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  1. #1
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    Fifty Year Old Bikes

    Over in the "Over Fifty" Forum there is a thread on "the oldest bike you ride on a regular basis". To my surprise, there were folks riding bikes that are fifty years old, or whose owner was preparing for regular rides.

    Awhile back, "Classic and Vintage" had a thread where people talked about bikes they ride every day that are ten or twenty or thirty years old. But, I don't recall anyone saying that he rides a bike from 1950 or 1960 on a regular basis.

    So, is there any member in "Classic and Vintage" who has a bike made before 1960 that he still rides on a regular basis? If so, I hope you will tell us about your bike, how much of it is still "original", and maybe post some photos.

  2. #2
    Big Doofus mstrpete's Avatar
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    This is the oldest bike we own, and it's my wife's regular ride, but I don't know exactly how old it is:

    It's an AMF Roadmaster, with a Cleveland Welding badge. Pedals are from a '71 Schwinn Collegiate frame, and the handlebar is from our "garden art" Huffy.

  3. #3
    Senior Gumby fbagatelleblack's Avatar
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    Do you subscribe to the magazine "Bicycle Quarterly?"

    http://www.vintagebicyclepress.com/vbqindex.html

    Some might argue that the editor feels anything YOUNGER than 50 years is not really worth riding.

    - FBB

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    I'm planning on a ride this afternoon, but can't quite decide between my early 1950s Raleigh Record Ace or my 1949 Raleigh Clubman. A couple of days ago, my ride was on my 1948 Claud Butler, and another regular rider is my 1960 Capo (oops, that's one's only 47 years old!).

    Neal

  5. #5
    iab
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    I did a thread about combined age (rider + bike). Rules were the bike must be a rider (no wall art). Sheldon was the winner at 151. An irrelevant thread about the oldest combined age

    I don't know the exact date, but my bike was built anywhere from 1955-1960. I ride it 2-3 times a week. Pictures here. My Cinelli... is finished. 56K warning

    I am also looking for a pre-war Frejus, which would be about 70 years old to ride. Let me know if you see one.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    I wonder if the old bike I rode 50 years ago is still around? Anybody else get a used bike from Santa?

  7. #7
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    My Wife's Hercules Skyliner that we acquired from Pastor Bob is over 50 years old...we just don't know how much over 50 It isn't a daily rider...yet, but I suspect once I get it back together she will be riding it at least once a week.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  8. #8
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    My 1955 Corvette is on this forum too...

    My 1955 Corvette was pretty much original when I bought it from Tolfan for $10 (except consumables). I will replace the spokes and rims. May replace the stem and fork (of course bearings etc too). Cables tires and tubes are new. I may mount a banana seat and ramshorn bar. So, all that will really be original will be bars, hubs, frame, chain guard and crank.
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

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  9. #9
    Title-Les
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    My oldest literally-daily rider is a 1967 bike of unknown American build Raleigh emulator-but-not-a-clone which was sold under the HOLIDAY STORES gas station brand name. It's a S/A 3-spdr. My oldest once-a-week rider is a 1947 Raleigh Sport with _matching dates_ Dyno front and SW rear hubs. I was built in 1941-42.
    alf

  10. #10
    Upright bars SirMike1983's Avatar
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    '37 Schwinn Henderson. It needs a bit of work but can be ridden on short, local rides. I don't trust the brakes enough to go very far, since the terrain has a few hills here and there. Older doesn't automatically mean "better", but many of these older bicycles show some quality workmanship. Many have lasted all these years on the road for a reason- good care and quality production.
    English Roadsters, American Roadsters, and Balloon Tire Bicycles
    The Bike Shed classic bicycle blog: http://bikeshedva.blogspot.com/

  11. #11
    Sister Annie Sianelle's Avatar
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    My everyday ride is an original condition 1953 Hercules ladies roadster.....



    The photo shows my Hercules in the condition in which I found her. All I've done since is keep her cleaned, lubed and serviced and she's a joy to ride
    OMNIPOTENS aeterne Deus, qui nos secundum imaginem Tuam plasmasti, et omnia bona, vera, pulchra, praesertim in divina persona Unigeniti Filii Tui Domini nostri Iesu Christi, quaerere iussisti, praesta quaesumus ut, per intercessionem Sancti Isidori, Episcopi et Doctoris, in peregrinationibus per interrete factis et manus oculosque ad quae Tibi sunt placita intendamus et omnes quos convenimus cum caritate ac patientia accipiamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

  12. #12
    meandering nomad
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    Sorry for no photos (gf lost camera charger) my new daily rider is a 1954 Raleigh Sports all original except handgrips and fulcrum pulley. this bike has the full chaincase all there. our combined age is 103.
    Safety Nanny Checklist
    1.Two headlights major brand 100+ Lumens plus helmet light2.Two tail-lights at minimum but really you need more3.Mirrors on helmet, handlebar and back of glove.4. Reflective vest and tape on every surface5.Disc and caliper brakes just in case6.Horn, bell and train whistle7.Chicken Little’s Phone# 8.Wear a helmet at all times (you might fall out of bed)Because it's scary out there!

  13. #13
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sianelle View Post
    My everyday ride is an original condition 1953 Hercules ladies roadster.....



    The photo shows my Hercules in the condition in which I found her. All I've done since is keep her cleaned, lubed and serviced and she's a joy to ride
    Sianelle,
    Do you have any better pictures of that bike? We have a Hercules Skyliner from that general period and would like to cross check some details. The Skyliner is a single speed freewheel ladies frame with rod brakes. We have been unable to pin down the date. Most of the clues point to the 50's.

    Aaron

    Here is picture right after it was rescued by Pastor Bob:
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
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    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  14. #14
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    I rode this one to and from the church every day until someone stole the bars, stem, saddle and tires. Actually it came from the same place that I found wahoonc's Hercules. The best estimates of it's age say that it is from 1888-1892. A very early safety with rims for the earliest pnuematic tires. Can you imagine why someone would have left it at the town dump? I can't.
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  15. #15
    juneeaa memba!
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    Quote Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
    I rode this one to and from the church every day until someone stole the bars, stem, saddle and tires. Actually it came from the same place that I found wahoonc's Hercules. The best estimates of it's age say that it is from 1888-1892. A very early safety with rims for the earliest pnuematic tires. Can you imagine why someone would have left it at the town dump? I can't.


    Clearly, because it is missing the tires, the handlebars, the seat, and the removable top tube. You could have the last remade. The tires may be problematic. this is a project that, if it fully consumes you, willl ultimately save you a lot of money because you won't be pursuing those no Record campy hubs for your /67 whatever. Good luck and keep us all posted...I recommend Jack at franklin frames for the paint and box lining/pin striping, whatever you decide you need.

  16. #16
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luker View Post
    Clearly, because it is missing the tires, the handlebars, the seat, and the removable top tube. You could have the last remade. The tires may be problematic. this is a project that, if it fully consumes you, willl ultimately save you a lot of money because you won't be pursuing those no Record campy hubs for your /67 whatever. Good luck and keep us all posted...I recommend Jack at franklin frames for the paint and box lining/pin striping, whatever you decide you need.
    I'm not doing a thing to it. It will probably go to Copake Auction for their annual Antique Bike sale next spring. They and others have suggested not even cleaning the excess dirt off of it.
    Bob
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  17. #17
    shaken, not stirred. gnome's Avatar
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    c1930s Racing bike

    Quote Originally Posted by alanbikehouston View Post
    So, is there any member in "Classic and Vintage" who has a bike made before 1960 that he still rides on a regular basis? If so, I hope you will tell us about your bike, how much of it is still "original", and maybe post some photos.
    I go for short rides on a c1930s fixed gear racing bike. I have since added quil pedals and toe clips since the photo was taken. It has had a long and somewhat hard life and the rear wheel needs replacing and the front chainring works loose on the spider after about 10kms. I also have a 1956 Humber Sports with AG three-speed dynohub and full chaincase that I ride occasionally. The humber is just about to get a FG four-speed dynohub and has recieved a reproduction sprung leather saddle.
    Attached Images Attached Images
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  18. #18
    Sister Annie Sianelle's Avatar
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    I'm not doing a thing to it. It will probably go to Copake Auction for their annual Antique Bike sale next spring. They and others have suggested not even cleaning the excess dirt off of it.
    Yes, - if it took a 100 years to get like that why mess with success

    Seriously though I'm always dead keen to get hold of a bike that's complete with dirt and cobwebs rather than one that the previous owner has 'tidied up a bit'. As a case in point I was recently able to obtain a 1950s English 'Wearwell' Club Racer in as-pulled-out-of-the-shed condition. It was only after I was able to spend sometime carefully cleaning my way down through the layers of dirt and light surface rust that I discovered such delights as the original owner's name painted on the frame downtube as well as the faded 'Club' transfer/decal that'd been completely invisible before I started to clean away the dirt. An old bike is almost like an archeological dig in some ways and it's very easy to wipe away history forever if you're not careful.

    Moving onto the mysteries of Hercules bicycles, - sorry I haven't taken anymore pictures of my '53 Hercules, but as to her 'spec' she is completely un-messed with and while her original paintwork and transfers are pretty tatty I'm just glad that nobody has attempted to freshen-her-up with housepaint and a 3 inch brush.
    The frame is of the 'C' tube heavyweight roadster variety which is different to the 'Skyliner' in the picture (Wot an unusual name; - never heard of one of those before). Though I will say that I do own another ladies Hercules that does share the same distinctive frame, but it doesn't have roller lever brakes and Westwood rims and uses caliper brakes instead.
    My roadster has a SA 3 speed hub with drum brake; roller lever brakes on the front; 28inch Westwood wheels; 'Wrights' saddle; 3 'H' Chainwheel. Being postwar she doesn't have the wonderful combined 'H' and 'C' reflector on her rear mudguard , but she does have the plain wide deep section mudguards without a raised centre ridge.
    Something to look for on your Hercules frame is whether or not she has a threaded boss on the chain side frame stay to mount a fully enclosed chaincase. If she does it's a good rule of thumb that she would've been made in the first half of the 1950s period. I used to have some scans from a Hercules catalogue somewhere, - if I find them I'll post them on the forum.

    Cheers,

    Annie
    OMNIPOTENS aeterne Deus, qui nos secundum imaginem Tuam plasmasti, et omnia bona, vera, pulchra, praesertim in divina persona Unigeniti Filii Tui Domini nostri Iesu Christi, quaerere iussisti, praesta quaesumus ut, per intercessionem Sancti Isidori, Episcopi et Doctoris, in peregrinationibus per interrete factis et manus oculosque ad quae Tibi sunt placita intendamus et omnes quos convenimus cum caritate ac patientia accipiamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

  19. #19
    Sister Annie Sianelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnome View Post
    I go for short rides on a c1930s fixed gear racing bike. I have since added quil pedals and toe clips since the photo was taken. It has had a long and somewhat hard life and the rear wheel needs replacing and the front chainring works loose on the spider after about 10kms. I also have a 1956 Humber Sports with AG three-speed dynohub and full chaincase that I ride occasionally. The humber is just about to get a FG four-speed dynohub and has recieved a reproduction sprung leather saddle.
    I love your Humber I used to have one just like yours only it was red. Who was the maker of your track bike? - I know the answer to a question like that can be a mystery sometimes. I purchased an old 1930s Empire track bike recently, but I'm still awaiting its arrival.
    OMNIPOTENS aeterne Deus, qui nos secundum imaginem Tuam plasmasti, et omnia bona, vera, pulchra, praesertim in divina persona Unigeniti Filii Tui Domini nostri Iesu Christi, quaerere iussisti, praesta quaesumus ut, per intercessionem Sancti Isidori, Episcopi et Doctoris, in peregrinationibus per interrete factis et manus oculosque ad quae Tibi sunt placita intendamus et omnes quos convenimus cum caritate ac patientia accipiamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by fbagatelleblack View Post
    Do you subscribe to the magazine "Bicycle Quarterly?"

    http://www.vintagebicyclepress.com/vbqindex.html

    Some might argue that the editor feels anything YOUNGER than 50 years is not really worth riding.

    - FBB
    And I thought they just had to be French, I subscribed for a year, but the World View of the editor and primary author was not great reading.

  21. #21
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    Wow...I'm amazed. The oldest bike I've seen anyone riding around Houston was a Schwinn that seemed to be one of those "green" army issue bikes made between 1942 and 1945. People are riding bikes made in 1890?? That's gonna be the winner I suspect.

  22. #22
    shaken, not stirred. gnome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sianelle View Post
    I love your Humber I used to have one just like yours only it was red. Who was the maker of your track bike? - I know the answer to a question like that can be a mystery sometimes. I purchased an old 1930s Empire track bike recently, but I'm still awaiting its arrival.
    I have no idea of the maker of the track bike. When I got it it had the handlbars flipped, a carrier and roadster mudguards fitted. It was still on the fixed gear though. It has been repainted and has no badge or decals or distinctive markings. I did decide it was worth saving. Now to get a new 40 hole 28 x 1 3/8 Westwood pattern rim, period pedals, a new Brooks B17, a repaint, recrome the Major Taylor stem and handlebars...
    Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live. ~Mark Twain, "Taming the Bicycle"
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  23. #23
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sianelle View Post
    Moving onto the mysteries of Hercules bicycles, - sorry I haven't taken anymore pictures of my '53 Hercules, but as to her 'spec' she is completely un-messed with and while her original paintwork and transfers are pretty tatty I'm just glad that nobody has attempted to freshen-her-up with housepaint and a 3 inch brush.
    The frame is of the 'C' tube heavyweight roadster variety which is different to the 'Skyliner' in the picture (Wot an unusual name; - never heard of one of those before). Though I will say that I do own another ladies Hercules that does share the same distinctive frame, but it doesn't have roller lever brakes and Westwood rims and uses caliper brakes instead.
    My roadster has a SA 3 speed hub with drum brake; roller lever brakes on the front; 28inch Westwood wheels; 'Wrights' saddle; 3 'H' Chainwheel. Being postwar she doesn't have the wonderful combined 'H' and 'C' reflector on her rear mudguard , but she does have the plain wide deep section mudguards without a raised centre ridge.
    Something to look for on your Hercules frame is whether or not she has a threaded boss on the chain side frame stay to mount a fully enclosed chaincase. If she does it's a good rule of thumb that she would've been made in the first half of the 1950s period. I used to have some scans from a Hercules catalogue somewhere, - if I find them I'll post them on the forum.

    Cheers,

    Annie
    Annie,
    I would love to see some scans of ANY Herc catalogs. The Skyliner is also odd in that the Westwood rims are EA3 26x1-3/8" made by Dunlop. The head badge on ours is just like the one in your avatar. My best guess on age is early 50's.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  24. #24
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanbikehouston View Post
    Wow...I'm amazed. The oldest bike I've seen anyone riding around Houston was a Schwinn that seemed to be one of those "green" army issue bikes made between 1942 and 1945. People are riding bikes made in 1890?? That's gonna be the winner I suspect.
    Alan, I don't ride the bike I found at the town dump. I was just kidding. The oldest bike I ride regularly is a '62 Schwinn Continental.
    Bob
    Dreaming of Summertime in NH!

    Visit my websites:
    FreeWheelSpa.com orpastorbobnlnh.com

  25. #25
    Sister Annie Sianelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Annie,
    I would love to see some scans of ANY Herc catalogs. The Skyliner is also odd in that the Westwood rims are EA3 26x1-3/8" made by Dunlop. The head badge on ours is just like the one in your avatar. My best guess on age is early 50's.

    Aaron
    My 1947 Raleigh ladies Sports uses 26x1-3/8" Westwood rims made by Dunlop too. I think 26inch Westwoods weren't that uncommon on early postwar English bikes and were commonplace on prewar ladies bikes. I much prefer roller lever brakes anyway, properly setup they work really well and they're easy to maintain and repair.
    I'll keep looking for the catalogue scans - I'm still shockingly disorganised at the moment
    OMNIPOTENS aeterne Deus, qui nos secundum imaginem Tuam plasmasti, et omnia bona, vera, pulchra, praesertim in divina persona Unigeniti Filii Tui Domini nostri Iesu Christi, quaerere iussisti, praesta quaesumus ut, per intercessionem Sancti Isidori, Episcopi et Doctoris, in peregrinationibus per interrete factis et manus oculosque ad quae Tibi sunt placita intendamus et omnes quos convenimus cum caritate ac patientia accipiamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

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