A good friend gave me this Triumph cycle manufactured in Nottingham when one of mine got stolen (I had two bikes and one bike seat stolen while living in London).
Another friend had given it to her, and she wasn't really using it!
It is so cool! Triumph bicycles have a neat history in the UK! You can see this one was already restored once by someone named Henry Burton. I thought it would be so cool to take it back to him.
From the 1930's through the 1960's, English-made 3-speed bicycles were, in some respects, the ultimate in human-powered transportation (source).
You can see the 3 speed Sturmey Archer gearhub above on the right. It had a lever to slide between gears, although it mostly just stayed stuck in 3 the whole time I had the bike.
"They [English 3-speed bicycles] spawned a vibrantly active club culture that has never been equaled. The bicycle provided unprecedented individual mobility to the British working class. The bicycle industry, centered in the enormous Raleigh factory in Nottingham, was one of the most important in the country" (source).
"Sports or "light roadster" bicycles were the basic transportation of the urban working class. They feature 590 mm (26 x 1 3/8) wheels with Endrick or Raleigh-pattern rims, full steel fenders (or "mudguards" to the British) "North Road" upright handlebars, and cable-operated brakes."
I think the bike may be the same as this 1957 model!
Riding it was really fun. So comfortable and upright. It is definitely heavier than a modern bicycle but it was so smooth! And even though I adored it, I knew other people weren't eyeing it to steal.
When I first got it I actually walked it back from my friend's flat in Kilburn to our home in Bayswater. I rode it for about a block before a tire popped on some glass!
I'm no expert but it seemed to me that the bike had hook ups for a pedal-powered light!
I originally ordered some standard, inexpensive replacement tires (tyres hehe) online but to my dismay, no standard tire would do. I had to take it to Evan's cycles so they could help me find the right ones.
The bike is scattered through posts on this blog, and I rode it lots of times handlebars in one hand, camera in the other. (Very carefully, with a helmet and on cycle paths)! ;) It's upright position made it the perfect photographer's city exploration companion.
I love the color scheme! As you see it in these photos is AFTER I had given it lots of TLC haha. Such a great bike :)
Fittingly, it went back to my friend who originally gave it to me when we left London. She is ready to take it on adventures with her little one <3. I was determined to take both this bike and a really cool single speed (see below) I picked up for under £200 that I rode to work, back to the states with me, but when that one got stolen I surrendered. (p.s. why someone stole my locked, behind a locked gate, inexpensive bike is beyond me. It was certainly pretty).
It was going to be expensive to ship them and for two I thought I'd go through the hassle, but when my friend asked me what was happening to the old Triumph bike, I knew it was meant to stay in London!