My Antique Raleigh Twenty Gets Media Treatment

  • 1 Aug 2015, p. W2
  • Toronto Star (Ottawa Public Library and its Press Display service)

EYE CANDY: 1978 RALEIGH TWENTY

REDEMPTION VIA KIJIJI

The vehicle: 1978 Raleigh Twenty

The owner: Chris Bradshaw, Ottawa

The story: I bought this Raleigh folding bike last summer on Kijiji, having looked for one since my first was stolen, circa 1994.

Chris Bradshaw of Sandy Hill in Ottawa with his 1978 Raleigh Twenty folding bike that he purchased on Kijiji.I pined for that bike for weeks; I walked the neighbourhood hoping it was stolen as a lark by a young person and abandoned nearby. I walked along the Rideau Canal when the National Capital Commission drains it in preparation for winter and skating, hoping it would “rise” from the depths.

The bike the thief stole was manufactured in England by Raleigh for Canadian Tire, and sold under its Supercycle brand. I had bought it new in 1972, and used it to commute to my job. It cost $80, a considerable savings over the Raleigh version at an independent bike shop.

But when I saw a Raleigh, I regretted not having the white sidewalls, frame-matching dark-brown fenders and Raleigh’s trademark on the white tail section.

When the Kijiji seller showed up with this bike I was amazed that it had the original tires, brakes, Sturmey-Archer shifter, Brooks seat, handgrips and rear carrier. I asked how much it was used and where it was stored over its life (which, from the serial numbers, showed it to have been assembled in 1978, and the hub manufactured in 1977). He shrugged, having acquired it only recently. But I knew folding and small-wheeled bikes are bought primarily for RVs and boats, and used for short-distance, in-town trips. So I didn’t even try to dicker him down from his asking, $150.

With the nice condition, I’m keeping my bike mostly stock, though I have adorned it with a vintage mirror and bell, and ride it as my neighbourhood bike, wearing a 1970s Norco helmet.

I have other bikes. They all have internal-hub gearing, which is making a comeback. I find derailleur gears awkward, as they don’t allow shifting while stopped. They become dangerous when toting other people (we had a tandem).

Bikes are infinitely “trickable.” There is no one second-guessing what you do to adapt it to your needs or desires. The world goes by at a more human pace, while you save money and get your heart and muscles working. Show us your candy: Do you have beautiful original, restored or customized wheels? Send us your words and pictures, which are especially welcome if you or yours are in them. Email wheels@thestar.ca and be sure to use “Eye Candy” in the subject line.

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