DL1 Pics for Nudge

This post is just some bike pics I promised Nudge.

This is my 1978 Raleigh DL1 Roadster. Raleigh made these roadsters in England from about maybe WWI until about 1980. The basic design didn’t change much. Large amounts of them are still made in China and India under different names.

[photos removed]

I threw in a few close-ups of the roller-lever rod brakes. Notice the rods and pivots extend the action all the way to the back wheel, without cables. The purpose for rod brakes was durability, like everything else on the bike. No consideration was given for the weight penalty of building in this duability. It probably weighs around 45 lbs. These roadsters were intended to be reliable and long lasting transport for the masses. They could be abused, left out in the elements, and yet remain trusty, and handed on to the next generation. Standard issue to the army, postmen and London bobbies.

Its a beast, it has 28 inch wheels, it weighs a million pounds, it has totally raked out front end and a long wheelbase (nearly four feet!). It was intended that you could glide over cobblestones and unimproved roads. Once you get this thing up and moving it’s fast, and not all that easy to stop in the rain (you have to plan ahead).

The bike is a joy to ride around town. I rode it to the store today as a matter of fact.

In last few years I have reduced my bike stable to keep things simple. Just three. I also have a road (racing) bike and a “utility” bike that I’m building up from peices and parts. I call it the Black Swan. More to come on that later.

41 Replies to “DL1 Pics for Nudge”

  1. biff,

    i don’t know you, but you always amaze me. all your shit is shinney and polished. that’s fucking impossible in my world. if i knew how to post pictures of my bikes, i would. maybe i’ll tell fucking jhoon rhee to take some pictures and put them up on flicker, or something like that.

  2. Bif: sweet ride! Thanks for sharing the pics. There are a couple groups (maybe even something in Boston) that do this kind of thing .. err, do you have anything to do with the Retro Wheelmen?

    What do those rod brakes feel like? I grew up on coasters, then v-brakes, and now I’m on roller brakes. You have to pull them pretty hard.

  3. Nudge, I would say that when it’s dry the rod brakes feel pretty much like a cantilever or v-brake except you do have to squeeze the lever with just a bit more resolve. But when things get wet it doesn’t matter how hard you pull the brake lever you are going to be disappointed. The problem isn’t the rod brakes so much as the steel rims. The rims are unique, made specific to this type of brake, and they were/are not made in aluminum, which is a much better material for rim grabbing a rubber brake pad. There are a few tricks for making this rod brake and steel rim setup work better in wet weather, but you mostly have to just take it easy in those conditions.

    Nope, I don’t have anything to do with the retro wheelmen groups, although I do consider myself totally at home among such bicycle geeks and lifestyle types. I know a number of retro bike types around town and enjoy talking with them. The one thing I do not share with them is the desire to collect bikes. I don’t want to own 20 bikes.

    On this bike I meet a lot of older folks who come up and tell me they rode a Raleigh roadster just like it back in the 40s 50s or 60s etc. Some of these people have explained to me some things about the bike that have been really useful and interesting. I enjoy hearing old people’s bike stories.

    Dave I swear the only reason this old bike is in such good shape is because the guy who owned it for 30 years before me apparently didn’t use it much. Under my ownership there will definitely be some wear and tear and it will acquire a more tarnished appearance. However, I can’t stand a filthy or poorly tuned drive train and so in that regard it will be kept in proper clean and working condition, and at least a little shiny.

  4. Bif, I too don’t quite understand the people who keep whole stables of bicycles, some of which cost more new than a cheap used automobile. Although it is very fashionable, in the bike world, to have one for your everyday use and another for weekend exercise riding or racing, I can’t help but think what my European relatives would say about such an obviously American (ie, materially wasteful) way of doing things. How many bicycles does a person need? I don’t care to race anyway, and just going to work and back is more exercise than I need, judging by the appetite gain and the weight loss ~ 5 lbs so far this month, woohoo :)

    The older people out here seem to really be interested in the Batavus. A number of local women have told me it reminds them of the bikes they used when younger, step-throughs with lights and fenders and baskets and chainguards, essentially.

    Another related thing that irks me about the having-many-bicycles thing is that people of the present era mostly don’t realize quite how expensive a good bicycle is when you’re in an environment where fuel and automobiles and even motorcycles are very expensive in relative terms such as hours-of-labor needed to pay for such things. For the present time we can enjoy the fruits of globalized just-in-time business, but if we had to pay fair-labor wages for these things to be made by hand by people living locally, then a good bicycle might cost quite a few weeks’ worth of one’s salary.

    I’ve been itching to ride all day long, but really I need to take the weekend off to let the muscles recover. They’re coming back much more quickly than it took to build them up the first time around anyway.

    Is there some other brake shoe material that would help for wet weather? (just guessing, but would asbestos or some very soft stone work correctly?) The gal over at Lovely replaced her rod brakes just because of the wet-weather horror show.

  5. “just guessing, but would asbestos or some very soft stone work correctly?”

    Stay far away from asbestos brake pads. The dust is carcinogenic. It kills by literally poking tiny fibrous crystals into the nucleus of cells in the lung tissue. The disrupted genetic material will mutate, causing cancer cells to develop.

    So much for the health benefits of biking, then.

  6. Doom, I meant asbestos brake pads in a purely facetious manner. Besides, the health benefits of the dust would accrue most to whoever’s behind the cyclist just then.

    Dr Albert Bartlett said it nicely in his lecture on the exponential function: if you want to keep population from growing too large too quickly, the key is to emphasize the things that cut down on it, like wars, smoking, driving, drinking, drugs, dangerous activities, etc. In that regard, the people of the UPL are following his recommendations quite literally.

    (tongue in cheek, of course)

  7. Doom, life is already too short, this despite the magical age-reversing effects of daily bicycling and hanging upside-down (Bif may agree on at least one of these). I also think it helps reverse time if you walk backwards, but without some fancy equipment it’s not possible to prove this.

    The endorphin DT’s haven’t kicked in yet. It’s only a matter of time. Fortunately, chez Nudge is well stocked up on ramen noodles and doomer pr0n movies. Waterworld or Postman? Road Warrior or Thunderdome? Logan’s Run or Planet of the Apes IV?

    Choices, choices.

    Has anyone heard from MOU lately? And Doom, why did you call her that? Jeez :(

  8. It wasn’t 110F here. Jeez. Though I finally did put the window fan in place. Cold showers work nicely, after which one sits in front of a fan and reads. It was above 100F only on one day.

    Oh, and I started bicycling to work 7/3 and have used the car only 6x since then.

    Funny, the weather drove the lycra mafiosa right back to their luxury SUVs.

  9. I was just kidding, but must have hit a nerve. Shit happens. If I could retract it now, I would. Who knows? She’s a complex gal, with some history. I’m sure we could be friends, if she’d let me in.

  10. That’s really nice Nudge. With that cargo capacity you added it’s like a mini station wagon. The frame must be steel if the bike is a whopping 50 lbs. It looks robust, plus with these sturdy tandem wheels, it should last you your whole life, which means you’ll have to redo your Will now.

    How’s the headlight brightness with the dyno? Does the dyno introduce any perceptable drag when pedaling?

    What are those two white/silver things on the downtubes? Are those S&S couplers? Can you break this frame in half?

    It would be fun to take it into the city and ride the Cambridge/Sommerville neighborhoods and Chas river corridor, or even the downtown area on a weekend AM when things are reasonably calm.

    Regarding your question to me about the rod brakes, yes there are different brake pad materials than simple rubber blocks. I’ve seen things like pads made of sandwiched felt and leather, that supposedly is better on the steel rims. I’m comfortable with it the way it is, but I may experiement.

  11. Bif, thanks, I would <3 to go cycling with you in town sometime when things are calm ~ if the possible Ms Bif doesn't mind, that is. The MBTA claims they'll let you bring bicycles onto the commuter trains during the weekend. Hoping the conductors won't react badly when they see the size of this thing. It's a 61cm frame and the seatpost is a ways out of the tube already.

    Did the homework on locks and learned that the small size U-locks, attaching the rear wheel to a rack from some point within the triangle of the rear forks, is the way to do it. Sawing through rims is mega work even if you have an angle grinder.

    The frame is in fact aluminum .. it is just very heavily built. I spent some time trying to figure out why the bike weighs approx 44 lbs once you take off the racks, the basket, the lights, the bell, the small pump under the rack, etc, and all I got was that the basic components are just way overbuilt.

    Want to crack your tailbone hard? Just run over a pothole on this thing while you're firmly seated. Omfg that hurts. You may succeed in tilting the seat back. Haven't been able to make the frame flex yet but then I'm not really in shape yet.

    The dynamo on this thing doesn't seem to produce much drag. Maybe I can find some flat spot (really gentle coasting) and see if switching the light on/off makes a difference. I plan to change out the lights for a better system eventually, but for now the originals can stay. The front is halogen (those have a short life) and the rear is battery-powered LEDs.

    The reason I ended up with this one was that it was the only ladies step-through in 61cm size that the folks at Fourth Floor Distribution had in stock right when I was in a hurry to get a bike and start riding. But I like the looks of it nicely now anyway, so no big deal.

    Glad you like :)

  12. Oh cool. Where I live is so totally frigging white that we refer to it locally as Mayberry.

    Hmm, biking in Boston on a Sunday could be fun. Do they still close off parts of Mem Drive for that?

  13. Bombs aren’t a concern. LED toys freak out Boston.

    Oh, the humanity.

    The horror. The horror.

  14. All I know is that when I want to hide a bomb, I make sure it has a lot of flashing LEDs.

  15. No doubt there was a bill in the state house the next day prohibiting exactly this kind of mayhem. Here in the Athens of America, we take especial pride in reverse-engineering the perfect (though massively voluminous) legal code by which people ought to live.

    No kidding. If two different red bicycles got run over on two consecutive Fridays by dump trucks, there’d be a law out shortly to prohibit riding certain-colored bicycles on certain days.

    Oh, snap. That’s the sort of “charm” this place pretends to have.

  16. yeah, i often stick an m80, or a firecracker of some sort up my asshole when i’m going to fly these days, just for shits and giggles of course. i usually leave the fuse sticking out. so the last time i flew to argentina i was pulled aside for a strip search. when they looked in ass, all they could say was what the fuck is that in your asshole. i just told them that it was my pet gerbil; so they let me go.

  17. Ah, I guess my tritium-powered glow-in-de-dark sunglasses have been making it through the TSA gauntlets because it is a weak beta emitter and most folks just think it’s phosphorescence.

    I tell them it’s a gift from Elton John. Heh heh heh…

  18. Bif, not to use horribly archaic terminology, but what’s your approximate 10-20 these days? If I can figure out how to get the bicycle into the car (looks like some disassembly is required; not sure how much **) then perhaps that would be the easier way to do a doom-bloggers bike ride?

    Then again, I’m still not really in shape anyway, so for you it would probably be an exercise in patience.

    ** probably seat, pedals, handlebars, front wheel .. possibly front fender too plus whatever else is attached to that one bolt.

  19. No big deal, war fail happens all the time. This historical record shows that /all/ Af’stan invasions fail and go home with tails between legs. Just another day.

  20. “Most of everything is psychological. We imagine the vast majority of everything that is happening in our life.”

    That I believe is correct. Today I imagined I went to work and got some things accomplished. In reality, they (my co-workers and employees) were all laughing at me behind my back and they were all actually conspiring against me to get anything seriously done, and these people are on my payroll….disgusting but true, I think.

    Then again, it sure felt like a great day at work.

  21. JR, thanks, not not to worry. To people who comment on my long-term preference for being single, I’m fond of pointing out that I need a BF in the same way I need a gaping gunshot wound to the head, preceded by a fleecing of my checking account. (this is the same old fish -> bicycle thing, except this fish enjoys her cycle very much, thanks)

    Besides, from the number of guys who pull over along the road (when I’m out cycling) and flag me down to ask “bike questions” (at least that’s the most common excuse they use) I’m thinking about investing in some burka-type outfits .. clearly it’s outside the realm-of-experience for most guys to see women my height/size out cycling. (poor Geena Davis has the same problem)

    Enjoy the weekend all .. I’m heading out for an endorphin fix. As per Dr Doom’s notes, this makes PO, the GoM oil, and the pending collapse of the world economy all go away.

  22. No partisan/resistance movements here, unless you count it as political to demonstrate to people that it can be safe to ride your bicycle among automobiles. The thing that every would-be cyclist always imagines is the worst problem (being hit from behind by an oncoming vehicle) almost doesn’t happen unless the cyclist is in the dark, using no lights/reflectors and not wearing lighter-colored clothing. No normal driver would want to hit a cyclist, and under normal conditions it’s almost impossible for them to avoid seeing you.

  23. Well, I do agree that the albino’s wikileak thing sure smells like some sort of CYA gubmint maneuvering. The really fucking funny thing is that there probably is (and you can bet that if I were orchestrating this sort of a data dump there would be) something in it for everyone. Note how the following excerpt, as a microcosmic representation of the 90,000 documents or whatever, nicely sandwiches an admission as to the potential utility of the leaks (“They can use the info as a pretext to heat the war up or cool it down.”) sandwiched between the usual bullshit pipe dream assertions about alleged serious intent to invade Iran (“Give us a pretext to invade. Iran, too”) and the utterly asinine suggestion that this much stuff could be credibly fabricated and/or nothing was leaked (“Might want to throw in the names of some Afghan informers just to make it seem real”).

  24. Doom, apparently the thinking influence of cigars is selective. I’ll bet Fred’s is real Cuban.

    Nudge, there is still plenty of time and opportunity for partisan/resistance movement activity. You fit the profile.

    BB, I give the whole escapade a good old-fashioned “meh”, but did get a chuckle from the military-industrial-government shills Fred writes about. Ah, to be even a tenth as articulate.

    But something is afoot regarding the Internetz. Lots o’ news regarding social site data “leaks”, bot scraping, Google & the CIA (gasp!) and only people with PhD’s (in economics) should be taken seriously. Seriously? FUD in overdrive.

    It just seems so, how you say, predictable. Predictable.

  25. “I give the whole escapade a good old-fashioned “meh”, but did get a chuckle from the military-industrial-government shills Fred writes about.”

    My sentiments exactly. And thanks for the links.

    “But something is afoot regarding the Internetz. Lots o’ news regarding social site data “leaks”, bot scraping, Google & the CIA (gasp!)…”

    Thank goodness I have nothing to hide!

  26. Bunn Bunn wrote: “Thank goodness I have nothing to hide!”

    And if you do, you can just hide it in plain sight like everyone does on their FB/MySpace/whatever pages. This works particularly well if your name is so common that anyone searching on it will get millions of hits.

    Now that my profile name’s been changed to Juanita SixPack, JR will never find my FB page.

  27. Way I hear’d it, everybody’s got something to hide, ‘cept for JR and his monkey.

    Or something like that.

  28. Doom wrote: “I’m Googling Juanita SixPack, JR, and Bunn Bunn. Will report moron later.”


    Still haven’t found my MySpace page, have ye? It’s hiding in plain sight like I said. Got eleventy-gazillion hits for “J6P”, hmm? Let’s see just how mad your googling skillz are.

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