January 17, 2012
When the sun goes down. I have alot of spare time. I’ve taken a shine to a really old Raleigh bicycle and I am working to restore it to it’s original pride and glory. The first thing one notices about old bicycles is the sheer amount of craftsmanship that goes into making it – metal isn’t just stamped, it’s delicately curved, precision butted and lovingly welded to create one of the strongest ever two wheelers.
These days, bicycles never ever last more than five years (even though, you hardly use them). In the old days, bicycles were not just for recreation. They were the equivalent of work horses. In the countryside, there are stories of rubber tappers carrying over 150 kg of produce on their Raleighs often through dirt roads. In the olden days, these weren’t just casual purchases, they were one in a lifetime purchases. Something that father hands down to their sons. Eventually with the advent of obesity inducing mopeds and motorbikes, these bicycles just faded away.
What started as an evening project has now turned into something far more serious than I had originally anticipated. Removing parts is one thing, finding parts that don’t exist is another – and this has led me to write directly to Raleigh to seek the original blueprints. Believe it or not, they still keep original blueprints of their various makes dating all the way back to the 19th Century.
Let’s see how this project turns out. If it’s a decent job. I’ve sell for SGD$2,000. Make the cheque payable to Pathlight School. I don’t need the money. But I know those kiddies, caregivers and volunteers do. And it’s yours to keep and admire for another hundred years.
Show you the pics, when it’s ready.