I got back into cycling about two years ago starting with commuting to work before buying an old road bike for a few longer rides. I'm now on my third and fourth bike and have definitely learnt a lot since I bought the first one from Halfords.
|The old commuter soaking up some sun|
I made the classic mistake of buying something I didn't know much about and based my decision on looks over quality. This bike did me well for over a year but I wouldn't be rushing out to buy another bike from Halfords any time soon. Commuting on this bike did reignite my love for cycling though and within months I decided to buy an old road bike off ebay. The Raleigh Winner.
|Not actually my bike but the same model. Image by rodcorp on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rodcorp/3560756408/|
|This bike was great fun but the look wasn't a winner for me, so I decided to undertake a little project. Now, this won't please everyone, some feel that bikes should stay as they are or be restored to their heyday form. Well I wanted a green bike so I painted it green, not much more thought went into it than that really.|
|Respray complete with a few nice additions.|
I really loved this bike, it wasn't the lighest, it wasn't the fastest but it was still a joy to ride. Also, as I put so much time into it I felt like I really knew how it worked and every time I went out on it I had fun. Unfortunately as I was learning more I soon learnt that it was far too big for me! So I started looking for a new frame to build up. Which led me to another Raleigh frame, this time the Rapide.
|A much lighter frame but still wasn't a fan of the colour.|
After the last bike I now had a bit more confidence in respraying the frame but first I wanted to do a few runs on it to make sure the frame was ok. So I undertook some transplant surgery.
|Bike bits everywhere!|
This consisted of just taking everything off the Winner and onto the Rapide.
|It didn't stay like this for long.|
A few miles on the new frame and I decided it was good enough to put a bit more work into it. And viola!
|I stuck with a retro style for the new look.|
|Enjoying the Warwickshire countryside.|
My first long organised ride was the Shakespeare Spring 100, a 100km ride through the glorious countryside, this was great fun but disaster struck about 40km out. My tool roll which was strapped to the saddle came loose and took out five of my rear spokes. I finished the event though, despite a severely buckled wheel!
Obviously I needed a new wheel but whilst looking for one I soon came round to the idea of having a bit of a change around. A friend of mine, much taller than me, was interested in buying a single speed. So I built up the Winner into a single speed for him with some of the bits of my old commuter and another ebay purchase.
This frame was a lighter Reynolds steel, slightly smaller and a bit racer so the obvious thing to do was to build this into my weekend bike and turn the light blue bike into my commuter. A few hours/days of swapping bits over and quite a bit of swearing and I now had a Blue bike and a Red bike. Craig had the green bike. And I now had a set up I was really happy with and did everything I needed it to do. So we come to the end of the evolution. For now.
|Craig rode home the green bike.|
|The blue bike takes me to work everyday.|
|And the red bike is my racy little number for the weekend.|
Obviously this story never really ends. I'm sure something will go wrong at some stage which will inspire another purchase and maybe even a whole new bike. But for now I am very happy with my stable.