[CR]Golden Arrow

Example: Framebuilders:Alex Singer

From: "Art Smith" <ahsmith49@cox.net>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
References: <CATFOODM4BAyxJMXehY00002e31@catfood.nt.phred.org>
Date: Sat, 18 May 2002 16:34:51 -0700
Subject: [CR]Golden Arrow

A friend told me about a bike for sale on a non-bike site. There was a picture of a roadster frame, fenders, unusual drop bars, drum brakes. big bike bag. I contacted the seller, an eighty year old gentleman from Boston.The bike was a Golden Arrow, 1938. In 38 his father offered the seller, then 16, and his older brother the choice between buying and sharing a jalopy or getting their own bikes. The brother chose the Record Ace, the seller the Golden Arrow. This is how it went. I'd ask about the bike and the seller would reel off these great stories...riding the Arrow from Boston to Canada in the forties, commuting to classes at Harvard, his son using the bike when he went to school, crashing into the back of a bus, having the bike stolen in 39 and being recovered by the police minus the saddle and bars which he recplaced. The fellow wasn't looking for a buyer, but rather someone to adopt one of his children! I paid $500 for the bike and all of the accessories, tool kit, Brooks carradice, lights, 70's Bluemels and the original rear Brittanica, and paper and a personal written history of this man's one and only bike. He even had his daughter call me months later to make sure I was happy with the bike. A year after the purchase he sent me the original can of S/A oil. The bike was built up with Marsh bars, S/A drum brakes front and rear, a very old Brooks saddle, and a top tube mounted shifter for the S/A 3 speed hub. He told me that the bikes were early imports to the Boston area and that one could customize the bike with details like wheels and bars. Much to my disappointment the bike had suffered some frame damage in the accident 25 years ago. Bent fork and slight bends in the top and down tubes. Chuck's comments about repaints seem appropriate here. I have way too much money into this bike to restore it, not that I'd want to, but the frame does demand some attention. It's got a great history but I don't have a museum to house it in. Parts are cool and I've thought of swapping them out on a similar vintage frame and keeping the frame in the attic. I don't feel like the guy intentionally burned me in any way and I never felt comfortable going back with him about the frame.It has made me appreciate buying bikes in the flesh...I might have missed the damage in person, but probably not. I'm less apt to want to sell a bike or frame through photos because I want someone to know exactly what they're getting. I've floated out the bike's availability here and elsewhere, but I'm not sure if parting it out is a good thing. Maybe I should just keep it, flawed as it is. Riding it for the first time carried with it all of the history and adventures this bike has had. This was one man's bike for a lifetime, not a wall hanger or part of his herd. It seems like that fact alone ought to keep the bike in the world. Any suggestions?

Art Smith
100+ in dry Phoenix