Cycling Stories

Recollections of My Raleigh Record

December 30, 2019

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Recollections of My Raleigh Record

“I think about my red Raleigh Record frequently, fondly remembering the quality times we shared. “

Jake W

I distinctly remember the moment I got into cycling.

I had just bought a red Raleigh Record road bike for $100 at a garage sale, which was a size or two too large. At school, I couldn’t stop telling people about my new-to-me bike, and I couldn’t wait to get out every day so that I could take it for a ride.

It turned out that the Raleigh needed a fair bit of work, so I spent almost as much time wrenching on it as I did riding. I cleaned and greased the bottom bracket and headset, and I even took apart the derailleur, cleaned all the individual pieces, and put it back together.

Although this sounds like a lot of work, I never really considered it to be much of a chore. I always said if you don’t take care of your bike, your bike won’t take care of you. So, I was just taking care of my bike.

Taking Record Trips

Sure, I owned other bikes growing up. But, none was like my first, this Raleigh Record. It was my first real road bike, which transitioned me between bikes that get ridden for fun and ones that take you on trips.

I loved the feeling of setting off down the driveway, anxious to test my endurance and strength and see just how far I could ride from my hometown.

As a boy not yet old enough to drive, the idea that I could get out and see cool sights or do fantastic things—without having one of my parents drive me—seemed like the best idea in the world.

A vintage red Raleigh Record (not the author’s). Credit: Old Ten-Speed Gallery

The defining moment when I remember thinking, “Man, I love cycling,” was when I was riding to a state park about 20 miles away from my house. As soon as I arrived, a significant climb awaited me in order to get to the end of the road, where I’d planned on turning around and heading back home.

After some struggling, I made it to the summit, looked out into the horizon, and experienced a beautiful scene, complete with a lake, green trees, and the perfect amount of clouds in an otherwise bluebird sky.

Contemplating how I’d physically powered my body this far from home and up this “mountain,” really resonated with me in a way that would be challenging for somebody who is not a cyclist to understand.

The Raleigh Record Rides Into the Sunset

I eventually sold the Raleigh to a friend and bought nicer bikes with frames that fit me.

Still, though, I think about my red Raleigh Record frequently, fondly remembering the quality times we shared.

Jake W is an avid cyclist that enjoys riding in the beautiful Midwest weather. When not on the bike, he enjoys photography and other outdoor activities like fishing and hunting.
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