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Old 07-03-11, 07:08 AM   #1
duceditor
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First Real Ride in Thirty Years

In another thread I spoke about my wife and I bringing our 42 year old Raleighs back into service. Well yesterday I picked mine up and took it out for a short test ride, but this morning I took my first real ride in over thirty years.

Now obviously by "real ride" I'm not putting myself in league with most of you here. My old bod just isn't up to that yet. But I did do some serious riding for about about thirty minutes, including both flat bike paths and (alas) the hills that have to be conquered to reach anything more than a hundred yards from my home. This is, after all, the Monadnocks, named for the mountains (Mt. Monadnock and Pk. Monadnock) and their respective foothills that surround my home East and West.

I kept within a relatively short distance from my home by going to a local bike path and going first one direction, then back past my entry point, the other, then back home.

My reason for the above was two fold: One, I really wasn't sure how I'd do, the other was lack of confidence in just-out-of-storage the bike.

In truth I needn't have worried about either, although we both were found in need of some adjustment.

As to me, the Brooks saddle just put on my bike (and older "Brooks Professional" - see below) is narrower than any I'd ridden on in the past, although a good fit according to the reading of the 'assometer' at my local bike shop.
I found the saddle hard but not uncomfortable in the sense that there was not butt burn or chaffing. But then again this was only a half hour ride.

I had no major muscle issues. This, I expect, because I regularly do a lot of brisk walking (several miles per day) and because I have a regimen of stretching given me by a physical therapist after a back injury.

But oh, my heart and lungs on those hills! Getting past this will take time and effort.

But despite the above when I got home I felt well enough to spend some time making small adjustments to the bike (I raised the seat another quarter inch) and tweaked the ultralow/high gear actuator - always a finicky thing on Raleigh internal gear hubs with five speeds.

Anyone who went this route before me having suggestions I'd love to hear them!

-Don
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Old 07-03-11, 07:41 AM   #2
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Good for you, that's good to read.

Nice looking bike and saddle

Just a possibly irrelevant thought. New marathon runners are often told 'don't work on the engine before you've worked on the chassis'

Which translates as, when you pick up a pattern of exercise, your heart and lungs will often get more efficient quite quickly,but it takes your joints and ligaments and muscles and tendons a bit longer, so give them time.

In your case, it sounds like the 'chassis' is in good shape and the 'engine' will get tuned up quickly given your walking background - but keep the two in step. Enjoy.
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Old 07-03-11, 07:56 AM   #3
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Sounds like you are off to a good start. Keep it up!
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Old 07-03-11, 08:32 AM   #4
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But oh, my heart and lungs on those hills! Getting past this will take time and effort.
You sound like me. I bought my bike in April, and spent the first two months riding on the local MUP, which is relatively flat, until I had built my skills and confidence. I finally started riding on the local roads last week. I live in a fairly hilly area, and quickly found out how much harder it is to cycle up hills. Oh well, that's just how the local terrain is, so I will have to develop a training regimen to build my hill-climbing ability.
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Old 07-03-11, 09:35 AM   #5
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Welcome. You are indeed off to a fine start, and old Raleighs are very cool in my book.
As long as you keep riding, you will find it getting easier and easier. Those hills that seem hard now won't seem nearly as hard in a few weeks.

Off topic, but regarding old Raleighs: I encountered a gent on Friday, at my LBS. He had purchased a classic 70s Raleigh Super Course at a yard sale for twenty bucks. The LBS brought it up to snuff. New bearings, wheels trued, new tires (the originals had dry rotted)
and some tweaks. And he loves it.

duceditor, post some more pics of your Raleigh, if possible. Five speed, internal hub gear.. Yow!
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Old 07-03-11, 09:44 AM   #6
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Great. Glad you got the first ride in. Now the second, third, fourth....1,000th are all possible. Ride on!
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Old 07-03-11, 10:41 AM   #7
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Welcome. You are indeed off to a fine start, and old Raleighs are very cool in my book.
it.

duceditor, post some more pics of your Raleigh, if possible. Five speed, internal hub gear.. Yow!
First off thank to all for your very encouraging comments. What a wonderful group here! So much appreciated!

Now for those pix...
Here is mine post first service in 42 years. Would you believe the tires and tubes were still judged OK? (Thus my staying close to home for that first ride)





Still some work to do polishing out the chrome, etc., but for a 42 year bike, neglected and left in a shed for about 30 years, I was truly amazed what shape they were in.

And here is mine with my wife's just after I took them out of the shed and gave them a quick 'hose off.' (Hers is in being serviced now.)



-don
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Old 07-03-11, 12:01 PM   #8
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First off thank to all for your very encouraging comments. What a wonderful group here! So much appreciated!

Now for those pix...
Here is mine post first service in 42 years. Would you believe the tires and tubes were still judged OK? (Thus my staying close to home for that first ride)





Still some work to do polishing out the chrome, etc., but for a 42 year bike, neglected and left in a shed for about 30 years, I was truly amazed what shape they were in.

And here is mine with my wife's just after I took them out of the shed and gave them a quick 'hose off.' (Hers is in being serviced now.)



-don
Great looking bikes. Looks like they were stashed away when brand new. Looks like you've got an early 2 cable 5 speed there. Should work just fine as long as you get the shifting dialed just right.
Both cables slack should give you 4th gear. The right side, you set up like a normal 3 speed. Just a tiny bit of free play in 1st, completely slack in high. Be sure to feed it a bit of oil now and then.
Great looking Brooks saddle. You have a couple of real classics there.
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Old 07-03-11, 12:52 PM   #9
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Beautiful bikes!
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Old 07-03-11, 01:04 PM   #10
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I know your home turf fairly well as I've hiked Monodnock many times as well as the Wapack Trail. That is a gorgeous area to hike, but for cycling, as you say, many hills. As an asthmatic, even as I get in better physical condition and have even begun to look forward to the challenge of hills, it has become clear the Tour de France is not in my future. My only advice is learn to love 'em.

Your bikes are beautiful and elegant. As a yacht builder who has worked on classic yachts and living near Newport, Rhode Island, which has a large portion of the worlds classic yachts, I am delighted that designs 40, 50 or 60 years old still look attractive. The current crop of boats and bikes look dated after just a few years and in fact are ready for the junk pile. I'm a 72 y.o. design and loving the cycling. I really hope such will be the case for your wife and yourself.
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Old 07-03-11, 01:56 PM   #11
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. . .
Anyone who went this route before me having suggestions I'd love to hear them!

-Don
Ride. Ride. Ride. Enjoy. Repeat.
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Old 07-03-11, 02:08 PM   #12
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Congratulations on your ride. It's good to hear stories like yours. I think you are on the right path as far as what you are doing to get back into cycling. I remember the first day that I got my bike after not riding for over 20 years. I tried to do around a mile in my neighborhood and could barely walk for the next two days. It took me riding every day, but before I knew it, I was doing half centuries and metric centuries and now working on a full century in the near future. Just don't give up. You will probably end up regretting it if you do.
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Old 07-03-11, 07:29 PM   #13
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Just don't give up. You will probably end up regretting it if you do.
Thanks for the encouraging example John!

I'm not a "give up" type of guy -- not at least for anything I value.

Will bicycling fall into that category? Presently I think so. Tomorrow I am riding a rail trail with my son and DIL. That should be a total pleasure. And soon my dear will hopefully be joining me.

I've motorcycled sine 1967 and indeed had a good number of published materials on that interest including a two year run of a column entitled "Back Road Musings" for Ducati.com. I think I've reached the point where motorcycling is more in my past than my future. But bicycling seems to quite naturally be taking its place, so who knows where that'll lead?



-Don
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Old 07-03-11, 07:38 PM   #14
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Beautiful bikes!
+1 I love seeing the older bikes. It makes me want to get one for myself
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Old 07-03-11, 08:05 PM   #15
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Great! You are an inspiration to us all.
I knocked out an easy 20 miles today on the loop around town. Half hills, half flat, it was awesome. 50+ and still riding hard.
We are so blessed to have the information and resources shared here.

It does my heart good to see you back in the saddle. Keep it up.
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Old 07-03-11, 08:10 PM   #16
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Great looking rides and congratulations on getting them out on the road again. I've got a cycling friend that did lots of walking/hiking before becoming a cyclist and he had a great foundation. If I could offer some off topic advice it would be to make sure that both bikes are ready to ride and that you ride with your wife when possible. Sharing time on the road is great.

best of luck
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Old 07-03-11, 08:10 PM   #17
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So, how do classic Raleigh enthusiasts feel about those headlamps? Do they work? Do they work well enough to justify their existence? D-cells?

Color-coordinated rear racks are a nice touch!
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Old 07-04-11, 06:02 AM   #18
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So, how do classic Raleigh enthusiasts feel about those headlamps? Do they work? Do they work well enough to justify their existence? D-cells?

Color-coordinated rear racks are a nice touch!
The head and tail lights are run from the old timey generator seen on the rear wheel vertical support. (Sorry, I am sure that part has a correct name!) Yes they work. About as effectively as a `60s era flashlight. And only as long as you are moving - a real downside if you need to stop even for a traffic crossing at night.

The color matched racks came with the bike. Nice, yes. And like everything on these old Nottingham machines meant for real world daily living, not "sport," style or faddishness. I guess in that that are much like me who is none of those three either.

-don
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Old 07-04-11, 06:21 AM   #19
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Congrats on getting restarted on bicycling. This forum was designed for you. Nice to see you here.

Basic Road Musings
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Old 07-04-11, 06:40 AM   #20
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First – Hello from a fellow Granite Stater!

Nice bikes. I love the big headlights! My first real bike was a 3-speed Raliegh and it had one of those lights. The little wheel thing would get pushed against the tire (if I remember correctly) and it would whir away as I peddled, but it never made much light.

40+ year old tires – I know you said they were judged to be OK, but maybe you might want to think about getting new tires just to be safe. At the bike shop last week, we had a run of people bringing in really old wheels that needed new tires. The tread was ok, but the side walls all had dry rot. A blow-out is a terrible way to end a ride.
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Old 07-04-11, 06:44 AM   #21
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The head and tail lights are run from the old timey generator seen on the rear wheel vertical support. (Sorry, I am sure that part has a correct name!)
FYI, those are seatstays. The other sides of the rear triangle are the chainstays and the seat tube.
Great looking bikes in amazing condition for their age. You may want to check out the C&V subforum sometime to show them off and see lots of other great classic bikes.
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Old 07-04-11, 06:57 AM   #22
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First – Hello from a fellow Granite Stater!

40+ year old tires – I know you said they were judged to be OK, but maybe you might want to think about getting new tires just to be safe. At the bike shop last week, we had a run of people bringing in really old wheels that needed new tires. The tread was ok, but the side walls all had dry rot. A blow-out is a terrible way to end a ride.
Thanks for your concern missjean, my many years on motorcycles where old, hard, rubber is verboten, lead me to the same initial thought. On my wife's bike, which came with different tires, the sidewalls were cracked and even split. On mine there is NO sign of age. No dry rotr, no cracking, nothing. They could easily pass for recent issue apart from the Made in England markings. Several people at Goodale's bikeshop commented on how good they looked and the tech said he'd replace them if I wanted him to but that there was no need. (He has a bike the same vintage which he rides hard regularly and it, too, is on the original rubber, in his case, however, the treads are getting near their wear limit. Mine are not. So we'll see. I'm never to far from home and my riding speed is still quite minimal. (Well, seem so to this Ducati rider used to the track at Loudon.)

Thanks BluesDawg for the terminology. It'd be nice to at least sound like I had some idea of what I was talking about!

Cheers all! And thanks again!

-don
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Old 07-04-11, 07:12 AM   #23
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It is such a high to retrieve an old ride after decades of it waiting for our return. Ride safely and often.
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Old 07-04-11, 08:10 AM   #24
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It is cool to see those old bikes rolling again.
There is also much to be said for innovation. Today's CREE based head lights are one example. They spit out more light than you can imagine and last a long time on each recharge.
So don't be afraid to delve a little into some of the newer options that exist. Everything from tires to saddles have seen improvements in 3 decades. Check 'em out!
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Old 07-05-11, 05:43 AM   #25
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Yesterday I met up with my son and DIL and we rode about half of the Nashua River Rail Trail.

On the first leg I lead and their bikes being so quiet (well, and my hearing being influenced by 50 years in front of a Marshall), I thought I was on my own. Nope. After our predetermined time I stopped and found that they were right behind me. "You kept up a good pace!" said my perhaps surprised son. Gotta admit that made me feel good. Felt even better to keep up with their pace going back. (My son hit 35mph for a short stretch).

Fun stuff!

-don
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