Or as I like to do you can detach yourself from reality and plan for the purchase of a cool commuter bike for that job you don't have yet. Now the facts that A) I need another bike like I need another hole in my head and B) I have no idea if my eventual job will even be bike commutable are just details that I am choosing to ignore right now.
I have developed a love of the English 3 speed and I even had one in my size as a project bike for a time (here) but I sold it on in part because I needed the $$ and in part because I realized in my hilly world with my level of fitness a 3 speed wouldn't really work. However, thanks to the developments of later day IGH (internally geared hub) technology I can get a 7, 8 or even 11 speed IGH that should allow me to climb my local hills. And in my recent search for the commuter of my dreams for that job I don't have yet I found a number of possibilities. So on to the contenders.
The Schwinn Brighton (here) has the right look and it has an Nexus 8 speed rear hub to go with fenders, rear rack, kickstand small Chain ring (38t) and a classic chain guard. I would want to put a Brooks saddle on it, a larger rear cog 22t rather than 19t for a lower granny gear, and probably new pedals - MKS Sneaker pedals perhaps- but its a good starting point and reasonably priced at around $650. And they have a 58cm model which is nice as most of the vintage Raleigh's I see are in a much smaller frame size than would work for me. However seeing some of the Schwinn branded stuff on sale at the local Target I am a bit concerned about their quality these days, and vague phrases like "Euro-Style steel frame" make me think pig iron rather than chromoly. You can also have any color you want so long as its green, which, fortunately, I kind of like.
|Linus Roadster 8|
Another choice is the Linus Roadster 8 (here) that has much of the same look and features of the Schwinn; fenders, rack, kickstand, 8 speed Nexus IGH etc. although they go with a chainring guard rather than a full chain guard, perfectly workable just not quite the same vintage vibe. As with any candidate I would want to go with a Brooks saddle and this bike already has a large rear cog (22t) but that is offset by the larger front chainring (48t) so I would probably want to downsize the chainring to 36t to get that nice low gear I need for the local hills. I have ridden the similar Linus Gaston 5 and really enjoyed it, this bike is built with 4130 steel and comes in a variety of colors and at a higher price point of $830. Oh and the bell comes standard.
|Simcoe Roadster Classic|
|Classic Raleigh 3 speed|
One final option would be to find another classic Raleigh 3 speed in the 23 inch frame size and fit it with a modern 8 speed rear hub, and what the heck while I'm at it I might as well get a dynamo hub front wheel built. I am not sure if A) sourcing an old bike and getting a new rear wheel built would cost any less than a new bike and B) I worry the rear frame spacing would have to be adjusted to accommodate the rear hub and that's an additional cost to have it "cold set" which has its own complications. And the nice thing about the new bikes is they are all 700c wheel sizes rather than the one off 26x1 3/8 classic 3 speed size. There is also the guilt of bastardizing a classic 3 speed, not quite on par with making a classic 10 speed into a fixie but nonetheless.....oh the dilemmas!
Of course until I actually land a job its all academic and just a good excuse to go virtual bike shopping on the interwebs. Perhaps when I finally land a job an its in (hopefully) downtown I can use that as an excuse to test ride the 3 new bikes above and explore the feasibility of upgrading an old Raleigh 3 speed and do a real world report.
Until next time Ride. Smile and repeat.