I Googled my 1983 Raleigh Sprite 5-speed today, and it was referred to as vintage…
Really, I was two when I got it.
It’s like one of those IKEA infant cribs that grows with your baby. You just turn a screw here, turn a screw there, and it’s a toddler bed. Then you flip it and thump it and pop it out, and your teen can take it with him when he moves out.
Think of my 1983 Raleigh Sprite 5-speed the same way.
Mr. G, honey has been clearing out the garage, and he got to a point where I could actually turn that bike around and head out. Handlebar first.
Glee, baby, glee!
I took it to the backyard and gave it, and the G-Pup, a bath and pressure spray. That was G-Pup’s favorite part. She’s easy.
Then I gave it the once over and decided that the tires were looking a little stiff and beginning to get hairline cracks. The Raleigh’s version of a receding hairline. Since they were the original — though more than one inner tube had been replaced — that wasn’t really a shocker.
We took a little field trip over to the cycle shop and the nice, young Cycle Guy asked if I needed any help.
It went like this ~
Me: Well, I have a 1983 Raleigh Sprite…
Cycle Guy: Oh. Wow.
Me: I think the tires need replacing, and before I do anything else to the bike, I want to make sure they can be replaced. They’re 27 X 1 1/4. Can they be replaced?
Cycle Guy: Oh. Well. Let’s see. We have 26″ and…
Me: I was reading a Raleigh board this morning on the internet, and they said something about the 700 cc being an alternative.
Cycle Guy: Oh. Sure. Let me just go check at the front.
I passed the time by looking at all the non-vintage bikes — hybrid this and comfort that and touring this…
Cycle Guy: Okay. This should work. And he pulled out two from the 700 slot that were 27 X 1 1/4.
Me: What’s a Hybrid?
Cycle Guy: Oh. Well… Long explanation ensued.
Me: Do you have any Raleighs?
Cycle Guy. Oh. Actually, we don’t. We have this, that, and the other.
Me: Blink. I’ll take the tires.
**Cycle Guy said Oh and Well and Wow a lot; his blue eyes the size of dinner plates. Who could blame him. He was talking to someone who actually owned a bike made before he was born, and was planning to ride it.
Vintage probably wasn’t the word he was thinking.
I needed chocolate bad.
Mr. G, honey picked up some T.9 Bicycle Lubrication. It cleans, lubes, protects, repels dirt, dust & mud and is totally waterproof. I’m thinking of using it on myself.
We hit the library next. I decided to loll on a bench in the sunshine while he did library voodoo.
When he came out, he said: Hey lady, wanna come home with me? I bought you some new tires.
Me: New tires? I’m there, baby.
Mr G: I gotcha some lube, too. For your chains and sprockets.
Me: Tires AND lube? Wow. Now the only thing on that bike that’s gonna be rickety is me!
The Full Raleigh!
RALEIGH! RALEIGH! RALEIGH!
And that’s how we’re rolling on Saturday.