Monday, May 10, 2010



My name is Gilbert!  Don’t I look friendly?  I think it’s my big eyes that make me look so cute.
I started as a gleam in cycler's eye last October, when instead of vandalizing a raleigh sports in lovely condition with newfangled modern parts, she took pity on a battered old frame, and had it stripped and powdercoated.
Now I have a shiny dark red paint job, and squishy cream colored tires that take the worst abuse that the Cambridge roads can dish out and soften the hardest jolts.  They still have reflex bands that are super reflective and identify me immediately as a bike when I’m out and about after dark.

My red chain case keeps cycler’s clothes out of the chain, and have the advantage of keeping the road muck out of my chain too,  and is amazingly quiet (for a chain case!).  My koolstop brake pads are so much better than rod brake shoes- quiet and so efficient.

I shift smoothly through my 8 speeds and Cycler’s knees are so happy not to grind gears on uphill starts.  I’m not quite as fast as my cousin Minerva, but I’m more comfortable to climb on and off of, and the angle doesn’t make cycler’s skirt want to blow up.

I have a bright new chromed rack that came over from England.  Cycler had to do some DIY fabrication because the shortie legs that came with it were only long enough for an awkward p-clip mounting on the seatstays.  After a short search, Cycler found some chrome struts that were part of a sissy bar banana seat back, and were a perfect match to the original rack’s tubing.  After a little drilling, trimming and filing, the rack is a little bit too high, but at least it’s level- I’d hate to be one of those bikes with a drunken looking sloped rack.  Ok,  maybe it's still a bit tipsy.  Cycler assures me that she will drill new holes in the struts to both lower the rack, and get a better chance at being level.

My eyes are a wee bit asymmetric, and until Cycler wins the lottery and can afford dual edeluxe lights for retina searing brightness, (yes, you can run two edelux together...) they will stay that way.  I think it gives me a slightly rakish charm.  She said I might get an LED retrofit light for the other lens if I’m good.
She’s also going to look for a tidy little basket for me.  Something a little more masculine than a girlie bike basket, big enough to store a small outer layer or a camera, but something that doesn't stop my from making eyes at passing bikes.  She's bidding on something on Ebay now-  hopefully she'll have something to show soon.

I'm so happy to be out of the basement and in the bike shed with Minerva.  Just barely in time for bike week and bike month!  Hope to see a lot of you (or be seen by a lot of you) soon!


  1. Nice bike!

    By the way, the offroad-styled light cages are awesome.

    I am a spirited proponent of twin headlights, as you may know :)

  2. wow, cycler. well done! i like the little touches (is that a brass bracket on the chaincase?).

    the front rack is a great touch, and i see two edeluxes retrofitted inside chromed teardrop housings in gilbert's future. (velo-lasik?)

  3. What a gorgeous raleigh sports upgrade! You have given me some inspiration for my dream bicycle upgrade build/project.

  4. I love those heron chainwheels. I'm glad you didn't cover that up.

  5. Somervillain- it's a piece of scrap copper I had. I put it in as a temp because it was easily cut and malleable, but I like the color it's becoming. I was thinking I might have a permanent bracket powder coated, but as you know that's kind of a long run for a short slide.

  6. Wow, Nice job indeed! Picture is worth a thousand words on the rear rack job! That came out great! And I do love the color!

    Ed O'B

  7. Can you please post us a tutorial how you opened up the chaincase to show your heron chainrings? I would be a grateful recipient.

  8. Amanda- The chain case I got comes with a detachable "Pie Plate" that I think just snaps in- I haven't snapped it in even to test it. I might leave the herons open to the sun for the summer, and then put that piece in when the weather turns bad and the chain needs more enclosure.
    Ed, The struts were almost perfect. I do think that I need to buckle down and flatten them a bit more so that I can drill a hole and drop the attachment to the axle 3/4", but it was just too much to face on an already late Sunday.

  9. Fantastic! The bordeaux frame and cream tires go wonderfully together, and the light set-up is very cool.

    What do you mean though, that this bicycle is easier to get on and off of than the DL-1? You find the straight step through easier to dismount than the loop? Or is it something specific to the bikes?

  10. ha, it just dawned on me that cycler has just recreated my wife's union savoy, a dutch-built version of a raleigh sports... right down to the color:

  11. So gorgeous!! Congratulations on a very successful project!

  12. Those big eyes! Ha, makes me happy :)

  13. somervillain - It does look similar to the Union, but I think they have distinctly different personalities. Would certainly be nice to see them side by side!

  14. Absolutely gorgeous, an incredible bike. I know you will have many happy miles together.

  15. I'm sending a Raleigh for powder coating next week.... I have to ask, what did you do about the head badge? I was told it has to come off, but I'm not sure how to do that.

    1. I drilled out the rivets very carefully and it was simple to pry off after that. I've been thinking of getting a custom head badge to put back on,

  16. Thanks! All I have left to take apart now is one of the cups on the fork is STUCK. Very stuck.