Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Glastonbury, CT
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Finished: 1948 Raleigh Dawn Tourist resto
I bought this bike back in June and have spent the last few months reconditioning the bike. Thank you to everyone on this board who responded with helpful advice; you made this project move forward much more easily than I could have done by myself.
I did a complete tear-down on this bike, removing and polishing every nut and every bolt. I found huge holes in the bottom of the frame near the chain stay. I determined this had been caused by the previous owner using a 30's Miller kickstand, apparently off an old Schwinn. The bracket for the kickstand fit perfectly into the holes. I had them TIG welded at a local shop and found an appropriate Raleigh kickstand to replace the Miller.
I rebuilt the bottom bracket, the headset, the Sturmey hub, the front hub, and the pedals with new bearings. I put on new tires, tubes, grips, and a frame pump. I had to put on a new seat, because the original was not rideable as it started to rip. It had the original owner's initials, JWE, carved into it, so I wrapped it carefully and saved it for when/if I pass the bike along to the next caretaker. Other than that, the bike is original. On advice from a member here, I kept the old Sturmey shifter cable; it's a little frayed, but has much character.
One of the more interesting things I found is that while the front rod brakes are chrome, the rear brakes are blacked out. I read somewhere that chromium was a critical war material so war-era bikes came completely blacked out. The serial number on this bike dates it to 1948, but I guess they still had some blacked out parts that needed to be used up.
I converted the lamp to LED. As it was missing all the internal parts anyway I felt that was not destroying any value in the lamp as it essentially was just a shell. I've been riding the bike quite a bit and last night came home from town around 9:30; it was very nice to have the roadway lit up in modern fashion whilst riding a piece of history. My wife and I are going riding on the Farmington Valley Greenway today, and I think I'll take this bike; it's a lot of fun and certainly turns heads.