I had the great pleasure of visiting Curtis Anthony at Via Bicycles while in Philly on business recently. Even though it was a busy Saturday, he was kind enough to have an employee show me around upstairs. If you ever get the chance, I would encourage any listmemebers to visit - that place is full of gems! Thanks to Curtis for being so accomodating and sharing his love of vintage bikes!
How nice was Curtis? So nice, he gave me a spare disposable camera so I could take photos of the bikes! He even opened the shop on Sunday to let me pick up the 1957 Raleigh Lenton Grand Prix (all original minus pedals, bars, and stem) that I had bought the day before when I was sans car! What started at a 5-minute errand turned into a two-hour tour of the building!
Among other highlights, I got to look up-close at the Ephgrave that won best original British at Cirque '05 (http://www.classicrendezvous.com/images/Events/Cirque/2005/yard-party/ephgrave1.JPG)
The slot in the bike rack vacated by the Lenton I bought was filled immediately with a beautiful Claud Butler track bike from the 50s...
There was a bevy of Paramounts (at least one NOS), including two tandems, and one which belonged to Fred Delong (Curtis has a number of his bikes). There was a Bob Jackson Racing trike, a beautiful Witcomb mixte with nervex lugs, two all original "penny farthings" - Curtis has completed numerous centuries on them!
Also a Helyett Special that Cirque attendees might have seen, a Jack Taylor frameset, a Drysdale (sp?) road frame with funky dropouts, and mountains of components, many NIB or NOS. The Bluemels club specials were especially tempting. I could go on and on, but it would take all day to describe all the goodies. Check it out if you're ever in Philly! There are dozens more vintage bikes that I don't have space to mention.
As for my ongoing projects, I have just finished two: the 1968 Mercian Professional is done - the original paint is fantastic! I don't know what kind of paint process they used, but boy does it hold up!
Also, the 1952 Hobbs Blue Riband tandem is up and running. Eventually I will make a few more changes to make it completely period correct. I am running newer Weinmann sidepulls because the frames reach is so short, none of my vintage brakesets (Universal, GB) will work!
Pics of both bikes available upon request.
Also, those who requested pics of Via Bicycles, I'll get those out this week.
And finally, if anyone out there has a bar/stem combo (or either component by itself) I am looking for the original appropriate set for the Lenton Grand Prix. According to the catalogue and other spec of my bike, that would be Reg Harris road bend bars with an adustable stem - 2 1/2 inch forward extension.