My life

My bike

Last fall, one of the nice mountain bikes I inherited from my dad got stolen. In order to ride with my stepson, it became necessary to fix up my old 1986 Raleigh Pursuit, which meant tires and inner tubes and oil and a better seat.

It rode pretty nice (once I figured out the correct way to install the seat, which is wrong in the picture) and I used it for a couple of months until one evening in early June, I stepped hard on the pedal to enter the street, and the chain snapped. My foot shot down as the pedal spun, and I rolled the bike to the right.

When I got up, my finger was bleeding from a bad cut on one side and a massive scrape on the other. Fortunately I was only four blocks from home and hadn’t hurt anything else.

The injury to my finger involved stitches and then a splint when it started to develop a Boutonniere deformity (finger gets pulled into a stair-step configuration), since ligaments were also damaged.

As a result, I decided I’d better upgrade the bike, so nothing else will give out on me. The handlebar was bent from the accident, and decades-old brakes and cables are not as reliable as new ones.

Since I never used the lower part of the traditional handlebars, I decided to go for bullhorns this time. I changed the cables and brakes and chain, put new gearshift levers up on the goose neck (they had been down on the frame, well below my knees), and replaced the old rat-trap pedals (which were always upside down since I took the rat-traps off long ago) with nice mountain-bike ones. Aldi was selling a gel seat-cover for cheap, and I have discovered that you can never have too much gel between you and a bike seat, so that’s on there too. The outcome is pretty cool for an old fat guy’s bike.

And of course the old bike helmet needed the padding replaced… and I discovered that one more downside of putting on 80 pounds in middle age is that your hands get to hurting really bad when you lean forward and support your weight on the handlebars. Gloves with gel pads in the palm are a necessity.

With all the money I put into replacements and upgrades, I could have bought a bike off the rack at Walmart, but it wouldn’t be as nice as this one is now, and it wouldn’t be designed for my height.

I also looked into a speedometer. The last one I bought cost under $10, but now everything is $50 or more. Fortunately, there are apps that are just as good, and will also map your ride.

My speed is pathetic (18.2 kph is just over 11 mph); probably some of you can ride faster uphill in the Rockies than I do on flat land in Florida, but I don’t care, I get 45-60 minutes of exercise a day touring the neighborhood and it’s doing me good.

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7 thoughts on “My bike

  1. Great Tim! So happy that you are back on the seat again. Getting the bike ready to your own specification is always better than buying one off the rack.
    be safe and enjoy. Love to Alicia.

  2. I believe you’ll get 50 times more enjoyment out of your resurrected Raleigh than out of anything you could buy new. You and it go back a long way!

    Up-grading our own worn-out parts is harder to do….

    • Two of my sisters have had cataract surgery recently, and only have to use reading glasses, after a lifetime of thick glasses or contacts. I had corrective eye surgery in 1996 and currently have 20/20 vision in my left eye and 20/30 in the right. Probably will get hearing aids this fall. Unfortunately losing weight is a matter of hard work.over a long period of time.

  3. Glad to hear that the injury was not life threatening! Sparky had to sell his racing bike that he bought in 1977. It just wouldn’t be worth the upgrades. He bought a mountain bike from a bike shop that they customized for him. Sparky uses an app that does the route tracking. He has it enabled so that I can see where he is – in case of an accident. The last accident he had was before the app was set for me and I ended up having to take him to the emergency room on a Sunday morning.

  4. Finally your Raleigh becomes a new bike
    For your beginning your speed is good !
    I am glad to see you again on wordpress . Your post makes me think of the yours on Xanga! 🙂
    In friendship
    Michel

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