Just got my Raleigh Carlton Gran Sport today, a '73 or '74 model. It's in great shape. I'm looking to develop some old forgotten muscles and hopefully dump the cigs I've been puffing on for waaaay too long. I got my intro into good touring and racing bikes back in the mid 60's and was hooked for ten or fifteen years. Married with children changes your priorities sometimes, though.
Anyway, this is a great bike, light as a feather and I've only fallen off once today. I've got some endurance that needs building. I went three times around the block and I thought I would be wearing a toe-tag by the time I got to my driveway.
I want to start easy. If anyone has any suggestions about how to start this process I'm open to suggestions (of course quitting the cigs is a given, I know).
You've got it! Start easy. Short rides then gradually increase in length and intensity. After not riding for 7 years I couldn't make it around the block (about 5 miles) without huffing and puffing. Now only a few months later I commute 17+ miles home from work and hardly even breathe hard (well I ride a 'bent and that helps). Last weekend I went out for a club ride, which included a 10 mile ride from home to the ride start and another 10 miles from the ride end back home. Total mileage for the day was 41. All on two bowls of ice cream (hey it was in "ice cream" ride) and a jug of sports drink.
Work on the smoking issue and getting yourself in shape through cycling. You will never regret it.