In 1965, I was in 3rd grade, and one of my fondest memories is my older brother (my father had passed away) buying me my first "real" bike- a Sears 3speed "English Racer". While I've heard it's improper to refer to these bikes as such, that's what they were called back then and that's what we called 'em. That bike saw me through my paper route career (I maxed out at around 120 deliveries of three different newspapers) and commuting to school. Back then, if you lived within a certain radius of the school, like around a mile or so, then you were referred to as a "walker" and either walked or rode a bike to school. Around 1970, the bike was retired and replaced with a cooler "stingray" type bicycle. The stingray didn't survive, but the "english racer" has. In looking at the bike today, I'm surprised it's in such good shape. The 26 x 1 3/8 rims haven't rusted ( I think they are alloy), it has weinmann hand brakes, a brooks saddle, union pedals, and a union generator light with a headlight and tail light. The headbadge says "Sears" and in smaller print, "made in Austria". The bike is black; there are gold pin stripes on the fenders and chain guard. The frame has some decals- silver stripes and a triangular shaped patch with a curving black strip and green "pine trees" on the top tube, and a serrated white decal, trimmed in red with a "Sears" logo on the down tube. The rear fender is tipped in white paint and has a white plastic cased reflector that says "made in England". THe paint is somewhat oxidized, but other than that it's cosmetically sound with no major rust anywhere. I recently put the bike back on the road . I replaced the cables, brake shoes, tubes/tires, and repacked the bearings in the headset, bottom bracket, and wheels. The chain was cleaned, lubed and adjusted. The rear 3 speed hub has a metal flip-up cap and I put a few drops of oil in it. What a pleasure it has been to take the bike on the local rails-to-trail path. Everything works; it shifts and rides fine, it's comfortable, even the lights work! And it cost me around 70 bucks to get it road worthy again.
I recall that this was a very popular bike back then (my neighbor had a red one), but I haven't seen any around, and ebay searches have not yet turned up anything. Can anyone give me more info. on this bike? Who made it? What years? Is the hub a Sturmey-Archer clone? Does anyone else own a similar bike?
thks in advance. resurrecting old bikes, especially one that you rode as a kid, rocks!