30 mph plus winds is not the best time to take a bike out on your first ride together. Once again the promise of temps in the 50s was betrayed by howling, chilly wind but after months of expense and frustrations, nothing was going to keep my silver 1979 Raleigh Competition GS and I from spending some quality time.. not at the cash register anymore (please!) but on the cycle path.
The Comp GS was the last new and really successful lightweight built in Nottingham; it seems like yesterday when I saw my first one in autumn '78 at Cycles & Sports here in Washington.
This is just a wonderful machine.. now I know it elicits chuckles if not sneers from the cognoscenti with their handbuilt trophy bikes, but the Comp GS is just a little pocket rocket. A thoroughly gratifying combination of Italianite frame geometry, choice components and British road handling and finish... yes the Brits could make a nice bike in the late '70s. Honest.
And whilst I am not selling my Sturmey Archer shares, I.. well... ok, these derailleur things work jolly well. They still look like the inside of a pinball machine but ok, so they're light and versitile. So far, I'll side with Chuck Schmidt in worshipping at the Campy altar. The Gran Sport shifted beautifully even with an amateur like me. Smooth, swift and sure. Of course as a hub gear guy used to 3 or at most 4 speeds, I never tried the full range of gears... I think I shifted gears three times on varied 20-mile run and used maybe three different gears. I mean seriously... how can any of you guys ever use all these gears??
And a full credit to my local bike shop (The Bike Shop at District Hardware) on this one... she got a thorough overhaul and adjustment yesterday and I know I should do everything myself, but when you have the best friends a British bike can have a few blocks away, why fool around? This came back as perfectly as adjusted and sweet running as any bike on the planet.
So a nice addition to my stable in the end. Best to burn all of the bills though and concentrate on the roadracing to come. When the wind dies down.
Washington DC USA