The Raleigh Superbe

This would have been very similar to the matched pair of bicycles my father bought for himself and my mother back in the late 1960s:

Raleigh Superbe
Raleigh Superbe, from

It’s all quite familiar: the green-and-white two-tone paint, Brooks leather saddle, color-matched rear rack, ineffectual silver pump, dynamo hub and rear Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub.

One extra not shown here would be the chrome bulb horn:

Bulb Horn
Bulb Horn (via Amazon)

In my preteens, for want of anything else, I rode my mother’s bike into the ground. I remember that the saddle in particular had given up any pretense at stiffness and just sagged like a wet towel on its frame.

A couple of years later I’d acquired what we called then a “banana bike,” something similar to but not quite as nice as this:

Schwinn Stingray Bike
Schwinn Stingray Bike

… which again had the Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub, which in this case never worked properly and is the reason I continue to view Rohloff Speedhubs

with great suspicion.

(And it was another couple of years before I bought my first “proper” bike. I don’t remember now if it was a Raleigh or something else, but it had more in common with the bikes my friends and I ride today than with these chari … )

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