Hello from the middle of Montana

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Hey there from rural Montana. I live in Choteau County, which has a population of maybe about 5 or 6 thousand, including chickens. Years ago I was really into mountain biking. Over the years work, age and family resposibilities have taken their toll on that hobby. Last week I had an epiphany though and it looks like I will be getting back into bikes in a big way. Here's how it went down...

So we stayed at the fair in Fort Benton, MT most of last week and of course the boys (ages 7 &9) had to bring their bikes. Naturally Jacob’s front wheel got ran over by a truck on day 2 of 6. He had a good attitude and we did a cheesy trail fix by running it over and banging on it with a hammer but it was a limp home fix at best and not really useable. We ran around Fort Benton looking for a new or scrap wheel with no success. The we saw a second had place with antiques with a row of bikes. Most we garage sale rejects, huffys from the ’80s with seized up shifters and non functioning brakes. On of those weird folding bikes with too many moving parts and a mint vintage schwinn for $700. The on the end of the line we noticed a stripped down patina laden old school one speed with a coat of black that was peeling off of the original red. It was light, simple, had 26” tires that held air and it even rode nice. Jacob could even ride it. The lady wanted $75 but with a little persuasion and the sad ran over bike story Jacob got her down to $45 and he drove off with a new ride to rock at the fairgrounds. All the other kids were instantly jealous of the cool vitage frame and the way higher than kiddy gearing that allowed him to go twice as fast as everybody else. I have to say that while the frame feels a little short for me this thing rides great!

From what we can tell it is a 1954 or slightly older Hawthorn, made in Birmingham England by Hawthorn/Hercules Bicycles before they were bought out by Raleigh. Most of you probably know more about this bike than me at this point. I'm still working on getting a positive ID so I will post it up here soon.

He plans to run it as a “rat rod” bike with some newer, bigger tires and maybe a few other modern bits. I tried to buy it off him at a substantial proffit but he's not selling, so it looks like we will go garage saleing this weekend to find a platform for my own rat bike build. I want to fit fater tires though.

What I like about this faction of the cycling hobby is that you kind of have a moving, rideable modern sculpture that can be scrounged and put together without thousands of dollars. We have built a few 4WDs and vehicles in the past and have the full repituear of fabrication skills and tools so we are good to go there as well. I am excited to build these with my boys. They are plenty interested in 4x4s and cars but vehicles are still a little big and dangerous for them to work on with their own hands. Bikes fit a little better...

Wheel On!
 
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Thanks I will keep it in mind. We go over there a couple times a year anyway.
 

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