[Wayne sent us these photos of the 1963 Royce Union he refurbished for his daughter. —Alan]
This bicycle was purchased new by my mother in 1963. Although it was nothing particularly special at that time, over the years it has taken on new meaning. For the past 30+ years, it has sat in the garage, collecting lots of dust and slowly corroding. I decided to refurbish it as a unique gift for my daughter, who appreciates good things from the past.
Although the brand name is Royce Union, the bicycle was built in the Raleigh factory in Nottingham, England. Upon complete dis-assembly, I noticed that some of the components are stamped with the Raleigh heron. After cleaning, lubing, re-assembling and adjusting everything, it’s probably in better shape now than it was when new. When I took the Sturmey Archer 3-speed hub apart, I found it to be amazing and elegant in its simplicity. I decided against repainting the frame because that would have eliminated the character shown by the slightly worn decals; it polished up quite nicely. The only new parts it needed were a wheel bearing cone, tires & inner tubes, brake pads and saddle – and lots of elbow grease.
Having lived in Japan for a year where most people ride bicycles every day, my daughter has realized that these are for genuine transportation. Right now she uses it for recreational riding in the suburbs, but she has plans to use it as her main transportation soon when she moves to a more urban setting. She will get many more years of enjoyment and service out of this working-class bicycle, reincarnated for a new generation.