blog, ...or thinking about tire color"


    I guess I should have added an apology to those whom my blog has caused financial ruin, household clutter, obtrusive thoughts about tire colour, and wasted time on the internet!

    Yeah, um sorry about that : )

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  18. I have to say that a little bit of Lovely Bicycle has come across the pond and impacted itself on the bespoke tourer I am having built - never had I considered cream tyres until I saw your website, and damned if I haven't gone and bought cream Panaracer Paselas for the new bike. For the colour scheme I have in mind it'll be perfect and I'd have never have thought of it - so yeah, thanks for that too!

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  19. For what it's worth, I don't think you can go wrong with Panaracer Paselas, be they cream or tanwall. They vastly improved the ride quality of all the bikes which I fitted with them thus far. I understand that Grand Bois in the equivalent size are supposed to feel "even better," but I am trying not to go there financially!

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  20. wow only two years - almost forever in blog land! however, I think forever actually comes in a couple more years☺. thanks for being part of the community!

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  21. I've used Panaracer Paselas in the past, but had no idea they came in cream (nor again, had I ever considered cream as an option) so when I saw on your blog that you could get Panaracer Paselas in cream, and I saw how nice they looked, I was sold and very swiftly looked up my favourite bike shop and ordered a pair in.

    I've used Panaracer Paselas in the past and rate then VERY highly.

    I am very excited to see them on the new bike when it is finished

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  22. They didn't come in cream, until last summer. Just in time for my 700C vintage roadbike acquisitions : )

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  23. Yet more congratulations, Velouria!!!

    Your dream of the Taiwanese producing an unlimited number of Raleigh Sports has a parallel in another field... Violin makers (and violinists!) have dreamed that modern technology could analyse Stradivari instruments and then mass produce them. Yes: every young violin student could have a Strad.

    The research and liturature on this topic is vast, and attempts have been made in this direction. But the instruments that result from this research (and there are scientists who are also professional violin makers...) have been somewhat disapointing. Something is always slightly amiss.

    On the other hand, I once had the honor of "test driving" a Strad copy for an afternoon once some years ago in Florence. It was a copy of the famous "Tenori Toscana" the monumental viola with the 48 cm body that sets in a musuem only a few blocks away. The maker was no scientist, but a good violin maker. It took him over two years of thinking and fitting and cutting before he was satified that it was about right. It was as close to getting my paws on a real Strad as I'll ever get. Without really doing anything but "just playing", I got that rich, wide room-filling tone, something between a normal viola and a cello, that cream colored sound. It was just what that instrument did, what it sounded like. I had to give it back to it's maker in a couple of hours: I haven't made enough money in any 5-year period of my life to buy it.

    In comparisome, the "scientifically" made Strad copies are strong, powerful instruments that I think might be good solo instruments, but there is SOMETHING stiff, SOMETHING impersonal about them.

    Raleigh Sports were mass produced to be sure. But not at the level of mass production today. There was still a hint, enough of a hint, of handicraft in them. They are individuals. I suspect the dreamed-of unlimited Raleighs would be a bit stiff and not really individuals, not really Raleighs.

    I suppose we could live with that, but think of what a marketing disaster they would be. Maybe most people who bought one would never want another bicycle ever again...

    THAT is the real reason it has not been done. I think we have to stick to hand-made versions. They're most likely better.

    Leo

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  24. Leo said...
    "Raleigh Sports were mass produced to be sure. But not at the level of mass production today. There was still a hint, enough of a hint, of handicraft in them..."


    The way I understand it (and I could be wrong), that is not so, and if we are talking about modern lugged steel factory production vs the production in Raleigh's factory of old, then the practices were equivalent. I know that quite a few of my readers have elaborate knowledge of Raleigh history, so would love for someone to elaborate on this.

    But when it comes to handmade vs "scientifically researched and produced" objects, I completely agree with you.

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  25. I suspect the reason we don't see Raleigh reproductions being turned out by Taiwanese manufacturers is that, first of all, the Raleigh bikes weren't that awesome to begin with -- despite the nostalgia many of us, myself included, feel for that era -- and, also, there is a correct perception that the market for these bikes would not justify their cheap recreation. The bike market has moved on; "good" bikes have gotten far better, and there are many more decent bikes being manufactured. The lugged frames you so prize are not, really, all that much better than TiG welded, except to the aficionado who, after all, can afford to spend much more. So there are perfectly decent bikes being made by any number of manufacturers at a price, adjusted for inflation, similar to the Raleigh Sport -- but which outperform that bike by objective standards.

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  26. Happy 2nd birhtday Lovely Bicycle.

    You are truly an inspiration for those around you, always spreading your wealth of information and sparking up stimulating discussions of all things velo.

    I too have learned a great deal from you and others on this great blog, and yesterday did my first 50 miler, successfully.

    Down south, Spring is here. Again, Happy Birthday and Thank you!

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  27. In the early 1950s - its peak - I believe the Raleigh factory was turning out something like 20,000 frames a week; not much time for hand-crafting I am afraid.

    It was already, even then, a long, long way from the half-dozen frames a week handcrafted by the fledging maker in the mid 1880s.

    That said, I think there was a better ethic in the workforce as regards quality than would be found in a similar sized factory today. It was a different world then, with different standards.

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  28. Jon Webb said...
    "...Raleigh bikes weren't that awesome to begin with -- despite the nostalgia many of us, myself included, feel for that era"


    Blasphemy and betrayal!

    But seriously, what exactly is not awesome about them? I can't even tell you how many women have written me that they find the Raleigh Lady's Sports more comfortable (and faster, and better on hills) than any modern upright commuter bike they have tried.

    I don't mean that the modern manufacturer should emulate the steel rims and hi-ten frame, I am talking about mainly the geometry. Raleigh Sports geometry in good cromoly with modern components. If they want to make it TIG welded fine, but lugged of course would be nicer.

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  29. Hooray! If everyone was as thoughtful and modest as you we would not need bicycles!

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  30. Roff said...
    "In the early 1950s - its peak - I believe the Raleigh factory was turning out something like 20,000 frames a week"


    Thanks, that's what I thought I remembered.

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  31. Is it fair to compare a Raleigh to a modern box store bike!? Should you not compare it to a cheap bike of that era?
    Then why dont we get to buy cheap good bikes today, since we have far more effecient manufaturing methods today, *that* is really the question! Answer is that the economy needs to "grow" (we are told), and can only do that if the product is "just good enough" for the customer to buy it. If its any better, he will keep it and never buy again; and if its worse, he will have no confidence in the quality/usefulness and not buy. To meet the sweetspot is the trick: the product sells, them breaks after some time, and the customer comes back to get another...

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  32. Well, I think there is an element of nostalgia/fashion here. A lot depends on what you expect, and humans have adaptable enough geometry of their own that they can find themselves preferring one bike to another based on their expectations.
    I was just looking at bikesdirect2u.com. There are several "comfort" bikes with similar geometry to the Raleigh Lady's Sport -- and I am sure they weigh less, have better components, and absorb road shock better (since they have front suspension). And they cost less, adjusted for inflation.
    Now, I know you may dislike the ride on all of these bikes, and maybe your correspondents may, too, but I suspect that a side-by-side eyes-closed (difficult to do on a bike) evaluation would find that they are at least as good as the Raleigh Sport -- if not better.
    True story: years ago, when I first moved to Pittsburgh, I bought my "dream bike" of the time a Raleigh Superbe which was much too large for me. The bike store had a model on sale and I was dazzled by the opportunity to buy the bike, or at least the model, I wanted. Anyway, I rode that bike for 30 years, and adapted the geometry to suit me, and liked. I loved the lightness of the frame, the quickness of the response, etc. But the bike really didn't fit. So, my experience would suggest that we get used to things, like things based on our expectations, etc. I think something similar is going on with the Raleigh Lady's Sport.

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  33. Congratulations on sucessfully growing a lovely, engaging, thought provoking, and wide-ranging blog.
    Many happy returns! Oh, and Soupytwist!

    Your comments on the "Dark Art" of framebuilding and geometry closely parallel the hand-made guitar world, too.
    I am fortunate enough to personally know some of the current greats in that field, and a good many of them shrug their shoulders and look perplexed when you ask them "how?"

    It's entertaining discussion nonetheless, and can waste almost as much time as the Internet!

    "Raleigh Sports geometry in good cromoly with modern components. If they want to make it TIG welded fine, but lugged of course would be nicer."

    This might well be a world beater. I wonder what the new Taiwan-made TiG-welded 3 speeds from Bikes Direct are taking their geometry cues from?

    Corey K

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  34. Axel said...
    "Is it fair to compare a Raleigh to a modern box store bike!? Should you not compare it to a cheap bike of that era?"


    Not comparing it to box store bikes, but to "nice" but mass produced bikes you are likely to find in a bike shop today in the $400 - $1,000 range.

    Jon Webb said...
    "I was just looking at bikesdirect2u.com. There are several "comfort" bikes with similar geometry to the Raleigh Lady's Sport -- and I am sure they weigh less, have better components, and absorb road shock better (since they have front suspension)."


    Not sure how to reply to this. Have you tried any of these bikes? If not, I don't think that this is a useful dialog. My experience with a 'comfort bike' ended with a hospital visit and 3 weeks off the bike due to knee damage, and this is apparently a fairly common complaint. These bikes do not have the same geometry as the Raleigh Lady's Sports did; no modern bike does as far as I know.

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  35. Corey K said...
    "I wonder what the new Taiwan-made TiG-welded 3 speeds from Bikes Direct are taking their geometry cues from?"


    I'd venture to say from Public bikes; the bikes look very similar to me including the rear rack.

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  36. Well I have a lot of respect for you and your blog, and especially your ability to turn your skills into what seems like a pretty near ideal job (getting to talk about and design bikes on a daily basis) I just can't accept that comfort bikes are commonly sending people to the hospital with knee problems. They work perfectly well and people are happy with them. It's just silly to think hospitalization is a common result of their use.

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  37. Jon, we don't have to agree on everything, or even on anything; that does not offend or upset me in the least. But what I meant to express was, that I am confused about how you can advocate a bicycle that you have not tried and suggest that this bicycle is superior in comfort to another.

    Knee pain or damage is indeed a commonly reported problem with these bikes. I did not write that I was hospitalised. "Visit" usually mean's an outpatient doctor's visit or ER visit, when you find out what's wrong, get advice for how to treat it, and go home.

    One of the most typical emails I get from female readers is that their 'comfort' bike is uncomfortable. I have not received a single email about someone's vintage Raleigh Lady's Sports being uncomfortable, and lots of my readers own one. Make what you will of that.

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  38. Regarding levitation, please enlighten your readers.
    Is it the same technology that keeps those fast trains elevated?
    Perhaps insoles made from magic carpet remnants?
    I can't remember the precise date that I first stumbled upon Lovely Bicycle! -- it was some time last spring. Thanks for your insightful, witty, opinionated and consistently entertaining observations on bikes.

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  39. Velouria,

    Congratulations on your two years of Lovely Bicycle! I have been reading your blog since the begining [not sure how I found it?], when you were test riding those green 3 speed rental bikes.

    I see a challange here :)

    Let me find a Raleigh Sports or have someone send me a frame set to measure and make a modern version to test out. I will want to find a 21" diamond frame and fork with headset, built around the 26 x 1 3/8" tire [most common Raleigh size that people seem to love so much].

    Once I get the frame set I will document the process, build the bike, test it out a bit and then hand over to you to test.

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  40. Mike - That should be very interesting. Diamond frame, not step-through?

    MTCyclist - The levitation is a side-effect of overexcitement : )

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  41. Well, switching to a new type of bike might cause knee problems. You are using your muscles differently, sitting differently, etc.
    I have ridden on comfort bikes (and one of my sons rode from DC to here on one, and did better than me on my oversized Raleigh) without problems. I think quite a bit of it is just getting used to a certain kind of ride, adjusting to it, getting the bike fitted properly, and so on. And I am not surprised that people new to bicycling would find themselves uncomfortable after riding a comfort bike -- it's called exercise. It does hurt some at first, but after a while you feel better.
    The name "comfort bicycle" is intentionally misleading. It's intended to sell bikes, but people get on them and say, whoa, I'm not comfortable! Something must be wrong with the bike!
    I know people who have gotten used to riding a diamond frame who, on switching to a comfort bike, react with: this is kind of nice. I wouldn't want to be them on a long ride, but I can understand the reaction for running about town. Front suspension is kind of nice on Pittsburgh's pothole-filled streets.
    As a counterexample, closer to home, what about your hubby with his 50-pound ride? I would find that unbelievably awful. Does that mean his Pashley has a design defect? Surely not!

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  42. A diamond frame is easier for me to measure. I will take the frame with fork and headset installed. Set bare axles in the hubs, mounted to V-Blocks and place on my ground surface plate. Then use my digital protractor to find the exact angles. First I will level the protractor and the surface plate and set on seat tube and head tube. To double check I will level the protractor on the top tube.

    Plus when the test is done I can keep the bike for myself ;)

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  43. "switching to a new type of bike might cause knee problems. You are using your muscles differently, sitting differently"

    I was riding the bike regularly April-June 2009. At first it felt comfortable, especially on short rides. But the more I rode and the faster I attempted to go (and by faster I mean exceeding 10mph), the more painful and problematic it felt.

    Clever cycles has a post about this from a few years back and an old post of mine as well..

    "what about your hubby with his 50-pound ride?"

    It would not be the right bike for me, since I cannot comfortably lift it off the ground. 50lb would be okay in itself, but he's got so much stuff in his bags at all times that it's probably close to 60lb loaded. My Gazelle, on the other hand, is liftable and its cushy 28" tires handle potholes just as well as suspension without the loss of control caused by the bouncing.

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  44. Mike - Makes sense. I will ask the guys at OldRoads if they have one they could lend.

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  45. Sounds good. Just tell them that frame and fork need to be in good condition [not bent in at the fork and down tube etc...].

    I will be taking a look at one tomorrow at Harris Cyclery and I might be able to keep it for awhile.

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  46. I agree that comfort bikes don't have the same geometry as the Raleigh Sport. But they are similar, which is what I said.
    I can see that pushing yourself up to 10 mph for long distances on a comfort bike might lead to discomfort. It's true that that is not what they are intended for. They are bikes for the trip to the cafe, not for a long ride on a trail.
    Your original point was, of course, that nobody makes a bike like the old Raleigh Sport. You asked what was not excellent about it -- well, it was heavy, had a crappy Sturmey-Archer shifter with limited range, steel rims, second-rate components even for the time, etc. I know Sturmey-Archer has gotten better, and a modern bike with the same geometry would be lighter, work better, etc. But that's not the same as the old Raleigh Sport, it's a different bike.

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  47. I agree; I did not mean identical bike, but identical geometry. I am not nostalgic for steel rims and inability to brake in the rain.

    Interesting that you consider over 10mph to be pushing yourself, and just shows that we all have different criteria - different comfort levels that we develop. Unless I am forced to slow down for traffic, I like to go 12-17mph for transportation; that is a speed that feels safe and comfortable on Boston and Vienna roads. So I do need a bike that accommodates that. On my Gazelle, Bella Ciao, Raleigh DL-1, Austrian Waffenrad, and formerly owned 3-speed Lady's Sports, this was not a problem at all; it is not effortful to attain those speeds and the bikes were clearly designed for them.

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  48. ANT Mike--cool of you to do this. Aside from copying the geo, is your intent to replicate the ride of the Raleigh with lighter tubing or modernize/stiffen it?

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  49. My intent is to copy the geometry of the Raleigh Sports, that is based on the 26 x 1 3/8" tire and use modern tubes. My intent is not to try and make the new bike stiffer, but just to compare new to old. And to see what is so special about that perticular model of Raliegh that is so well loved and sought after.

    Maybe what is so great about the Raleigh Sports IS that it is made of soft, weak, heavy tubing and was pumped out at 20,000 bikes a week. One thing that I love about these old Raleigh's is to show that shoddy workmenship is just fine for a bike to last for 30 years and be loved. I see these Raleigh bikes with huge gaps in the lugs without brazing material with straight tube pushed into the bottom braket shell [not notched like a handmade bike] and they are just fine.

    I have to point out that I only know of one bike imported to the US that still uses the 26 x 1 3/8" tire is the Pashley bike. To compare any other bike [hybrid, 700c, 27", 28" and such] with any other wheel size is not a fair comparision.

    I have decided to find a complete Raleigh Sports in my size to copy and also have a side by side comparison.

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  50. Mike - I believe some Velorbis models also use that wheel size.

    What you're describing sounds like a fantastic project, very exciting!

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  51. Mike, Awe. Some. I'm sending you some plumbing pipes and string; please do your best to replicate the magic ride. COD.

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  52. Velouria said...

    I was riding the bike regularly April-June 2009. At first it felt comfortable, especially on short rides. But the more I rode and the faster I attempted to go (and by faster I mean exceeding 10mph), the more painful and problematic it felt.

    This matches my experience almost exactly. Different dates, different comfort bike, different terrain. Same problem.

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  53. Happy second birthday Lovely Bicycle!. It's been a real joy reading your posts - a voyage of discovery into territory where only two wheels are needed or wanted.

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  54. Thank you Velouria for your wonderful blog, and happy 2nd birthday! You are my first and favorite read of each day. Seeing all the beautiful bikes you write about is a great joy. Of course, you haven't helped my wallet very much, but I'd be reading Susie Orman if I was interested in that!

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  55. Velouria, I just want to say thank you for your lovely and well written blog and congratulate you on its 2nd anniversary.
    You always bring useful and interesting topics to discussion that I felt have helped me learning more about (lovely) bicycles.

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  56. Ground Round Jim - Don't pretend you don't want one : )

    THANK you everybody again for the encouragement and the good wishes!

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  57. Hey, you forget I disowned the snide comment from the other post! I don't do snide. Frank, opinionated yes, but I can back it up.

    You get me wrong--I would sincerely love for Mike to build me a Raleigh Sports-type bike. I have an IF, so getting one would be like a full circle bike evolution-wise.

    Except Mike's Raleigh would rock.

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  58. Oh! What kind of IF? I would like to visit them once they complete the move to Newmarket, NH; I love that area.

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  59. It's a Ti Crown Jewel and it rocks my effin world.

    Big hullabaloo over the move and chatter about its "lost soul". The Somerville IFs have an urban legend status about them.

    So, so happy to have mine.

    P.S. Once you visit and ride one your world will be rocked too.

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  60. I have seen the bikes in person. They are fascinating and distinct, and I respect the style. But not for me. Granted I haven't ridden one...

    The NH location is so unique, eerie, wonderful and full of personal meaning for me, that I find it hard to think of the move in a negative light. But I do understand the history behind the nervous negativity that surrounds the move.

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  61. BTW, I spent last night stripping bikes for recycling at a bike cooperative, and most of the bikes we were taking apart were still perfectly functional, after years and years of neglect, even though none of them were great bikes to begin with. Ashtabula cranks, heavy welded frames, brands like Sears, Huffy, etc. But they were still ridable, with a little bit of work. (And, BTW, some of the ladies bikes seemed to be pretty close to the Raleigh Sports in geometry -- at least to my eye).
    Bikes hold up quite well even without much care, and it's not surprising at all that people would still like and ride a classic bike like the Raleigh Sport. But I think that has more to do with fashion and nostalgia than function. I've never heard of anyone looking to restore and ride an old Huffy frame.

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  62. Congrats on your two year birthday! I look forward to a bright future filled with an endless supply of Lovely Bicycle content. :)

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  63. Congrats! I never would have thought I'd read a cycling blog so regularly. Everything is well thought out and so well- said that I actually think I can make some informed decisions about bike buying. Maybe even (gasp) do some work on them myself. I haven't yet been intimidated by "industry jargon," though I can't count how many times I copy and paste brand names and phrases into Google just to know what the heck you're talking about. :)

    Especially appreciated your advice on restoring a Raleigh sport for a more affordable, comfortable bike. I've been on the look out for one.

    Honestly, when I stumbled onto your blog I was just looking for a crocheted bike skirt pattern for fun and had never even considered if I was comfortable on my bikes- a Trek and Jon's old restored Huffy :) - I just sucked it up. I also didn't ride all that much. Hmmm.

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