Registration has opened up for the Eroica California and I plan to sign up for the 123mile route which I believe is supposed to be very difficult (I love a challenge). I have already started searching for a suitable mount for the event but I know exactly what I am looking for. I want to ride the event on a 1930’s pathracer style machine and for a suitable donor bike I have been scouring Craigs List for a Raleigh Tourist DL-1. This bike has exactly the long laid back look I am after. It seems to me that most of the DL-1’s that appear on CL get bought by restoration shops that buy them cheap, tart them up and sell them for 2 to 3 times the original price. Considering I am planning on gutting the bike to make it into a pathracer this seems an awful waste to me. In the last 3 weeks I haven’t seen a single suitable donor bike for sale for a reasonable price.
Challenges for the DL-1 build would include how to integrate the rod style brakes with some Major Taylor bars and the Cottered cranks that I absolutely hated as a child but are period correct. The other problem i have with the rod brakes is how they would cope with the very hilly 123 mile course. I don’t expect to have modern braking performance but they have to be good enough that the bike can actually stop on some steep gravel descent.
Option 2 is to go out and buy a Pashley Guvnor where all the hard work has already been done for me and I would have a bike that is much more suitable for the 123mile route. It has better brakes and a much nicer frame in glorious 531. They are rare as hens teeth in Northern California but I am keeping my eyes open for a 22.5″ 3 spd model coming up for sale. Downsides to the Guvnor is the steep price and a few items that are not so period correct. I think the stock crankset looks particularly out of place and I would want to run Major Taylor bars which would create it’s own challenge in terms of brake lever and shifter setup. The bike below has a different crankset and the major Taylor bars which would be absolutely spot on for me.
My final challenge is to go back to having a brooks saddle. In my teens I rode Brooks saddles and found them to be the most uncomfortable things ever created. After switching to a San Marco Turbo saddle I vowed never to let my cheeks touch a Brooks ever again. I hope the saddles have improved as they are essential for the period correct look. Another thing I cant understand with Brooks saddles is why so many people run them with the nose pointing upwards which must surely be absolute hell on your family allowance. As I said earlier in this blog post….I like a challenge.
If anyone out there has a Guvnor or DL-1 for sale please let me know.