I'm having a bit of a clear out in the shed to make room for my new folding shopper. Well, I say new - she's only new to me, via Ebay!
I've been wanting to get a sit-up and beg type bike for ages, to try and reduce the wear and tear on my wrists from the touring bike I normally ride and also to have an option that I can ride in normal clothes, coats, hats etc.
But the shortage of space in the shed and the thought of carrying a large Pashley-type bike up all the stairs made me decide against it...until I happened upon this little beauty, that is!
This is a 1970s Raleigh 20, so-called because of its 20" wheels which are larger than those on a lot of folding bikes. It's called a 'Stowaway' but is only nominally a folding bike; it goes in half and the handlebars can be easily skewed but it doesn't go as small as a Brompton or something like that.
I've already adjusted the seat (a new gel seat, not the solid original thankfully, although I have still got that if I want to really go retro - ouch!) and the handlebars and have taken it for a spin round the block.
It's really nice to ride although I found it was pulling ever so slightly to one side - it could be that the headset needs cleaning/replacing - and the gears definitely need adjusting as it only seems to have one speed at the moment! It has a 3-speed Sturmey Archer hub but instead of the usual thumb-lever to change gears, it has an unusual grip-shifter. I didn't even know they had been invented then, I thought they were a modern thing!
I'm going to do a bit more cleaning of the chrome (probably trying this tutorial I found on a very interesting site), have a go at adjusting the gears, and kit it up with lights, bell, pump, tools etc. I found an excellent site with lots of videos about bike maintenance, although this will be more useful for my other bike than the old shopper! I also got some new panniers for christmas that I might try on the bike - they are flowery and green so will go very well in terms of style, but I'm not sure if they are too long for the wheel size.
There will also be a basket on the front of course, although I might adapt the wire one I've got. I'm not sure wicker is the style for a 70s shopper. If I can get a tartan bag for the back, the look will be complete!
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