The bikes they took were Mrs. G's daily commuter, a birthday gift from me some few years ago, and my old fixed gear, a bike I'd had for longer then we'd lived together, never mind been married and had kids. What they left behind were these two old Raleigh Sports English three speed bikes. I bought this matched set of his and hers bikes years ago. Mrs. G never much cared for hers beyond aesthetic reasons. Mine saw plenty active duty [see here(yes, those are boat shoes with socks, despite my ravings here)]. When our second child came along, mine was put away as it couldn't accommodate the trailer I needed to tote both kids. Tires went flat, rust formed and dust gathered.
So, the other day I disassembled both of them, and cleaned up all the parts. Some parts were usable, others in pretty rough shape. But fortunately, between the two bikes I managed to collect enough pieces to make one.
A frame, stem and crank from the men's bike. Wheels, fenders, and almost everything else from the ladies bike. This may seem like a lot of work to some of you, but I actually enjoy these kind of projects. Besides, not only do I not have the money for any kind of new bike, thrift shopping has made me feel as though its cheating when I don't have to refurbish something just in order to use it. Call it reverse spoiling, I guess.
A little more than $40 for odds and ends at the local bike shop, and the old battle bike rides again. It's a "penny loafer" bike, in that one can actually ride it in a jacket and tie. I may even start riding it to work, since it's the only bike I've had that can be ridden in shoes.
The old leather Brooks saddle gets a rub down with some mineral oil, and it's got another life in it.
Sturmey Archer three speed mechanism gets a new cable, and it too is good as new.
Nothing like a Nottingham Raleigh. It may not be as "sexy", or garner as much "street cred", or however the kids call it, as the old fixed gear, but I'm not one of those kids anymore anyway, and this old beast is better suited to life as I live it now. So the bright side is that this wonderful thing which has suffered such awful neglect for too many years is once again alive and strong. I feel as though I accomplished something, and the Boy helped out, learning some useful bicycle maintenance in the process. I also saved a lot of money, and kept something out of the trash. People who don't buy and use old things tend not to understand the good feeling that comes with that.
Still, if I ever catch the punks who took our bikes.....
p.s. I have had a lot of emails regarding hours in the Shop. You may notice there is an icon in the sidebar with this information. They are as follows:
AN AFFORDABLE WARDROBE
249 ELM STREET, 2ND FLOOR, SOMERVILLE, Mass.
TUES. - FRI. BY APPOINTMENT.
I look forward to seeing you there sometime. I have a lot of great tweeds in stock now, with more to come as the Autumn approaches.