I live in the couny of Wiltshire in the southwest of England, and I have to confess that I'm not really a biker..!
Yeah, I know... but there is a reason for me joining up. My neighbour died a few months back, and when his son was clearing out his garage, I spotted an old and rather tatty black bike tucked away in the back amongst all the gardening tools. To cut a long story short it was given to me, and so I'm now the owner of a Rudge Sports 3-speed of around 1949 vintage. I must clean all the grime off the Sturmey hub and see what it says, but it's definitely from the Raleigh ownership period.
It needs a new saddle and tyres for sure, but everything else just seems to need a good clean and refurb. There's rust on the frame and rims, but it appears to be only on the surface (solid bikes these!). The 'Rudge Sports' transfers are still quite legible on both sides of the frame, so the rust will be removed with a fine polishing compound and then waxed, rather than getting stripped and sprayed. I work in museums, and have been a professional ceramics and glass restorer in the past - and nowadays I like playing with old film cameras and bringing them back to life, so it will surprise no-one that I fully endorse the sentiment I read on another cycling website that said "It's only original once". How true. It will get the best treatment I can give it, and that is conservation rather than restoration. Unfortunately, it's a bit small for me so by keeping it as original as possible will give it a higher value when I come to sell it, despite it not being as shiny as it would be with a respray! Mind you, these bikes aren't exactly rare, so it's hardly likely to fund my retirement - but maybe another, even older, bike in need of TLC..!
I expect there's a way to post photos on this forum, so I'll put up some before and afters when/if it turns out OK.
Regards to all