"Restoration of Old Bike Unlocks Memories"
In its 63 years, Patricia Thomas' bicycle has seen a lot of use and misuse. When they recently saw it in a state of rust and disrepair, Thomas' daughters disagreed on its future: love it or leave it. Jodie Morris of Gaithersburg won. She put the bike in her car, brought it to Maryland from Pennsylvania and started looking for someone to restore the bike that she considered had too much history to be lost.
Thomas, who is 85 and lives in Bloomsburg, Pa., bought the Raleigh bike in England in 1951 during a trip to Europe as part of a student diplomatic exchange program, according to Morris. In a phone interview, Thomas said she and others in the student group — she had just graduated from Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pa. — decided to buy bikes to ride around London and into the countryside.
But mostly she said she remembers riding from train station to train station, especially in Paris, where it was easier to get around using the Metro. "I bought it in London and paid 19 pounds for it. I think that was about $95," Thomas said. "It was considered the Cadillac of bicycles." Thomas said she brought it home after her three-month program, which included trips to France, Switzerland and Italy.
"I was reluctant to part with the bicycle because I spent so much money shipping it around that I was attached to it," she said. Back home in Pennsylvania, Thomas said, she rode the bike
around town and, as her children grew, they rode it, too.
"Eventually we had our own bikes, but it was always a backup," Morris wrote in an email. "Over the years the bike deteriorated a bit and my mother took it to a bike shop for repairs in 1976. It got
new tires and some sprucing up and she rode it in a bicentennial parade that year. She said she remembers shouting "The British are coming!' as she pedaled along."
The bike then remained unhappily ignored for years, Morris wrote, and soon it was in such a state that Morris' sister decided to junk it. "I couldn't bear the thought of discarding it," she wrote.
An Internet search led her to Vic Caldarola at Evo Cycle Works in Rockville...
The Gazette © 2015