I bought my Raleigh Clubman road racing bike in 1954 from Jim's Bike Shop in Akron, OH and paid for it - $110 - with mopney I earned mowing lawns and delivering newspapers. New, the gearing options were a three speed French Simplex derailleur or an English three speed Sturmey Archer hub. I chose the derailleur.
But almost immediatly Schwinn came out with their first ten-speed bikes. Jim, at Jim's bike Shop, had tried to get Raleigh to build ten or evern fifteen speed bikes but they refused. At 14 I was devistated. So I sent away to England for a wide range Sturmey Archer three speed hub and rigged up the derailleur to shift between two sprockets on the hub. Then I had six evenly spaced useable gears with a lower low and higher high than the Schwinn ten speeds. I rode the bike regularly sometimes as far as 100 miles with the Akron Bicycle Club and often 20 or 30 miles to visit freinds or get to lawn-mwing jobs.
I didn't ride it so regularly or hard after I had a car and went to college but I still rode it pretty regularly. In recent years I mostly ride the bike down to the boathouse every morning to row - and sometimes to go to the store or drop off a car for service. The bike and my jury-rigged six gear system have worked well for 62 years.
So last Thursday afternoon (8/18/16), as I was going down the Monroe Street hill to the boathouise, a pickup truck, coming up the hill, turned left right in front of me. I couldn't stop or turn in time to miss the truck but was able to turn a little so hit his back fender at about a 45 degree glancing angle. I got a few bruses and scrapes but demolished my front wheel, pictured at left.
Now the search is on for a replacement wheel. I don't really want a new 700mm wheel and will hold out for an original Dunlap steel 27" wheel if I can find one.
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