This is going to be a long story, so I'll break it into 3 pieces. First, the tale of why my 20 is now off the road, followed by my options to use instead of it, and finally, more discussion of how I'm going to mod it into the perfect bike.
So, I've had my 20 about 6 or 7 months, and have been using it regularly, but with all the mileage, some of the components had been showing their age. I did my first strip down and rebuild of a loose ball cottered BB a couple of weeks ago, which improved things significantly, but was frustrated on my next ride to find a broken spoke. This was what decided me to stop pondering upgrades, finalise what I wanted to do, and start buying the parts. I figured I'd ignore the broken spoke, ride it as is til after Christmas, by which time I might have everything I needed to rebuild. I really want to do this all in one hit.
I usually use the 20 when I'm going to London - it's not a bike that people want to steal, it's handy in traffic, and if the train racks are full, I can fold it and get on anyway - perfect. Most of these trips involve an 8 mile ride from Waterloo to the East End, lots of stop start, fast traffic, and me riding hard, but today, I had a meeting in Central London, on Picadilly, perhaps a mile and a half from Waterloo. As I left Waterloo, I felt that the back end was a little squirrelly, and pondered whether another spoke had let go. When I got out of my meeting, I checked, and in fact, 4 more spokes had broken. Not good. By the time I reached home, the back end of my bike was shaking it like a Polaroid picture!
Clearly it's not going to be ridden in that condition, and the fact that I'm assembling my parts for a rebuild means I really don't want to pay the LBS to put all those new spokes in - I'm only going to take those wheels off soon anyway, plus I could do with the money to pay for parts! Hence, the little Raleigh is coming off the road, which means I need to choose something to use in it's place for now.....