Saturday, May 5, 2007

'51 Rudge De-Luxe Sports Tourist

Here is a photo of the '51 Rudge; one of many provided by the seller. It is in remarkably good condition, considering that it is nearly 60 years old; a couple of small dents in the fenders and the chaincase, and a small flat spot on the rear Raleigh-pattern rim. The paint color has faded to a rich chocolate brown, and all of the small decals intact.

A week after arranging for shipping, UPS delivered the carefully packaged bike to my door.
As I unpacked the box, I discovered that UPS had somehow managed to smash the rear fender, and the headlight beyond repair.

A new bicycle

One morning about this time last year, as I was parking my Volvo XC at my office on the Petaluma River, it occurred to me that I needed a new bicycle.

My commute from home to office was a scant mile, and driving the tank- perfect for family road trips- was, well...nearly obscene. I resolved to bicycle commute, weather permitting.

If I was going to make a commitment to cycling to work, I was going to need a classy, and classic ride. My old Bianchi cyclocross wasn't going to do the trick.

I have fond memories of the steel steeds that my parents rode when I was young: a pair of 3-speed Hercules bicycles with Made in England proudly emblazoned on the top tubes, and set out to find something similar for a daily rider.

A couple of weeks of searching craigslist postings turned up what appeared to be a nice old Rudge roadster in D.C. The seller did not want to ship the bicycle, but after several email exchanges, agreed to deliver it to his LBC where it could be properly packed and shipped to the West Coast.

Deal done, and I was the proud owner of a 1951 Rudge De-Luxe Sports Tourist.