Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

24 September 2012

Elswick: Sheldon's Bike

If you've read any of Sheldon Brown's writings, you might recall his joy at getting an Elswick Tour Anglais when he was a teenager.  At that time, derailleur-equipped bikes were all but unknown in the US; any bike with dropped bars was likely to be a modified three-speed bike.

As a cycling enthusiast--and fan of Sheldon--I felt his joy.  It made me want to see a Tour Anglais, or a Lincoln Imp, another Elswick he would later own and ride.



Until today, I had never seen any Elswick bike--at least that I recall.  But, as I was riding near Pratt Institute, I saw one parked by one of those lovely Victorian houses that abound in that neighborhood.

It looked like other English three-speeds of the same period, which neither surprised nor disappointed me.  Instead, it seemed absolutely fitting:  To a teenaged Sheldon in the 1950's, such a bike, however common it may have been, would have seemed otherworldly.  It's not likely that he would have known there were a whole world of bicycles like the Elswick.




That is not to say that the one I saw today wasn't lovely:  With its dark brown paint and white fender panel, it's actually rather elegant.  And you have to love that headbadge. 

Still, you have to wonder what this sticker was doing on the seat:



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