JIM LANGLEY REPLIES: I can provide several online outfits. You must do your homework, though, and don’t agree to anything until you’ve talked to these folks extensively and made sure they really know what they claim to. Make sure their work is worth paying for — and they’ll probably charge a lot. Decide what you’d like to spend, then stick to the number. I’ve seen people spend thousands on bikes like yours. You should know that it’s very unlikely you’ll ever get that money back on a restored girls Road Master.
I say these things because I’ve restored several bicycles and tracked down parts for them. In the balloon-tire classic-bike hobby, you run into all types. You can easily pay through the nose for something someone tells you is impossible to find, then see it for sale two weeks later for peanuts. And lots of people claim to be “experts” when they really don’t know any more than you could learn if you spent a couple of nights poring over the internet.
So, with those caveats, here are three sites to check.
- If you happen to live near Ohio, you could visit Memory Lane Classics. I’m not positive this outfit still has a storefront, but when I visited eight years ago they were very helpful and affordable.
- The Classic and Antique Bicycle Exchange is a nice site with good information.
- The annual Ann Arbor/Saline Classic Bicycle Swap Meet in Michigan is perhaps the largest classic/antique bike event in the country and a great place to find parts and information at fair prices.
Also check bike shops in your area. You may find one that knows antique bicycles, and a shop is more reliable than the shade-tree experts.
If you’d like to send a digital photo, I can check some of my books to see if there is a picture/ad of your Road Master. I don’t want to get your hopes up, but I might get lucky!