It all started with a ’65 Raleigh Deluxe I found in my building’s basement. A summer of tinkering around with the Raleigh led to four years of commuting on a Gary Fisher Simple City 3, and then the gateway drug of owning a vintage Motebecane road bike. Now I find myself owning a new steed for the stable – a 2012 Raleigh Grand Prix.
Ever since that first Raleigh, I’ve appreciated the brand and its “everyman” heritage, and let’s face it, lines and materials matter. I’m a bit obsessed with the classic look and ride of steel, and luckily enough, this Raleigh is even constructed with a luged frame. Steel rides better (in my opinion), lasts longer, and ages more gracefully. You don’t see vintage aluminum or carbon fiber bikes being used. Granted, those frames are lighter and better suited for road racing, but I’m not trying to shave weight off of my bike to win. In fact, I probably need to push a few extra pounds around just for the exercise.
Right now, my rides revolve around coffee, cityscape commutes, and long riverside rides. I’m hoping that turns into miles marked by switchbacks and stone walls. I’m looking forward to a long spring and summer atop the Grand Prix’s lugged steel frame and my Brooks Cambium Saddle. About the only thing I’m missing is some Rapha kit. What is it they say? 1. Socks match the kit, match the bike, match the wheels. 2. Glasses over helmet straps. 3. Flip the lid.