Re: [CR] Raleigh Questions


Date: Mon, 15 Feb 2010 19:15:34 -0800
From: "P.C. Kohler" <kohl57@yahoo.com>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
In-Reply-To: <5732.86545.qm@web110615.mail.gq1.yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [CR] Raleigh Questions


Sounds like someone needs to sell John Crump a copy of "The Raleigh Story".

But this might help with a nutshell history:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raleigh_Bicycle_Company

The tubular fork crown was introduced in 1896 and when pneumatic cycle tyres (Messrs. Dunlop) came shortly after, they were wider and forced all other cycle companies to throw out cast iron fork crowns which which too narrow whereas Raleigh just increased the length of the horizontal tube. And it was Raleigh that, thanks to employing American steel pressing machinery, introduced The All Steel Bicycle by manufacturing lugs, fork crown and bottom bracket out of sheet steel instead of cast iron. Consequently, Raleighs were lighter than ANY cycle on the market and their racing machines weighed but 25 pounds, extraordinary then. And this was when Raleigh was a world beater in the nascient sport of cycle racing and it was an American, A.A. Zimmerman, who was world champion.. riding a Raleigh.

This book is also very good at recording Raleigh export trade during something the British simply cannot or will not comprehend nowadays: The British Empire when British exports were the capstone of global commerce and when British made goods were the acme in almost every field. So it was with Raleigh in Nigeria, the USA, Ceylon etc. Only the British distain Raleigh whereas it remains revered overseas. I cycled for 20 years on a Raleigh DL-1/no. 1 Roadster, the greatest bicycle ever made bar bar none and certainly the most common in all its imitations. And cycled to work. I had some Nigerian clients who saw me cycle up and they were in rapture: "Oh, you ride a REAL Raleigh?!! And spent 20 minutes extolling the virtues of The Raleigh. Raleigh introduced the modern lightweight bicycle to the US market in 1938 and the so-called "English Racer". Several generations of Americans (including me) were raised on Raleighs.

So... go find a copy of this book. And learn more about one of the greatest gifts that English manufacturing innovation and skill has given the world: The Raleigh Cycle.

I guess it was mere coincidence that I polished and fussed over my 1948 RRA today listening to Eric Coates marches..Simichrome and The Dambusters March were made for each other.

Peter Kohler
Washington DC USA