The story of the restoration of a 1950s classic bicycle for a Land's End – John O'Groats charity ride in aid of Alzheimer's Society
A pair of Airlite large-flange hubs has arrived. They were produced by the British Hub Company, which was in business in Birmingham from 1904 into the 1960s. The Airlite was one of the top racing hubs available, made with a steel barrel and alloy flanges (for the uninitiated, the flanges are the big round bits with holes through which the spokes are threaded).
I’ve taken a risk in ordering these hubs. I’m away at the moment and have only seen them in photos and on Skype. They have had a fair amount of use and look in need of some care and attention. But the spoke holes (40 on the rear hub, 32 on the front) seem OK and the thread for the freewheel is fine, so all may be well. The critical issue is the state of the bearings, which will only become clear when I get back home and take them apart.
When I manage to find some wheel rims, I’ll have a big decision to make – should I build the wheels myself or send them to a professional wheelbuilder? I could ask Harry Rowland (“the customer is always wrong”), who recently built some beautiful wheels for my Roberts Audax bike, but I think it’d be more in the spirit of this project for me to attempt it myself. Watch this space…