NOTE 23 January 2014: New posts are no longer posted to this blog. New stuff at my new blog, Please go there! All old and new posts are there, and you can also comment, too!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Other People's Bikes: A Trio of British Three Speeds*

Hello friends and welcome to another installment of everyone's favorite game show, "Spot that bike!" And this one is all-British edition. While British built bikes are not uncommon stateside, most of them seen over here are Raleighs. Which makes sense, as Raleigh was the behemoth of the industry and exported a lot of bikes. The three bikes featured today are less commonly seen badges.

First let's go back to the Cross-Continent Bike Tour. While April and I were in Minneapolis, we spotted this beauty outside a liquor store:**

A Dunelt ladies bike in delightful condition! Not a heck of a lot of info online about Dunelt. Sheldon Brown indicates it was a second-tier brand, not as nice as Raleigh/Humber/Rudge. Doesn't matter. Still a beautiful bike, and a lot better than anything Huffy, Murray, or AMF could make at the time. (If you are interested, here's an interesting account about another black ladies Dunelt from Minneapolis from the same era.)

Later on in the tour, but not much later, we were riding through the beautiful Mississippi River valley, the "bluff" country of Minnesota and Wisconsin. We stopped at River Rider bicycle shop in Wabasha, MN and peeped this looker:

A Triumph in terrific condition! Triumph is more known for its motorcycles. Raleigh earned the bicycle rights in 1956 via its acquisition of B.S.A. and used the Triumph badge for more "second-tier" bikes. Triumph bicycles should not be confused with the band Triumph, which was a second-tier Rush.***
Fighting the good fight with bellbottoms. And no, this is not Rush. Seriously.

Finding my way back to the item on hand...Dave, the owner of River Rider said he was basically given this bike for nothing. It sat in someone's garage for 40 years, and they "figured he could do something with it." Yeesh. How I wish I was so lucky!

Finally, we'll come back to Portland where April and I spotted this specimen outside the Clinton Street Theater:

A Philips in phantastic shape! From Sheldon Brown, "A division of B.C.C. (British Cycle Corporation), Phillips, based in Birmingham, was the second-largest British bike maker until merged with Raleigh as part of the TI takeover in 1960. Raleigh-made Phillips models are near the bottom of the quality range." Near the bottom? Pshaw. You're a good bike, Philips. Don't listen to what that mean Sheldon man has to say about you.****
Lamp bracket with "P" cutout.
This Philips is different than the other two bikes featured because it is actually a single speed with coaster brake, not something I normally associate with British bikes of the era. Too bad the day was wet, because I can only imagine how awesome that saddle is that is concealed by the bag. (I was tempted to look, but the owner of the bike came out of a store and gave a disapproving look to all my paparazzi biz-ness.)
Unknown coaster hub.

Tune in next time for more interesting bikes, possibly from far-off lands. And in the meantime you can check some of the interesting bikes I've peeped on my flickr set Interesting Bikes Spotted.

*Okay, two three-speeds and a single speed. But British roadsters and sport-roadsters of that era are generically called "three-speeds", much like road bikes up until the 90's were called "ten-speeds" even if they had 5, 12, or 15 "speeds".
***Yet they were both from Canada, eh?
****No, I don't really think Sheldon Brown is "mean".


  1. Pretty stylish blog/store you've got going on here! I'm a fan of planetary gears myself, but more of the Fichtel & Sachs variety. I've subscribed and will most likely be back for some posters and buttons in the near future!

  2. Thanks, Thomas! Haven't got my hands on Fichtel or Sachs hubs yet, but maybe at some point!


I'm no longer allowing new comments on this blog. You can comment on the exact same post on the new blog. Go find it over at

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.