At a time when, so we are told, more and more people are taking to cycling, a few words about my Raleigh Oakland bicycle might be of interest to those who are wondering what to buy. The Raleigh is six weeks old and has been on several local outings of up to 12 miles.
It has been variously described by cycle dealers as “classic gents”, “hybrid”, “trekking”, “comfort” etc. from which it is clear that it is neither a mountain bike nor an out and out racer but clearly intended for everyday use about town or country, wherever there is a reasonable road surface.
My Oakland has a 19 inch steel frame (22 inch is the other option for men) and 700c wheels with road tyres. It comes with 18 Shimano gears and Revoshifters (ie. revolving handgrips). Standard equipment includes full front and rear mudguards, a chain guard and a rear luggage rack. As explained in an earlier post I replaced the original bell with a much noisier traditional item and am now on my second mirror, having made a poor choice for the first one which proved to be far too flimsy. I am thinking about changing what is laughingly described as a comfort sprung saddle. Actually, in fairness to Raleigh, the saddle is not that bad, though there is little spring about it, but I do not possess the same resilience in the seating department as I did when younger and the roads around Cardiff can be horrible – even continuously so.
You get a lot of bicycle from one of the great names in bicycle manufacture for £160, or less if you shop around. If you want to spend more of course that is up to you but you will also need accessories. I bought a helmet and a decent lock which accounted for another £50 between them and have since added front and rear lights, a bicycle computer, water bottle and carrier (two bottles for the price of one at Halfords), an inexpensive pair of pannier bags from Tescos. The latter are ample for my local jaunts and big enough for tools, maps, a picnic and waterproofs.
The Raleigh Oakland is a pleasant bike to ride, with a solid and balanced feel about it. A prospective buyer would need to try one for size but I am very happy with mine and would certainly recommend it. I note that the Raleigh website is offline for maintenance this weekend but you could try Googling for a Raleigh dealer in your area.
I haven’t finished yet! Apart from changing the saddle I am also thinking about a saddlebag of the old-fashioned style if such a thing can be found. I also want a couple of spare innertubes (it’s when you haven’t got them that you get the punctures) and a second lock of a similar quality but different type from the one I am using at present.
The list could continue if I started to think about extra waterproofs, gloves and extra lights for winter cycling but I will think about those later. Meanwhile, I have shifted the rear light from the seatpost to the back of the bike and added a couple of bright reflectors to the pannier bags. I have also bought a roof rack for the car and, guess what, I am looking at adding some bicycle racks. This is getting serious.