The Project Bike

I did something stupid today. I cycled into town, credit card in wallet, with absolutely no real aims whatsoever.

I ended up in Recycles, a social enterprise bike shop here in Swindon ran by the Salvation Army, who refurbish and sell second hand bikes. And one in particular caught my eye. As you can guess, as the photo just below is taken in my living room and not a bike shop in Swindon, yes I did buy it:

Turns out, it’s a near completely original 1987 Raleigh Criterium – lugged Reynolds 501 steel frame, and a mixture of Sachs Rival and Shimano 105 components. From the somewhat delicate sidewalls it even seems to have the original tires (although they’re going in the bin). I was actually surprised at how light it was for a steel frame – memories of the ludicrously oversized tubing on the full suspension BSO I had as a teenager had ingrained an entirely opposite reaction to steel bikes in my mind.

And so now I need to find something to do with it. After a little mental deliberation I’ve decided that the late eighties weren’t really cool enough to justify trying to find replacement parts and decals to give it a full perfect restoration so instead, it’s going to be a fixed gear hipster town bike. My current plan is to strip it down, take all the ugly graphics off the frame and give it a really good cut and polish, convert it to a fixed gear, and replace the mismatched saddle and bar tape with something a little more modern and colour co-ordinated. Oh, and lots of chrome too.

I’m writing a shopping list as we speak, and thankfully I got the bike at a fairly reasonable price because otherwise my bank balance is going to kill me…



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