My love of vintage bikes came about because I generally love old things, especially if they have a certain style and quality about them and also if they have a special meaning for me. Many of the things which I cherish in my home have been salvaged from my parents’ garage or from my grandparents’ old shed. This is also the case with my Speedwell bike which I had as a child. It sat in my parents’ garage for many years, unused. If they had moved about a lot it would probably have been relegated to the dump a long time ago, but thankfully it was still there when I began taking a greater interest in bike riding, so I decided to revive it.
My first thoughts on it were to get it roadworthy to see how it rode. I did not hold high hopes of it being really rideable as I knew it had only one gear and back pedal brakes, so I thought that going up and down hills would be very different from what I was used to. I also didn’t know if it would even be possible to get 28 inch tyres for it.
So with a new set of tyres and a saddle and it was back on the road. The first time I rode it home from the bike shop I was amazed at the ease with which I rode up the hill to home. It was a little harder than on the Giant, but not much. The seating position was great, so upright and high! I thought, this is a bike I could ride everyday!
It also fits my criteria of having a bit of style: the lugged loop frame is not only easy to mount and dismount, it has a certain elegance about it and the fine lines of it are a far reach from my chunky Giant bike. I have had quite a few compliments on it, rust and all, and it has indeed become my bike of preference. I also like that I can use an old wire basket like the one I had on it as a child. For that reason, I will not be getting a trendy wicker basket, I like to be original.