My car’s name is “Hermes” and today I purchased a Hercules bike! It’s a three speed AMF Hercules with a Sturmey-Archer internal gear hub and I’m more than a little excited about it.
I did some digging around on the internet yesterday to find out a bit about the brand and discovered that Hercules was a fairly prevalent British bicycle manufacturer in the first half of the 20th century (the brand actually existed until 2003, but merged with Raleigh in 1958). Their bikes were predominantly made for the rural and urban working classes, though apparently there was a “Club” brand as well that was marketed to wealthier cyclists. I’m not entirely certain what kind mine is (or what year it is) but it is plenty sturdy so my bet is on it being one of the working class bikes. Anyhow, Sheldon Brown’s site and the unofficial online Hercules Museum have an abundance of information about the Hercules that makes for some interesting reading if you’re a geek like me and interested in English three-speeds.
The bike does need a bit of work. The gears, in particular, are a bit problematic. Sometimes the lever sticks and sometimes it moves from third to first without any option of staying in second. It could also use a paint job, but I’m not sure if I’m ambitious enough to have a go at that anytime soon. However, I had it on the road out at Cape Elizabeth and it’s definitely ride-able 🙂
It was actually really exhilarating to ride along knowing that I am now a bicycle owner. I know it’s not that huge a deal, but it feels like a momentous moment. So, that being said, I am sunburned and a little sore but shamelessly proud of my (new) bike.