bicycle union express special

In the spirit of someone who does regular blog posts I am going to tell you about what I have done today. This is something that will be intensely (almost unbearably) interesting.

Today I went early to see a bicycle so that I could buy it and ride it. It was on a driveway and looked slightly red and more knackered. The photograph I had seen suggested that it would be less knackered. The lady said that she had only just got it out of the garage, she had not looked at it before trying to sell it. I sat on it and the tyres were flat but I gave the lady fifty English and rode off feeling not completely content about what I had just done.

The bicycle’s name is Union Express Special (like it wants to be a train) and it is from Holland.

I rode Union Express Special to the bike shop and bought two new tyres for it. Union Express Special expressed its delight by falling over. The man asked if I would like him to fit the tyres. I told him to get knotted and Union Express Special agreed. We left the shop with an inflated sense of independence and then I remembered that I hadn’t changed a back tyre before. Union Express Special began to think of me as a potential menace and I felt a growing need to make friends with it.

When I got it home, Union Express Special rejected its chain and sat there looking like this:

Union Express Special









I took pity. It was only acting up because it had just been ridden and relocated, two things that hadn’t happened for a very long time, and so I got to work with a gentle programme of unbolting, rebolting and other appropriate actions.

Changing a back tyre is basically the same as changing a front tyre. Union Express Special was pleased and fell over whilst I smiled knowingly and shook my head.

Check out this website on Sturmey Archer heritage, it’s amazing. This website is also amazing, especially the articles on 3 speeds and old Raleighs. Union Express Special has a gear change lever design that dates it from between 1970 and 1976, however the number stamped on the Sturmey hub puts it at 1980. It is an enigmatic bicycle. The gears did not calibrate properly when adjusted to the manufacturer’s recommendation. I sorted it though. I think it was a test.

Anyway, now it looks like this:

clean union express special









So it looks the same. The real difference is in the bond we have developed, it has learnt to trust me and I have anthropomorphed it into an avatar for some kind of insecurity.

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