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Saturday, August 04, 2012

Interesting Bikes Spotted: Antique Phillips Roadster

One thing that I've noticed as my bike obsession has increased over the years is how I spot more and more interesting bikes. If I was solipsistic I would assume that the number of interesting bikes in Portland has increased over the years. While that's partially true (thank you, hotbed of framebuilders), interesting bikes have always been around. I've just started to notice them.

And it seems like no ride around this cursed cesspool of fancy coffee shops* is complete without spotting an interesting bike. Today's bike was spotted on Tuesday when I was flyering for my Three Speed Ride. This baby was parked in front of a bike shop on SE Foster Road.

A single-speed, rod-braked Phillips Roadster! With quite the patina.

Phillips was of course a British bicycle maker. Phillips was based in Birmingham and part of the B.C.C. (British Cycling Corporation). It was a fairly large and respectable bicycle maker...until it got subsumed by the Great All-Devouring Beast Known As Raleigh in 1960. Phillips became yet another badge in the Raleigh hierarchy, one pushed to the bottom of the pecking order.

I'm no British bike expert (leave that to the Raving Bike Fiend), but I'm going to make an educated guess that this Phillips is pre-1960, pre-Raleigh takeover, which makes this bike more special.

But even if this was a post-1960 bike, it's still an exemplary steed. Check it out:
Rod brakes and bottle dynamo

Bosch headlamp
Full chaincase!
And a saddle only a mother could love. 
UPDATE 8/8/12: Speculation via flickr:
"Judging by the frame construction, and the pattern of the ventilator cut-out, I'd say that this is almost certainly a Lepper saddle." 

See any interesting bikes lately?

*Mostly kidding, of course.**
**But seriously, why is it that more and more of these fancy coffee shops have fuck all when it comes to food? For instance, on Friday morning I met a friend for coffee at one of these shops of coffee fanciness. It was breakfast time and I was hungry. So I had to settle for a dinky pastry that cost like $3.50. It makes me long for a bagel.***
***Yeah yeah, I could have just had a bowl of muesli before I left the house. Whatever.


  1. Very impressive use of the word "solipsistic". Well done.

  2. I'm sure that saddle is quite comfortable really...

  3. I was give a Phillips Roadster as a 9th birthday present in 1953. I kept it shiny and clean like new. I only got to ride it for a short time as I was taken from one Boys Home to another where those in charge locked it away in a shed. I gained entry to the shed after three years to find my pride and joy was a rusted deflated wreck.
    The words "Phillips Roadster" still bring tears to my eyes almost sixty years later.
    Be good to each other and don't act with hatred towards your fellow human beings.

  4. Hi,

    I think i found one on these in an old bark.

    I had put some fotos in here:

    If someone is able to help me to identify it, please, be my guest :)


    1. Anon 7/4, I would also post that to the Classic and Vintage sub-forum over at They are knowledgeable folk!


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