Three Speeds Spotted: A Trio of British Three Speeds*

This post originally appeared on Urban Adventure League on 27-Nov-2011.
Hello friends and welcome to another installment of everyone’s favorite game show, “Spot that bike!” And this one is all-British edition. While British built bikes are not uncommon stateside, most of them seen over here are Raleighs. Which makes sense, as Raleigh was the behemoth of the industry and exported a lot of bikes. The three bikes featured today are less commonly seen badges.
First let’s go back to the Cross-Continent Bike Tour. While April and I were in Minneapolis, we spotted this beauty outside a liquor store:**
A Dunelt ladies bike in delightful condition! Not a heck of a lot of info online about Dunelt. Sheldon Brown indicates it was a second-tier brand, not as nice as Raleigh/Humber/Rudge. Doesn’t matter. Still a beautiful bike, and a lot better than anything Huffy, Murray, or AMF could make at the time. (If you are interested, here’s an interesting account about another black ladies Dunelt from Minneapolis from the same era.)
Later on in the tour, but not much later, we were riding through the beautiful Mississippi River valley, the “bluff” country of Minnesota and Wisconsin. We stopped at River Rider bicycle shop in Wabasha, MN and peeped this looker:
A Triumph in terrific condition! Triumph is more known for its motorcycles. Raleigh earned the bicycle rights in 1956 via its acquisition of B.S.A. and used the Triumph badge for more “second-tier” bikes. Triumph bicycles should not be confused with the band Triumph, which was a second-tier Rush.***
Fighting the good fight with bellbottoms. And no, this is not Rush. Seriously.

Finding my way back to the item on hand…Dave, the owner of River Rider said he was basically given this bike for nothing. It sat in someone’s garage for 40 years, and they “figured he could do something with it.” Yeesh. How I wish I was so lucky!Finally, we’ll come back to Portland where April and I spotted this specimen outside the Clinton Street Theater:

A Philips in phantastic shape! From Sheldon Brown, A division of B.C.C. (British Cycle Corporation), Phillips, based in Birmingham, was the second-largest British bike maker until merged with Raleigh as part of theย takeover in 1960. Raleigh-made Phillips models are near the bottom of the quality range.”
Near the bottom? Pshaw. You’re a good bike, Philips. Don’t listen to what that mean Sheldon man has to say about you.****

Lamp bracket with “P” cutout.

This Philips is different than the other two bikes featured because it is actually a single speed with coaster brake, not something I normally associate with British bikes of the era. Too bad the day was wet, because I can only imagine how awesome that saddle is that is concealed by the bag. (I was tempted to look, but the owner of the bike came out of a store and gave a disapproving look to all my paparazzi biz-ness.)

Unknown coaster hub.

Tune in next time for more interesting bikes, possibly from far-off lands. And in the meantime you can check some of the interesting bikes I’ve peeped on my flickr set Interesting Bikes Spotted.

*Okay, two three-speeds and a single speed. But British roadsters and sport-roadsters of that era are generically called “three-speeds”, much like road bikes up until the 90’s were called “ten-speeds” even if they had 5, 12, or 15 “speeds”.
**Surdyk’s.

***Yet they were both from Canada, eh?

****No, I don’t really think Sheldon Brown is “mean”.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s