I recently paid a visit to a good friend, and I came to realize that she owns a Raleigh hybrid bicycle, with which she is currently dissatisfied. I can only imagine why; it sort-of reminds me of the type of bicycle that policemen ride to patrol the airport and public events in the park.
Naturally, I rode to her place on Belle, my Rivendell mixte. The security guard in her building gave me a hard time about locking her up outside, so I took the bicycle into her condominium.
As a professional artist, she appreciated the throwback design aesthetic and was immediately taken by the intricate lugwork and great attention-to-detail put into the frame.
She commented on how she really liked the cork grips and twine, and the general utility—the ability to actually carry things on a bike. This made her express her general dislike of the new Raleigh, and the fact that it was comparatively lacking in character and utility. She said:
Why didn’t I consult with you when I was making my bike purchase?!
We proceeded to take her PBH measurement and called up Shishkabike for a new-bike-consultation. Shishkabike and I threw around some ideas regarding building up a beautiful bicycle that she would actually enjoy riding, but with a height of 4’11″, we knew that her choices for a lovely steel frame would be limited. We considered a Betty Foy in 47cm, but at this point, the cost would be too prohibitive. We then debated a tiny Surly Cross Check in 46cm, and she was able to envision one in Robin’s Egg Blue with silver components and honey accents.
Finally, it clicked–how about my vintage Bridgestone MB-3 Mixte? As mentioned in my previous post, at 47cm, it is far too small for me, but it just might be a perfect fit for her. We went back to my place, so that she could take a closer look.
As you can see, at the time she tried the bicycle out, the tyres were not pumped with air. This is an error on my part, as I have yet to learn how to use my pump with Schrader valves.
She only rode it around the elusive circular brick structure very briefly, but clearly, was having a ball. She even said,
That looks just like the cycle I grew up with!
She was in love, and I believe to have found the perfect candidate for my bicycle restoration project!