I picked up on older English three-speed at side-of-road a couple weeks ago. I tuned, oiled, chained and polished. I’m still working out a solution for the dull paint.
It’s a step through, which is commonly referred to in North America as a ‘ladies bike’. Originally, the ladies frame was called that because it made mounting and dismounting the bike much more palatable while wearing a skirt. The leg did not have to swing so high over the top-tube. As a side-effect, they are much faster to mount and dismount too.
My observation is that there are more of these 70’s vintage bikes around in ladies style than mens. I chauvinistically infer that’s because they were ridden less and more gently and therefore survived much longer in numbers.
To the point now, this bike is a pretty standard affair for that vintage bike. It’s got nice swept back bars, comfortable riding position, stock fenders. I’m looking forward to riding it to work next week, mostly so I can freak out the establishment. After that, I’d like to keep it as a neighbourhood cruiser because I can ride it with my flip-flops and it screams ‘no helmet’.
I personally don’t have any masculinity issues riding a step through frame. Should I? Is the ‘gender frame’ an anachronism these days? Is your answer different when the bike in question is new?