Saturday, 20 August 2016

An Oldie But Goodie: Raleigh RSW 16

Here's another Luton & Dunstable Cycling Forum Recycle Project story...

One Saturday afternoon last month, Adam disappeared into the depths of our shed looking for a longer seat post for Petra.  He began removing various bicycles and boxes of parts from the shed and laying them out on the lawn. My mind on Petra, I took little notice. I am so accustomed to seeing lots of 'junk' from the shed -- all of it donated, all of it received without inspection -- that it was several minutes before my eyes focused in any meaningful way, only for them to land on something that made me dash for my phone. 

I know nothing about Raleigh's RSW range but I knew instantly this was not another run-of-the-mill "let's see if we can transform a sow's ear into a silken purse" sort of refurbishment project. 

A few minutes later, I had uploaded a handful of photos to the Vintage Bicycles UK group on Facebook. And within 24 hours, this little beauty had a new home. 

Between Lewis's first expression of interest via Facebook and his arrival on our doorstep on Sunday evening, just about the only thing I had gleaned from the Internet about the possible value (historical or otherwise) or small-wheeled Raleighs was that, apparently, cream balloon tyres were that little bit more desirable. 

I can offer nothing more than photos. 

The only really 'bad' thing on this bicycle was the heavily corroded kickstand mount.
The kickstand itself was completely seized.

new owner Lewis very pleased with his new Raleigh

In immaculate condition, this bicycle might have fetched £100 from a knowledgeable, savvy collector. But "immaculate" this example most certainly was not! We left it entirely to Lewis' discretion to offer a donation to the Project. 

If any readers are interested in Raleigh RSWs, there is a Facebook group that seems to be an excellent all-round resource for owners and enthusiasts.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

(Not So Much) Cycling in Provence: Relaxing in Vaison-la-Romaine (Part 2)

One of the aspects of cyclo-touring that can make or break your enjoyment is getting your clothes washed and dried so you have the right kit at the right time. 

In case we thought we were the only cyclists staying in le Beffroi, spotting this from the street swiftly proved otherwise: 

Our own system was rather more discreet: 

Day 2 dawned hot and sunny yet again. Time to find out what this town is really famous for. 

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

(Not So Much) Cycling in Provence: Relaxing in Vaison-la-Romaine (Part 1)

In a slight departure from normal service, this post doesn't cover much in the way of cycling -- except for Adam's epic Sunday morning!

I awoke when I heard Adam's voice. What was this he was saying?  

"I'm going to do it."

Instantly, I knew what "it" was. We hadn't discussed it at all but, really, realistically, how can "it" not be on the mind of any cyclist visiting Provence? 

"It" being riding up Mount Ventoux. 

I was still living in a migraine fog. Adam, on the other hand, was pumped up and raring to go. He intended to ride over to the mountain, do the ascent and come back before the heat of midday. So we had an early breakfast -- one that, technically speaking, meant he was actually going to do this epic thing in a fasted state. 

Friday, 29 July 2016

Cycling In Provence: The Rhône Valley Outbound

Saturday -- the first 'proper' day of our holiday - dawned a little on the grey side. This was a blessing somewhat, as I had a migraine (triggered by a phone call that jolted me out of a deep sleep the previous evening). On my personal scale of 1 - 10 (with 10 being "shoot me now" and 5 being the threshold for "no longer able to pretend to function, must lie down in dark room"), this was running only about 3-4, so "bearable" but it certainly was casting a pall over my morning. 

Breakfast was disappointing in its lack of protein but the coffee ("American", our host said proudly) was strong and I drank two cups. 

Our bicycles had been stored in the garage overnight. It didn't take long to pack up and be on our way, with the plan being to find a grocery store on the way out of Avignon to supplement our meagre breakfast and buy provisions for a picnic lunch. 

First stop, however, was the chemists (pharmacy) around the corner from our B&B, where I bought extra-strength paracetamol + caffeine tablets to try and keep me going. 

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Cycling In Provence: Getting There

The alarm went off at 4:15am on Friday, 3rd June. Having prepared the bikes well in advance and then packed up everything but our toothbrushes the night before, we were out the door in time to catch the 05:13 train to London St. Pancras. Admittedly, I did not feel awake yet, even though I had downed a cup of coffee and then experienced the thrill of freewheeling a loaded Brompton down the 'black run' of Cutenhoe Road. 

Brompton? Yes, we were off to France for a week's cycling holiday on folding bicycles: me on Lucy my 3-speed Brompton and Adam on his heavily-modified early-1980s era Bickerton

All packed up ready to board the Eurostar service from London to Avignon.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Cycling In Provence

We have just returned from 8 days in Provence. We took our folding bicycles (Brompton for me, Bickerton for Adam) since Eurostar is still imposing prohibitive restrictions on travelling with full-size bicycles. As it happens, though, touring with small-wheeled bicycles worked out very well for us. 

I will do fuller write-ups on our travels each day as I sort through 1,500+ (!!) photographs, but here are a few highlights: 


It is of course a stereotype that French food is wonderful, but that reputation is well earned. We ate like kings every day. After the first 4-5 days, we began telling ourselves "must not eat so much today" but it was really hard to resist when the menus were so enticing. 

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Brompton Touring Mods - Part II

A few weeks ago, I set up Lucy the Brompton with everything I believed would be needed to transform her from a multi-modal commuter into a "Short(ish) Distance Touring Bicycle That Folds". 

Trying out the kit revealed a few further changes were necessary, notably a support for the Carradice saddlebag. I have an original Bagman Sport support frame but for convenience for the kind of trip we are making (including being required to take all the luggage off, fold the bike and put it into a bag while on the EuroStar trains), I decided to try the SQR system which fits to the seat post rather than to metal loops on the back of the saddle -- which isn't an option for me anyway having ditched my VeloOrange leather saddle in favour of the Selle SMP Dynamic I prefer for distances longer than a commute. 

I fitted the Carradice SQR today and I think it's a winner. The system was easy to fit and will keep my Carradice Barley saddlebag away from the backs of my legs as I pedal. The metal frame also has a nylon web handle attached to the top, which will come in handy when the bag is off the bike. 

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