The weather man on NBC this morning announced that Winter is here again. We all know better that Winter wont be here for over a month. What he was actually talking about was the snow and wind.
Winter like weather has me thinking about bringing in the good bikes and rolling out bikes I don't need to worry about holding on to for the future. Salt and sand on the roads can ruin a fine machine. It happens so slowly you may not notice, but it will.
Choosing the right bicycle for the job could be difficult. A bike you choose today may be a bike that 20 years from now may be a classic that you may wish you never ridden.
Winter road conditions and the chance of ruining my good bikes is exactly how I got into Raleigh 3 Speeds. The new style off a "10 Speed" and the desire to own one back in the early 70's had people bringing their perfectly good Raleigh's to the dump. They liked them enough to stand them up on their kickstands when they did.
Coming into the dump on any given week end day was like going to the bicycle shop. You never knew what you were going to find, but chances were good there was going to be something.
Over time the dump picked bikes became our favorite and the "Good Bikes" remained at home parked for the longer rides. Long before Californians invented the Mountain Bike, The Raleigh became our woods machines. A quick in and out means of transportation. Rigged for camping, our Raleigh's took on names. The Bugler was one of the first. The head badge had been removed so I replaced it with the logo from a Bugler Tobacco tin. A solder in a World War One helmet in a circle with a horn. It looked right. Leading the pack, crashing through the woods, it later became known as "Mobile Unit One"
I will never regret having used those bikes as I will never forget the places they took me. Places I never would have gone on the Good Bikes.
The Raleigh changed my life. There is nothing like saving a bike from the scrap pile and giving it the life it deserves. The return it brings is the best and a constant reminder that just maybe some of the best things in life are free.