I had intended to have a short bike ride daily, gradually increasing the time up to about an hour as fitness increased. It didn’t happen. After the brief, exhausting but otherwise unremarkable first ride on Saturday, I was distracted and delayed on Sunday until “the moment passed”. The second ride was postponed until Monday when I doubled the distance covered on Saturday and arrived back home not particularly tired or overheated but feeling much more confident.
Today, Wednesday, was different again. I rode a bit further still today and the after-effects set in about an hour after I finished. If it is a case of “no pain, no gain” then it must be doing some good. There is something to be said for cycling every forty-eight hours rather than daily, until I get fitter. It means that I can ride, and ache, on alternate days. At least that is how it is working out.
I am becoming better equipped now having sorted out some old cycling accessories and bought some new ones. Tyre levers and some tools were sorted out from among the various odds and ends in my garage. I bought a puncture repair outfit and an inexpensive set of pannier bags to carry everything so I can now take other items on my travels as well, such as a spare innertube, maps, notebook, camera, sketchpad, maybe some paints etc., perhaps even a picnic. I am beginning to see possibilities here.
The bike itself deserves a mention: I cannot offer a proper road test as I have no basis for comparison and no great knowledge of modern bicycle engineering on which to base an assessment. However, the Raleigh Oakland is a bike that I would recommend. It is primarily what is now called a “hybrid” bike, ie. intended mainly for non-racing road use or off-road on decent surfaces. The build quality appears to be every bit as good as I expected from Raleigh and the price was a reasonable £140 or thereabouts when I first selected this bike. Unfortunately it had jumped a further £20 by the time I actually bought it – but my mind was made up. It’s main features were mentioned in an earlier post and I find it a comfortable and easy bike to ride. Would I need a much more expensive bike if I were about to go long-distance touring carrying half a hundredweight of kit everywhere with me? Possibly. If I were about to rush, off-road or track, up and down mountains it would be a different story again. No chance of that. On the other hand, for an everyday road bike I could have found something cheaper without a doubt but it wouldn’t have been the sort of bike on which I had so many hours of fun as a teenager more than half a century ago. That is to say, it wouldn’t have been a Raleigh.