[CR]My Latest Raleigh


Example: Humor

From: "Raoul Delmare" <Raoul.L.Delmare@worldnet.att.net>
To: "C.R. List" <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2003 15:40:07 -0500
Subject: [CR]My Latest Raleigh

O.K. ,

So the experts would say that I paid a couple of bucks too much , 'cause it's not really completely historically accurate ( and it needs a good deal of washing and polishing and waxing ) .

But , looking at what you can buy brand new today , it's a huge bargain .

And , through several bizarre coincidences , the few parts on it which happen to be totally-incorrect , WRONG , "oh-how-could-you-do-that??" , "what-a-terrible-mistake!!" - also just happen to be , just exactly the Schwinn parts I'm looking for . . . for another bicycle .

And the "oh-we-wish-you-hadn't-done-that" drilling of the front fork crown , to allow for the fitment of a front brake , despite being historically incorrect , and a terrible mistake , is , just what I'm looking for . I want a front brake , 'cause I'm gonna ride it on the streets , thank you very much .

And , it's the very largest ( and maybe the rarest ) frame size , which , for a genuine serious track racing bicycle , is really too big for me . But , it happens to be just exactly my perfect size for a real bicycle to be ridden on real streets .

So , it's perfect for me !

If I can find a few parts to build it up with , I'll finally have a nice , almost-modern , but lovely vintage-looking , fixed-gear , pedigreed , racing bicycle , to ride around on !

So , is it really a 1973 bicycle , as the seller ( supposedly the 3rd owner ) , has told me over the telephone ?

The photos in the old catalogs make it a definite 1974 .

hmmmmm . . . So , this morning , I finally got around to researching what little has been published by the experts , on the Internet , about Raleigh serial numbers . The best known source ? Why of course :

http://retroraleighs.com/index.html

When I finally arrived at the pertinent information relating to mine , I was literally doubled over , laughing out loud .

My cardio-aerobic exercise for the morning .

Surely , this system could only have arisen in England .

The serial number on the Raleigh bicycle in question is :

WK 4002456

And it also features a really large cut-out in the bottom bracket shell , " C C " .

Since the genuine racing bicycles were not made in the main Raleigh factory , but instead were made in the former Carlton shop ( bought out by Raleigh years before ) that " C C " was the last remaining trace of the fine old Carlton Cycles name .

Since the Carlton facilities were located in the town of Worksop , England , that " WK" at the front of the serial number also makes perfect sense .

Ahhhhh , but no , I'm wrong .

The first letter , W , indeed stood for the Carlton workshop in Worksop ( if that's not too confusing ) .

The second letter stood for , and here I quote the truly World renown , Mr. Sheldon Brown :

" In 1972, an entirely different numbering system was introduced for the higher end (531 and subsequently 753) Raleighs. Serial numbers should begin with a "W", which stands for Worksop, the facility which produced these frames. This is followed by another alphabet. This alphabet indicates the fortnight in which the frame was built (i.e. A = 1st fortnight, B = 2nd, etc.). The third character is always a numeral. It indicates the year of manufacture, the decade being assumed (i.e. "4" could be '74 or '84; it is up to the interpreter to know enough to tell if the frame is from the 70's or 80's). What then follows is a series of numbers. At this point, these appear to be some sort of sequence, but this has not been substantiated. "

Oh .

Oh , sure , fine .

Counting FORTNIGHTS ??

sigh . . .

Well , another Raleigh serial number system used numbered days of the year , starting at the beginning of the year , 001 through 365 . Let's see , divide by 30.62 or some such to find out what month . . .

Anyway , back to mine .

The letter K is the 11th letter of the alphabet . Which means it was produced during the 11th fortnight .

Let's see , uhhhhhmmmmm , that would be weeks numbers 21 & 22 of the year .

"Googling" for a perpetual calendar takes me to a site :

http://www.vpcalendar.net

And the particular perpetual calendar which applies to 1974 is :

http://www.vpcalendar.net/4_Columns/Calendar_2.html

O.K. !

My Raleigh Pro. Track was made sometime between 12 May 1974 , and , 25 May 1974 .

Darn ! I just missed its birthday !

Hey , what sign does that make it born under ?

( well probably a really-big Raleigh sign . . . )

But , now I do know for sure that it's a 1974 .

It's a silly World .

And I'm just one more silly person in it .

: ^ )

Raoul Delmare
Marysville Kansas
U.S.A.