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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Already missing the Raleigh?

Slowly the reality of my situation is creeping in. In less than a week we depart! So much to do in the interim. Pack up a house and put it in storage. Finish a few pressing illustration assignments. Get work done on the Long Haul Trucker. These things will be forgotten about when we get on the road.

But being on the road is a whole different mindset and lifestyle. Days dominated by riding, eating, breaking, repeat. Thinking about food and where we're going to stop. Creating "home" every night in a different place. It's hard to wrap my head around the fact that the days of coming back to the apartment in the evening and just putzing around are over. So I'm trying to savor these moments, as it will be months before we return to this semblance of normality.

I know that once I'm on the road I'll get used to these things, even if they can wear over time. I'll get used to having a limited, basic amount of possessions. I'll get used to having a few pairs of clothes to wear day in day out for months. I won't think much about the things I'm putting away. But every once in awhile I will wish I had access to something that I can't get.

And even though this trip will have lots of cycling (and I'll get real personal with the Long Haul Trucker), I'm going to miss the Raleigh Wayfarer. The bike has grown on me. What was once a $30 Craigslist score six months ago with the intention of being a fun "project" has grown into my daily rider. Months ago I worried about the hundreds of dollars I was investing into this bike, wondering if I would even like the thing. Now months later I don't regret a penny spent. But in a few days the bike will be put away, not to be ridden until at least November. 

So I've been getting in as much riding time with the Raleigh as possible. And thankfully the weather finally got good this week--sunny days with highs in the 70's. Late spring, finally.

Of course this story has to have a bittersweet ending. The rear wheel broke a spoke the other day. Jim at Oregon Bike Shop didn't have a replacement spoke (go weird wheel size!) but removed the offending spoke and somehow managed to true it so the wheel is somewhat "straight". But I know this is a temporary fix, replacing the spoke or not. I knew months ago that the wheel wasn't good and was living on borrowed time. I knew that at some point I'd have to get the wheel rebuilt or replaced. I just hoped I wouldn't have to think about it until I returned from my trip. 


  1. So of course I see this just after Katrina drives off with *my* Raleigh. And I had this similar moment of sighing in wistfulness.

    She'll take good care of it though.

  2. It probably isn't a huge job to rebuild, plus it will give you an opportunity to change the hub type if you wish. The Shimano Nexus 3 speed has a slightly wider range than the SA ones, and you can get a roller brake too if you wish, which has a few advantages. Having said that, I've found the SA X-RD3 hub to be a great choice too on my Raleigh.

  3. Mr. C--

    Are you suggesting putting a Shimano 3-speed hub on a Raleigh?

    BLASPHEMY!! And from you of all people! ;-)

    Nah man, the AW is a keeper. I want to keep it somewhat thematically correct. And the thing shifts like buddah. (Which is not the deity but like New Yorkers with thick accents call "butter". You're welcome for the translation.)

  4. I actually saw a blue Raleigh Wayfarer parked up here in Manchester a few days ago. No cream coloured tyres though.

    Here in the UK the X-RD3 hub is more expensive than the cost of a Shimano Nexus Inter-3 for roller brakes and a basic roller brake. I've been quite impressed with roller brakes recently, both mechanically and performance-wise.

    I'm sure you've noticed that the main theme here is my preference for avoiding the need to use rim brakes. If the wheel is to be re-built though, a nice aluminium rim will be great for rim braking. I'd happily put a thematically wrong hub in a bike if it got me out of using rim brakes on steel rims.

  5. Mr. C--I would definitely rebuild with alloy rims, most likely a CR18. I upgraded the calipers too, from the "okay" Raleighs to some 70's center pull Dia-Compes. Braking is quite a bit better!

    As for roller/drum brakes, I will probably experiment more with them in the future. But to be honest, I'm not that gung-ho about them. I understand the benefits of them, but I'd rather have a real good rim brake on the front (or a disc!) than a roller or drum brake. Guess that doesn't make me a true transportational cyclist. (That and the fact I own a helment! ;-))

    The other reason why I don't want to change the rear hub is that I like the fact that I have a perfectly functional piece of equipment that is sixty years old! I want to keep that thing going for as long as it can.

    And I guess I figured out the secret of eliciting a comment from you on this here blorg. I can do dozens of post about my bike tour and nary a peep from you. But talk about the wheels on my Raleigh... ;-)

  6. Oh, and did you happen to snap a photo of the Wayfarer, cream tires or not?

  7. @Adventure

    I'm afraid my hands were full with the huge sandwich I had just bought. I'll keep an eye out for it again though.

    I have been reading eagerly about your tour plans, but having little personal experience in that area I have little to contribute in the form of comments other than to wish you good luck. I hope you are able to continue to post about your experiences whilst you are away.

    I didn't realise quite how old the AW hub on your Wayfarer was, at that age I'd definitely want to keep it going as long as possible. AWs from before WW2 regularly come up for sale on UK eBay in good working order. Truly an impressive piece of engineering.

  8. Ah, Mr. C, no worries. Just next time you have to send me some of your sandwich! ;-)

    Yeah, it's amazing how old the hub is, especially since the bike is from the '70's (we assume.)

    And we'll get you on a bike tour soon enough, don't you worry! You should do one on your DL-1!


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