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For the love of English 3 speeds...

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For the love of English 3 speeds...

Old 01-05-22, 06:50 PM
  #25551  
2fat2fly
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I picked up a his/her's pair of 1968 Raleigh Sports bikes over the weekend.
I was after the men's bike because of the 23" frame size Both bikes were pretty clean, and had been listed on CL here for a long time.
I got the pair for $160. The ladies model is cleaner than the men's bike, but both need tires, and I spent this morning going over all the bearings and rear hubs on both bikes. Both needed nothing more than just a clean and re-lube.
Both bikes have hubs dated 5-68.
I was shocked when I went to pickup a set of tires for these. The LBS wanted $72/pr for cheap gum wall tires and told me that if he ordered them today, I'd be lucky to have them by the time the weather warmed up. Another dealer told me he'd have to charge me $30 shipping on top of the tire cost because that size is a special order,
There's no way I'm paying that kind of money for bike tires.
I went home, dug through my used tires and came up with one decent used set of older tires and put those on the men's bike.
That leaves a rather clean ladies model that needs a set of tires worth more than the bike itself is I guess.
It seems the cost of tires is going to doom the bike to the used parts bin. I'm simply not spending $60 for a pair of tires (online), for a bike that likely wont bring more than $50 on CL here. I'm better off just stripping it and hanging the spare wheelset on the wall just in case I need them one day. The same with the rest of the bike. I also am not a fan of those super narrow looking Kenda tires on Raleigh rims, they look more like 1 1/4" to me.
A few shops over in Philly have tires for $22 each, but by the time I add in a half tank of gas and tolls, they're gonna cost me even more.
The best deal I see so far is $45 for two CST tires on fleabay, but even that is too much to put into a bike that likely won't sell for much more.
The pair I bought were up there for $200 for over a year with no takers. I had been back and forth with the seller for a few months trying to get them for less. Both were likely ridable with just tires as found but I figured after 50 or so years hanging in a garage the grease and oil was likely pretty dried up.
The men's bike was in more dire need of fresh lube than the ladies bike was. Considering that the ladies bike had newer tires on it, it was likely done when ever the tires were done. The men,s bike had original block tread Raleigh Record tires. The rear was pretty near bald though. The tires on the ladies bike were cracked to the point the tubes were showing.

I had been watching a dozen or more decent looking old bikes lately on CL here and none ever sell here. CL is full of the same bikes that just sit for sale for months on end. So the chances of selling the ladies model is slim to none, with or without new tires unless I give it away.
I just can't see letting a perfect set of wheels and all that good chrome go for how cheap I'd likely have to list it to get it to sell here.
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Old 01-05-22, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by 2fat2fly View Post
I picked up a his/her's pair of 1968 Raleigh Sports bikes over the weekend.
I was after the men's bike because of the 23" frame size Both bikes were pretty clean, and had been listed on CL here for a long time.
I got the pair for $160. The ladies model is cleaner than the men's bike, but both need tires, and I spent this morning going over all the bearings and rear hubs on both bikes. Both needed nothing more than just a clean and re-lube.
What size is the ladies' frame? If it's a 23" you might find a buyer for it on here. I got one for myself for that future day when I can no longer swing a leg over a men's frame.

Sorry about your tire problems. I have not bought new tires in a long time and have been successful in the co-op's dumpster finding tires to fit a Sports, including some nice and only-slightly-worn Continentals.

Good luck!
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Old 01-06-22, 12:08 AM
  #25553  
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I keep hearing about 'Bike Co-Ops' in some areas? There's nothing of the sort in my area here.
However, when I was a kid, (long time ago), we had a bicycle, lawnmower, and motorcycle junk yard about a 1/2 mile from where we lived.
Guys would go into that place and come home with all sorts of projects. I built up an early Packard bicycle from three derelict bikes from that place, I think I spent $12, and that included two near new tires.
Plus countless minibikes, go carts, etc.
It closed down sometime in the 70's when the old guy passed away, it took them 8 years to clean it all up. Now there's a worthless strip mall there.
I had already moved away from the area by the time they closed it down, but from what I heard they went in there with bull dozers and just loaded it all up in dump trailers and hauled it away for scrap. The place has piles of bikes frames, wheels, etc. Some in buildings some outside in huge piles. I remember as a kid having to scrape together the $3 they charged for a used wheel, or $8 for a matching pair with or without tires.

I'm about 30 minutes from Philly, used bikes of any type are a tough sell here unless you give them away for pocket change. Most folks want Huffy and Murray, not Raleigh and other better brands. Most aren't old enough to remember three speeds. I see ads listing bikes from the 2000's as 'Antique' or 'Vintage' all the time. I've lived in various parts of the country over the past 45 years, and this is by far the worst area I've ever seen for bikes in general. The bike shops are few and far between, with most of them going away more than 20 years ago now.

I walked into one shop here when I first moved back here looking for a pair of 27" tires, the guy tells me he never heard of any bike that used 27" tires. I shook my head and just turned around and walked out. I walked into another shop, the guy tells me they don't stock tires, "Too many different sizes". He says he can order me anything I want. He walks over to a computer on the counter, turns the screen towards me and shows me a pair of 27" CST tires on ebay for $44 'free shipping'.. He says if I want those he can can order them for me for $88 plus tax. He then says I need to make up my mind fast because the auction ends in 12 minutes. It wasn't his item, he was going to buy them on ebay, then double the price. I asked him why on earth would I pay him $88 for a pair of tires I can buy myself on eBay for half that amount. He then tells me
"How the #&^% am I supposed to stay in business if I sell things for what i pay for them?", "If your going to just buy them online, why did you come in here and bother me?".
I told the idiot that any normal human being would think that a BICYCLE shop might just have a tires in stock to sell. I guess I was wrong. I later found out that the guy I was dealing with was the owner.
They had plenty of cheap accessories though, bike racks, saddle bags, helmets, etc. But no real parts.

I was visiting some family years ago who lived a bit off the beaten path. They had an old bike there that had a tacoed front wheel. Figuring I'd do them a favor and fix the thing, I asked where the local bike shop was. It was an old farm house with a bike shop in the basement. I pull in, the sign is pointing to a pair of outside basement steps. I go down the steps, knock on the door and walk in. The place was packed with old bikes and parts. I ask the guy if he's got spokes, he said sure, what size, I tell him I'd like 32 284mm spokes, the guy looks at me like I'm speaking greek, then gets out a spoke ruler and a square to convert 284 to Inches. He then asked me if I want new or used spokes. He wasn't sure if he had that many new one's. I then asked if he had any whole wheels, but no such luck. .. I think I ended up with 6 new spokes and a handful of used spokes but it was better than nothing. I went back, took the wheel apart, stomped the rim back into shape and re-laced the wheel. i mixed and matched the new and used spokes with some original spokes that I straightened out,
I had meant to go back to that old shop one day to see what all he had there but by the time I did it was gone, the whole place was gone, torn down to make way from some fancy new housing development.
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Old 01-06-22, 02:35 AM
  #25554  
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
What size is the ladies' frame? If it's a 23" you might find a buyer for it on here. I got one for myself for that future day when I can no longer swing a leg over a men's frame.

Sorry about your tire problems. I have not bought new tires in a long time and have been successful in the co-op's dumpster finding tires to fit a Sports, including some nice and only-slightly-worn Continentals.

Good luck!
The ladies bike is a 21".
I gave some thought to the very same thing but at 6ft 2in tall and over 330lbs, I feel much better on a man's frame.
For now I guess I'll pic the best two tires out of the four, its just a shame to go through a whole bike, cleaning, polishing, relubing, and adjusting just to put it back together with old cracked tires.
While they likely are fine to ride, I'd have preferred to put something wider on those rims. They both had what looks to be a older version of the current Kenda K40 tires. They look lost on the wider Raleigh pattern rims. Even fully inflated they look soft under my weight.
I put a pair of Michelin tires on my one bike and those are great but at $40/pr plus shipping, its not an option on a bike I'm not likely going to keep.
I still have to clean and polish the brake calipers and bars, and find it some original grips. (The former owner had stuck foam grips on it).

To me, the wheels are worth more than the whole bike. I was going to keep it around for a lady friend to use but she tells me she hates the color and doesn't want to ride an 'old lady bike'.
It would just hang in the shed and get forgotten. Surprisingly though the 21" frame sits pretty tall, but its a different riding position from the men's model.
With the seat post about 3" out of the tube, it fits me perfect.
One thought was to outfit it with a pair of saddle baskets in the rear and a butterfly stand but adding more weight won't do it any favors if I was the rider.
( I bent a Sprite 27 ladies frame a number of years ago, after a ride down a rough railroad bed I noticed the pedals seemed closer to the ground than usual. The seat post had bowed rearward where the top tube attached).

When it comes to tires, the bottom line is that they're price gouging these days. There's no way a bicycle tire should cost as much as a speed rated car tire.
Just two years ago bike tires were $12 each, now they want $40 for the same tire.
I'm surprised that no one has come out with an extra wide tire for these bikes like they have for the middleweight bikes.
The K40 tires are no wider than a 27x1 1/4" road bike tire, the 1 3/8" size is just a suggestion I guess.
I have a pair of Michelin 35-590 tires on my one bike and those are much wider than the 37-590 K40 style tires I have here.

What I really don't get is why these tires are getting harder to find, its not as though they didn't make a few million bikes that used this size tire over the years, and a quick FB or CL search will turn up dozens of them still for sale. I see quite a few 26x1 3/8" and 27x1 1/4" bikes in use and for sale yet so they're far from dead.
Even if you don't count the millions of English bikes that used 26x1 3/8" wheels, you have the many Columbia, Huffy, Ross, Rollfast, and other American brand bikes that used this size well into the 90's.
Yet finding new rims in this size is about impossible.
I really can't believe no one ever reproduced the Raleigh pattern rims for these bikes, there simply has to still be a demand for them. I'd also venture to guess that they're still in production somewhere in the world yet today.
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Old 01-06-22, 04:32 AM
  #25555  
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Here's the wheels with the tires on them, they cleaned up pretty decent, but they do have a bit of peppering on the chrome here and there. They're better than any I've had before though besides the set on the men's bike. I guess they look okay for being 54 years old.
I was surprised to see that they have little to no brake track wear. The original John Bull brake pads don't look very worn either.
The tires look wider in the pics then they do in person, the sides of the tires do not expand past the rim edges.
I have a newer Raleigh Sports that still has its original Raleigh scripted tires on it and those tires are nearly as wide as the 26x1.75 tires on my old Columbia middleweight.
These are probably the hardest tires I've ever mounted, they fought me the whole way and took almost 80 psi to get them to 'pop' up on the bead area. They were just as hard to remove from the other bike. I had to use a pair of tire pliers to get them to unseat from the rim. If I had sealed the spoke bed they'd likely work tubeless they're so tight. They still have their original threaded stem Dunlop tubes in them as well. The tires are marked Hwa Fong, which I believe is now called Duro. No idea how old they are, but by the look of the bikes, they've been sitting a LONG time. My guess is the tires are from the late 70's or early 80's.
These tires are serviceable but not ideal on these rims. A better set of tires would no doubt improve the whole bike, but if I end up selling it, it simply won't bring enough to justify new rubber. I already have far more into it in time than it'll ever be worth.


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Old 01-06-22, 08:25 AM
  #25556  
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They look great. It's worth the effort to clean up old Dunlop rims.
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Old 01-06-22, 08:31 AM
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2fat2fly There was quite an alarm raised here some months back about the "end of the 27" tire", and indeed while selection is vastly less than 700C both online and through my LBS (who is admittedly vintage friendly but he buys from the same distributors as everyone else from the same catalogs) I did some "research" there are still plenty of tires available. If you want rim protectors for little used bikes or flippers Kenda/CST are readily available in gum and blackwall for around $20 each; for better bikes the Pasela is my go to (but more expensive for sure).
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Old 01-07-22, 02:20 AM
  #25558  
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Originally Posted by markk900 View Post
2fat2fly There was quite an alarm raised here some months back about the "end of the 27" tire", and indeed while selection is vastly less than 700C both online and through my LBS (who is admittedly vintage friendly but he buys from the same distributors as everyone else from the same catalogs) I did some "research" there are still plenty of tires available. If you want rim protectors for little used bikes or flippers Kenda/CST are readily available in gum and blackwall for around $20 each; for better bikes the Pasela is my go to (but more expensive for sure).
The problem isn't availability of a particular size, its a matter of cost and the fact that local shops no longer stock parts, not even tires.
I've had dozens of people tell me the same thing around here. People bring me bikes here to fix all the time, and most have 27" or 26x1 3/8" wheels, the rest are mostly 26" mountain bikes. I can count on one hand the number of 700C bikes I've run across here.
Most newer bikes are Walmart type bikes, most older bikes are old American road bikes or three speeds. English bikes are rare here, they always were.
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Old 01-07-22, 06:33 AM
  #25559  
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Originally Posted by 2fat2fly View Post
The problem isn't availability of a particular size, its a matter of cost and the fact that local shops no longer stock parts, not even tires.
I've had dozens of people tell me the same thing around here. People bring me bikes here to fix all the time, and most have 27" or 26x1 3/8" wheels, the rest are mostly 26" mountain bikes. I can count on one hand the number of 700C bikes I've run across here.
Most newer bikes are Walmart type bikes, most older bikes are old American road bikes or three speeds. English bikes are rare here, they always were.
Well, cost may just be a fact of life: in my area the tires we are talking about (at least the Kenda/CSTs) are about as cheap a tire as you can buy for 3 or 10 speeds.....and $20 today isn't (I hate to say it) much anymore when you consider a trip to the local fast food will cost you $20 for a couple of burgers and drinks. Sure I get that the bikes may only be worth $50 but that is kind of the way it is today.

As far as stocking: my vintage friendly LBS keep a good stock of various tires on hand (he serves the BMX and MTB crowd as well as a selection of Roadies) but even he has had to order in tires for me on occasion.....it takes a little longer but the prices are equivalent to online and I am supporting a good shop. And I guess my point is every "real" bike shop I know has access to the same catalogs and should be able to bring whatever you want in at a reasonable cost.....saying "they don't make them anymore" or going on ebay is a sign of laziness and a lack of respect for the business they are in and the customers they are supposed to be serving.....I expect they won't last long.

Its funny how many regional differences there are: growing up I never saw an american bike (Schwinn/Huffy/Monkey Ward) other than Sears; but plenty of english and euro and especially Canadian brands. I know they were around but for me they were pictures in magazines. Now as an adult there are more of them but hardly the predominant brands....now I see TONS of newer MTBs and hybrids of various quality levels, and a decent number of road/gravel bikes (if newer then they tend to be higher end). There are plenty of department store bikes here but I would say an equal or greater number of "name brands"; even kids with richer parents are riding KHS or Giant or better.
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Old 01-07-22, 07:32 AM
  #25560  
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Re: tire availability and cost….Right now this is compounded by the current problem of disruptions to the supply chain. It is even difficult to tind 26 x 1 3/8 and 27 inch tires when shopping online let alone at the LBS, whether through big sources such as Amazon or individual vendors, even the big bike tire specialty online sites. Every step of the process has been has been affected: getting sufficient raw materials and manufacturing (with slowdowns due to worker shortages), shipping (for US markets most tires and made overseas), and distribution. There is a scarcity of some products which increases cost (along with significantly increased shipping costs themselves), and reduced manufacturing capacity has forced those manufacturers to focus on the items for which the demand is greatest (alas, not the 26 x 1 3/8 and 27 tires). [For the same reason, this is why certain Gatorade products—the ones more on the periphery, like Gatorade Zero—have been very difficult to find at times during the pandemic.] So, fewer brand/model options of speciality tires, fewer tires available, and significantly increased costs are largely the current norm. I only hope that as things slowly return to normal these problems will go away.
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Old 01-07-22, 04:32 PM
  #25561  
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Sadly, the world has spun very quickly the last few years and it's not to my liking....
I needed some old style glass fuses (vintage audio/cars etc) Spent 1/2 a day riding around on my bike and
came home empty handed.
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Old 01-07-22, 10:50 PM
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If $30 tires are out of the question, you may have to find a new hobby. It just is what it is and the price will not go down. My LBS ordered and 8 months later got me some 27x1 1/4 tires at $24.99ea. He apologized for the price jump but I paid. He had actually bought tires from me earlier in the year to get a customers bike back on the road. I bought the last two 27" tires at our local Walmart at $22.99 ea as well. The upside is, a bike with new tires now has more value.
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Old 01-07-22, 11:45 PM
  #25563  
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I think the whole tire price issue is a matter of local shops simply matching the prices they see on ebay. The whole sale prices didn't guy up anywhere near that much. Any shop selling Kenda or Sunlite tires for $40 each is price gouging. They can be had for far less. Local shops here jacked up their prices over the past two years, I bought two pair of 27x1 1/4" Kenda black wall tires and a pair of 26x1 3/8" S6 tires and paid $12 each, by mid 2020 they were trying to get $45 per tire. All that did for me is motivate me to find a cheaper source.I was able to buy a dozen pair of tires for not much more than the dealer wanted for one pair. Often if you buy enough or hit a price point many online retailers will ship for free.
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Old 01-08-22, 12:40 AM
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There is a pretty, almost cobalt blue, Raleigh 3 speed in very nice shape in the Charlotte NC area for just $70.
https://charlotte.craigslist.org/bik...426174470.html
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Old 01-09-22, 12:59 PM
  #25565  
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Just picked this 23” men’s Sports for relatively small money. Seems mostly original, including tires. Not sure about that tall stem, however.

Edit: rear hub dated 1970. Stem was set to right around where the slot starts. I lowered it.


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Old 01-09-22, 01:37 PM
  #25566  
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Originally Posted by gster View Post
Sadly, the world has spun very quickly the last few years and it's not to my liking....
I needed some old style glass fuses (vintage audio/cars etc) Spent 1/2 a day riding around on my bike and
came home empty handed.
What amp & length you looking for. I have a bunch in my electrical drawer.and pretty sure every vehicle I now own is blade fuses.
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Old 01-09-22, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
What amp & length you looking for. I have a bunch in my electrical drawer.and pretty sure every vehicle I now own is blade fuses.
thx..
that was a while back.
I found them and stocked up....
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Old 01-09-22, 04:19 PM
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@nlerner, that color has become one of my faves from Raleigh. Is that a Raleigh branded bell on there?
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Old 01-09-22, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
@nlerner, that color has become one of my faves from Raleigh. Is that a Raleigh branded bell on there?
Nope, something more domestic.

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Old 01-09-22, 07:22 PM
  #25570  
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I shopped there when I first moved to Toronto in the 90's. They were a lot of help with my newly inherited Raleigh Superbe, as I'd not had a 3-speed before then. Do you know when they closed?
I also would go into the shop on Bathurst, just North of Bathurst Station. Last time I visited home (2014) it was still there but the former Vietnamese(?) owners had gone and it was very trendy.

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Bloor Cycle in Toronto circa 1959

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Old 01-09-22, 09:19 PM
  #25571  
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$15 for a ladies' Phillips in MA.

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...97718854248869

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Old 01-10-22, 12:55 AM
  #25572  
oldspokes
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Nope, something more domestic.


Over the past 10 or 15 years I've found a few dozen of these bells on many English bikes, the emblem says YWS. They're a fairly large bell and quite loud.
My guess is either a local parts supplier or bike wholesaler was selling these to dealers in the 70's here. 5 out of the last 6 bikes I bought had one of these on it. Each one came from a different area.



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Old 01-10-22, 08:19 AM
  #25573  
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Originally Posted by Commando View Post
I shopped there when I first moved to Toronto in the 90's. They were a lot of help with my newly inherited Raleigh Superbe, as I'd not had a 3-speed before then. Do you know when they closed?
I also would go into the shop on Bathurst, just North of Bathurst Station. Last time I visited home (2014) it was still there but the former Vietnamese(?) owners had gone and it was very trendy.
I can't say when they shut down but they had expanded to several storefronts..
1990 seems to be the last year.

There still is a small shop on Bathurst as you mentioned.
Honest Ed's is gone, replaced by condos....
In th late 70's I worked at Honest Ed's after school....

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Old 01-10-22, 03:51 PM
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gster I reckon I kitted out my first apartment, on Palmerston Blvd, solely from Honest Ed's.
Wandering around the back alleys of The Annex and Toronto on my Superbe are some of my best memories. That bike saw constant workhorse duty the entire time I lived there. I miss my Toronto dearly.
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Old 01-10-22, 05:01 PM
  #25575  
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Originally Posted by Commando View Post
gster I miss my Toronto dearly.
Palmerston was a majestic street if there ever was one.
I miss it too but I'm never goin' back.
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