Old Smoke: The genus of Yalda’s bike

Last week I had to go to London for a meeting, in the city the air was thick with pollen and dust and the sun was baking. I was carried by foot from Waterloo to St James’ Park caught up in the flow of a mass of humanity from all over the world. The traffic was angry, buzzing, beeping, inching forwards, bullying. But in betwen the trapped motorists there flew other road users. They flitted easily between the stranded vehicles, weaving around bewildered and heat-struck pedestrians and away towards their destinations.

The jacket must come off in this weather, I love the braces

Savoring a moments gap in the traffic. The jacket must come off in this weather, I love the braces

Everywhere, bikes were outside shops, chained to railings. A lot of fixies, they’re still in fashion.

Here’s an interesting bike I saw outside borders (not a fixie):

Bike outside borders, note the loose bartape

Bike outside borders, note the loose bartape

Decal details

Decal details

Finally, here is a picture of Yalda’s bike. Yalda works for The Prince’s Rainforests Project (and I urge you to add your name to the call to end rainforest destruction here) and rides her bike into work. Often she must put up with blinkered mockery of the age of her bicycle, no doubt perpetrated by riders of more modern conveyances. Some of them may even use gears!

Does anyone know which vintage Raleigh bike Yalda rides?

Does anyone know which vintage Raleigh bike Yalda rides?

Yes that’s right, Yalda rides singlespeed (but not fixed) and scorns the use of gears, claiming that they are ‘new-fangled’. Much of the componentry has been replaced, but it still has the classic Raleigh Heron cranks, and ‘Handbuilt in England’ on the tubes. Does anyone have any idea as to the model of Yalda’s bike? I think maybe a contessa, but perhaps that’s because it’s the only one I know. Yalda rides it everywhere, and claims that the only thing that gets stolen from it is the plastic bag (for the saddle) when it rains.

Yalda would love to know how old her bike is, if you think you know the model of her bicycle please leave a comment below, or even if you just like her bike, leave an appreciative comment here and give her some ammunition against her faithful steed’s detractors.

Published in: on June 5, 2009 at 11:36 pm  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Yalda’s bike is of a timeless design. That frame was used for the Sports and Superbes that Raleigh produced for so many years. If her rear hub is an original Sturmey Archer it should be dated. Otherwise it “may” be possible to date if from the serial number, but that is seldom successful in my experience. If the crankset is OEM it is a pre 1974 model. The intermediate webs between the Herons were dropped around that time.

    Aaron

  2. A larger version of the picture would help 😉 also closeups of details. Does it have any braze on fittings?

    Aaron

    • How exciting and hooray for the internet. Thanks for your comments, I shall ask Yalda if she can answer your questions and take some close up shots of the bike.

      • …and by OEM do you mean did it come with the bike?

  3. Yes…OEM= Original Equipment Manufacture or what came on it when it was new.

    Aaron

  4. Yalda, cool bike! I love cycling as much as you do but I think a singly will kill me, cudos for stll getting around on the old girl…


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