Friday, 30 August 2013

Raleigh Chiltern (aka 'Barry the Bike) Restoration Update.

Update note: I've updated the original Raleigh Chiltern Resto post to correct some errors and add info I've subsequently collected here:

Raleigh Chiltern Resto

I've also added 'Raleigh Chiltern' to the title of any post relating to this project.

This Raleigh Chiltern is beginning to change my mind about what I actually require from the machine I use for personal transport.

I build all my 'serious' bicycles with the sole intent of efficiently converting muscle power into forward motion.
The position of the rider on the bike is critical to that efficiency and, if poorly adjusted, can be bloody uncomfortable.

Barry the Bike, in its current form, is not really an efficient machine and doesn't need to be either.
I thought I'd have a test run up to Goodwood House to time how long it would take Barry to get me there.
Raleigh Chiltern Resto leaving Canning Rd
On my Halfords Apollo Hybrid, on an average day, it takes: 49mins 38.2secs.
On The Dobson single speed cycle path rocket, on a good day, it takes: 43mins 18.2 secs.
On the Raleigh Chiltern on an Indian Summer's day under an azure sky, into a gentle headwind it takes:  54mins 20.4 secs

I didn't 'push' hard, just kept winding the gear until I reached Goodwood.
By the time I got to my destination I'd decided that riding Barry over long(ish) distances is probably not a good idea.
Raleigh Chiltern Resto at West Hampnett
The front basket, when loaded as seen above, affects the steering stability adversely, but over short distances this is not a significant problem.

I found my big bouncy Dutch Lepper Saddle surprisingly uncomfortable after while.
It's not fully 'broken-in' yet, though it's strange I never noticed any discomfort when using this saddle on other bikes.
Raleigh Chiltern Resto Lepper Saddle 02
During the ride I got the feeling that I was positioned just a little to far forward for comfort.
There's no front to back adjustment on the Lepper Saddle so I have to consider the handlebar position.
I was led to believe, as a quick rule of thumb, that if one were look down from ones normal seating position at the middle of the handlebars, the front wheel hub should be in line with the bars.
If I change my seating position to a comfortable one, I find the hub has moved backward from it's position.
I need to lift the handlebars a little to compensate for this which means another stem as the current one is on it's upper limit.
That's the next task.

Many Raleigh products have very passionate fans, the Raleigh Chopper or Raleigh 20 models for instance.
I haven't yet found a Raleigh Chiltern fan club.
This is sad as these bikes are reasonably easy to get hold, cheap to maintain and can handle more abuse than most, so called, Mountain Bikes.

I'm beginning to find the world of the generic 3 Speed Push Bike very interesting indeed.
There are many potentially collectable machines being dumped in Community Refuse Facilities that could be worth a bob or two in years to come if only as props in a BBC drama series set anywhere from the late 1950's to the 1990's.
These machines have changed very little in that period.

I keep finding myself considering performing a full restoration on Barry, but I don't think I will.
I like him the just way he is.

By way of compensation to those disappointed at not seeing me riding Barry the Bike 'Look! No hands'
here's a film I did the other day whist returning from playing my uke up on the prom:
It freaked me out when I first heard it as could't tell where the sound was coming from, but how cool is that?
Cool doesn't end there either.
Look at Barry with my Resonator Uke in the basket:
Raleigh Chiltern Resto + Resonator Ukulele

All of this bicycle tippy-tap-tapping leads me to the distressing conclusion that I am in the middle of a 'Nasty Attack of Bicycles' relapse.
As we all know, the first step on the road to recovery is admitting one has a problem.