I have a habit, not alcohol or drugs, but a habit all the same.
I had bought the above bike in a charity shop a day earlier for the princely sum of £10 and whilst it had over the years lost is stickers I was pretty sure that it was a 1970’s Raleigh Flyer, remember that name, particularly the Flyer part.
After checking all was well, particularly the tyres which appeared to be original, I ignored the atrocious weather and headed out to give her a test run on a 15km loop from my home, far enough to identify issues but close enough to push if it all went pear shaped.
Part way through the loop I am faced with a short hill of about 800 meters although in that space it does climb 65 meters.
Given that the bike was unfamiliar I decided to head around clockwise which would allow me to descend rather than attempt the climb on unknown steel, a decision that was almost my undoing.
Whilst I do enjoy vintage bikes I also enjoy modern bikes and one of the most noticeable differences is breaking efficiency, this it turned out had none.
Whilst the brake pads were in good condition the wet roads meant they had literally zero effect in mitigating my ever increasing speed, not a realization one wants to come to when approaching the bottom of the hill and the sharp bend visible in the background of the above photograph.
There was no way I was going to stop and little to no chance that I could get it round the bend on vintage rubber without scrubbing off considerable speed.
I did all I could in the circumstances and dropped the bike on its side.
The bike was completely unscathed by this, I on the other hand was battered, bruised and left wearing shredded shorts and jersey.
It could have been a lot worse…