I want it to be something kinda special, she's my mom after all. A while back I was sitting with Aunt Charlotte and an old family friend B shows up as scheduled to watch 60 Minutes with my aunt.
We chatted and she says to me "I haven't ridden my bike in decades, do you know anyone who'd want it?"
I said yes, I know three women looking for bikes, can you tell me more
B: "Well I got it when I was studying in Europe, I brought it back on the boat with me. I had to go get it at the workshop, I was too tall for the stock bikes in the store."
Charlotte: "How tall are you?"
B: "Five eight and a half"
Charlotte: "Ah, the same height as me and my mom and my sister - it will have to be for one of them!"
B: "Perfect. It's an obscure brand - a Dawes."
Charlotte: "NO WAY! I ride a Dawes!!!"
(both of us start getting really excited)
B: "Well, it is blue, it has white plastic fenders, and it was
made in 1954. It's all original except I had new tires put on about 20
Charlotte: "My mother was born in 1954."
B: "Tell your mother she can have my bike."
My mother is thrilled, she misses the old town where this bike is and loves that her bike is coming from our friend.
I picked it up this weekend at Aunt Charlotte's 97th birthday party. I simply pumped up the tires and rode it down from her house to ours. Here are some photos:
Here's the bike in its basement where it's been stored for basically my entire lifetime.
The traditional Dawes headbadge.
The "before" photo. My mom gets a dynohub!
I welcome any suggestions in getting this bike fixed up. It's pretty rusty/mildewy and I don't want to hurt the enamel paint. There are chrome parts that we know are not original (the handlebars) so I'm not going to restore those. The frame though, is Reynolds 531, which I believe is rare for a ladies' bike. They don't usually use the good stuff for them. This is consistent with Dawes' reputation in that era:
"Dawes approach to bicycles was opposite to that of many of the large volume builders. They put the emphasis and the bulk of the value into the frame, which establishes the ride characteristics. Most of the large volume manufacturers lured buyers with the emphasis on the components. Given that components are easier and less expensive to upgrade than a frame, Dawes approach was appealing the knowledgeable cyclist. The approach was not unique to Dawes, but it certainly wasn't mainstream."
PS. The birthday party went very well and the lemon cake was the first cake gone.