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Old 05-11-08, 09:56 PM   #1
iguanafriend
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my bike is my new car

Hi everyone,

Here is a recent history of my relationship with bikes. I moved to the city and sold my car about a year and a half ago. I had been making my way around the city using public transit and my 10 year old mt. bike. Given its monstrous size and the fact that I kind of hated it, I hesitated to put any money into maintaining it. So therefore it was less and less comfortable. For example, I lost the original pedals and the clipless I had added to it for mt. biking in college were not the best platforms for riding to work in my dress shoes. Anyway, after slipping off the pedals and catching the cross bar in a really painful way, I decided to take it in to the shop to fix up. Got some cool functional pedals and a tune up and the first time I took the bike out this spring it was stolen. *sigh* So I'm in the market for another bike and I need some advice, which is what brings me here.

My current set of wheels is a 70s raleigh 3-speed cruiser I got off of craigslist in a pinch after my bike was stolen. I love the freedom of the baskets (no more sweaty back from my bag) but the 3 speeds are not cutting it with the hills in this city. I need something FASTER.

So if you are still reading this, you must be a really nice person and if you happen to have advice for a new commuter bike, please visit the new thread I am about to create. Thanks!

Shereen
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Old 05-11-08, 10:34 PM   #2
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Welcome, Shereen! A Raleigh 3 speed, eh? Those are some really special vintage bikes - wish I had one. I can see how you might like a stronger commuter, though. There is a way to make your 3 speed more hill-friendly than it currently is, however. All you have to do is take it to a bike shop and have them put a different cog on the back. The more teeth on a rear 3 speed cog, the easier it becomes to pedal and deal with hills. My housemate has a vintage Raleigh and that's what she did. She does have a faster bike now, but she still enjoys taking the Raleigh out.

It's nice to have a back-up bike when you're car-free anyway. It's not such a pain to leave a bike in the shop overnight for repairs.
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Old 05-11-08, 10:39 PM   #3
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+1 on modifying the gearing on the 3 speed... you will lose some top end but the stock gearing on a 3 speed usually results in a very high top gear that few people use anyways.

This should be pretty inexpensive as all you need is a bigger cog and a new chain (the old one will probably not be long enough).

Finding shops that service old 3 speeds can be a little hard as a lot of the younger mechs have no clue how they work.

I ride a '78 Raleigh 3 speed and have a Phillips Twenty folder with a 3 speed and a dual drive which gives it a much better gearing range and cost much less than a modern internal gear hub.
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Old 05-11-08, 10:55 PM   #4
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I am lucky that there is a bike shop in my area that has a couple of mechanics who like to work on old raleighs. In fact, every time I go in there one in particular tries to convince me to let him rebuild the hub and do other things that I don't really understand. I usually resiste but I did get the brakes reworked because on a downhill I found that the brakes didn't stop me all the way.

I'm happy that I ended up with this bike and I think it is the ideal second bike. It is also cool how there are so many people out there who absolutely LOVE these kind of bikes. I had no idea!
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Old 05-11-08, 11:06 PM   #5
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How can you not love old English 3 speeds... I forgot to mention that I have a 1948 Rudge Whitworth that has to be the smoothest bike I have ever ridden.

On 3 speed hubs... if they are working well I see no reason to tear them apart.
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Old 05-11-08, 11:36 PM   #6
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For real. I feel so lucky to have stumbled upon my cruiser. I'm glad fate introduced us by way of my stolen mtn. bike. Three things I love about it:

*that piece of metal that keeps my pants leg from getting ripped
*the low bar that allows me to wear a straight skirt without hiking it up to my bum
*the rack and baskets that allowed me to carry my laptop, gym bag, a 2-liter of sprite, salad and a pizza last weekend

You're right that I rarely use the toughest gear. I mostly stick to the first and sometimes the second if I'm going downhill.
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Old 05-11-08, 11:39 PM   #7
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Would you be interested in a higher performance version of your Raleigh, but with more than 3 speeds?
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Old 05-12-08, 12:04 AM   #8
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What are you thinking?
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Old 05-12-08, 07:43 AM   #9
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Ermmm, could we see some photos?


Welcome to BF, and feel free to PM me with any questions !

East Hill

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