LisaG here, a newbie well into my middle years. A couple of years ago, my husband and I purchased new Raleigh hybrids. I hadn't been on a bike in at least 20 years. I was never happy with my Raleigh--I've got very slow reflexes (genetic--I was the clumsiest kid you ever saw) and never really felt comfortable with "all those speeds!"
Just not very coordinated, and never have been. Anyhow, during the recession times got tough, so I sold my Raleigh (hubby kept his). Well, times are getting better again, and I'd like to start riding. I did a lot of reading on the web (including here) and, given that I didn't have a ton of $ to spend, decided to go Raleigh again--but "real" Raleigh, one of the old vintage finds, and a 3-speed to deal with my innate clumsiness. Seemed like the best way to get a half-way decent bike without breaking the bank.
I managed to find a 1974 Raleigh Colt
--I'm 5'5", but I've got short legs, and always take a 17" frame. The guy who sold me the Raleigh cleaned it up, lubricated it, but didn't put new tires on. Also, there was no front brake.
The tires on the bike are not original, but they aren't new either--I see a few cracks developing, although they're still holding air. So I'll be putting new tires on. Also, I managed to find a vintage front hand brake, to augment the not-always-reliable coaster brake. The brake needs refurbished, but works.
Anyhow, that's my story . . . so now I'm very interested in vintage bike refurbishing/restoration. Also, I've always been "crafty," and I've been looking at all the DIY projects I can do for my bike--panniers, water cages, etc. I love upcycling and making things "new" again.
I've got the bike cleaned up now, and it sure is pretty, despite the dings and scratches it's acquired over the years (like wrinkles--got a few of those myself!). I haven't taken a picture of it post cleanup, but here's a shot of it before I bought it.
I'd love to hear from other "middle-aged newbies"--and anyone with an interest in vintage bikes. Also, anyone interested in DIY stuff and upcycling. So hello to all--I'm sure I'll learn a lot here!