I hope this is the right forum to post this:
I just don't know...is there any way to make a 1976 Raleigh Tourist with rod brakes stop in the rain? I've considered disk brakes, drum brakes, etc. How can I make this bike stop with a rod-brake system? Rubber on steel just doesn't work. And I've looked for a rubber/leather brake pad that fits my bike.... If you say, "buy a new bike," just stop...stop right now. I've had this bike since I was 8. She's not going anywhere. I'm going to ride her till she quits.
That said. I have considered (especially with tax refund) getting a bike (I work at costco, so it's probably a schwinn with fenders and a rack and such) so I can remove the derailleur and add a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed to it.
The reason I want to keep the Raleigh: a) IT'S HUGE!!!!! My feet don't get tangled in the front wheel when I ride. This thing is at least 6'-4" long with lots of play in the leg-room. I'm a 5'-10" woman with size 11 feet. I ride on the balls of my feet; as learned when riding horses. When I've ridden sister's bike, feet rub the front wheel on turns. DON'T LIKE THIS AT ALL b) My uncle bought it in my birth year. c) I inhereted the bike when I was waaaaaay too small for her. Not sure if I was the one it was intended for, but sister and cousins had no interest when she came out of storage at the grandparents' house. d) I've had a lot of time to learn about what she is, how she was made and how she works. e) The Titanic (my name for her, she will sink; it's a mathematical certaincy) soars when I open her up (I just can't stop her - like an 18-wheeler or a train, it takes time).
The reason for dissing the Raleigh: a) takes lots of time and excellent driving with lots of awareness to come to a safe stop. Meaning, no emergencies allowed. b) can't get rims/tires/tubes/brakes without lots of research. c) you need those things to ride a bike to work everyday.
I've thought of stripping everything to make the bike I need, but she won't be the bike I want. My dream is to keep the aesthetics while making her road-safe. Can I do disks or drums while keeping the rod-brake-system? Can I do it on a budget? I'd like to keep my 28-1/2" tires (I pre-purchased replacement parts). Does this exclude me from any modification that can be made? I don't want to weld things or change the frame (shocking as it is - broken wrists, ass and all).
Can it be done? I wish I knew more about bikes, I just know every centimeter of the Raleigh (yeah, I'm in Chicago, but she was made in England - need the metric system for her. Or just a really reliable adjustable wrench, LOL!).
Please! Please...please... I implore the gods of the Alt Bike Culture to help me figure this out.