I have not been riding. Late October I had my roofing project, then a whirlwind trip back east, then catch-up, more projects merging in to bike projects. It's been good riding the last few days, very dry, cool, cleat and windy. Tonight I finally got out on my '73 Raleigh Competition. This is one of the slightly odd, throwback bikes. Long WB, the proprietary drawn for Raleigh butted chainstays that neck down quickly to seatstay diameters, huge fork rake, 72 HT, 74 ST (I said it was a little odd) butted 531.
The frame is a little small for me (probably 21 1/2" c-c where I usually ride 59 c-top so I am showing more post and I have a 13 cm Pearl stem (140 for the rest of the world). I have it set up triple, CX levers, fenders. 32c Paselas pumped to 60 psi.
Got on the bike and immediately two things were very obvious. 1) my conditioning. I'll say no more. And 2) I don't have a reference on what a bike feels like. Then, about a 1/4 mile into the ride, 3) this bike is the whole package! With those wheels/tires, absolutely everything about the bike was right.
Funny, I do not get this at all after riding any of my other bikes; all modern, much steeper HT bikes. After them, it take most of a mile just to get dialed into this bike and a few more to enjoy it. But with no frame of reference to spoil me, this bike is perfect right from the start. I can put the same big tires (in fact I've gone bigger) on my Mooney and it rides really bad roads very well but this bike truly thrives on them. It never needs good roads, even with hard skinny tires. And with big tires? It is an adult's respectable road bike in demeanor and a kid's cruiser in abilities.
I spent a lot of time wondering my sanity paying a very good framebuilder many times the frame's cost to me to make it a bike I could trust to do anything with. I haven't pushed it hard since I got it back and last year it took a real back seat to the venture I was gearing up my Mooney for but after today, it might get a lot more riding just because it is so fun.