I’ve got two bikes. The one I ride most often is a Raleigh Super Record from 1981. My wife gave it to me for my 30th birthday. Through the years, I rode it off and on, sometimes for as much as 40 miles at a time. But biking was not something we ever really got serious about.
The Raleigh is a 10-speed all steel road bike. It has stem-mounted friction shifters (you feel what gear you’re in–it’s easier than it sounds). The bike’s finish is scratched quite a bit, especially on the seat tube, where I used to mount a U-lock. It’s a heavy bike, which is great on downhills. It really flies. Uphills are another story. It slows fast.
Since starting to ride it seriously last summer, I have made a few modifications to the bike. First, I got clipless pedals. They’re a great addition for anyone planning to do a lot of road riding–even something less than a lot. I replaced the gel seat with a cutout model from Performance Bike. Although its front tire has a tan sidewall, I got an all black tire for the back, because of its name brand. For looks, I replaced the torn cloth bar tape with black, gray and white cork tape.
The Raleigh with the clipless pedals, black rear tire, and splash tape.
One of these days, I might get really brave and make some extensive modifications to the bike. That would involve stripping it to the bare frame, repainting it, and replacing most components. I’d like to lose the stem mounted shifters and get the kind known as “brifters,” or shifter/brake lever combinations. I’d get new wheels, the current 700C size to replace the 27-inch heavy steel wheels, and new brakes. But that won’t happen anytime soon.
My other bike is an entry-level mountain bike, a Trek 4900. It was also a birthday present from my wife, from only about five years ago. I never really took to it. The fat knobby tires put up a lot of road resistance, which scrubs off a lot of speed. I have no interest in riding off-road, so the bike is only used as a backup, if the Raleigh is temporary out of commission. I haven’t decided if I’ll keep it or get rid of it.
Since starting to ride a lot last summer, I’ve been researching bikes, and have come to the conclusion that I need something new. I’ll continue to research, but I have a feeling that that something is just around the corner. When I get it, you’ll be the first to know.
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