Fri Jan 14 2022 22:04:03 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)
In the fall of 2007 I was working at a job that took me out to the Portland suburbs. I sometimes commuted in a car with a coworker and sometimes I took public transit -- both seemed to take around 45-60 minutes each way, and neither was super pleasant. The trip on TriMet was fine (but slow) and I had to transfer twice which made the travel time less stable.
A colleague suggested that I should try commuting to save some time. I thought they were insane -- no way could riding a bike be faster than cars, busses, or trains, right? The idea was to ride from home to the Goose Hollow train stop and then take the train the rest of the way. I didn't own a bike at the time (and hadn't for more than 10 years!), but I was into experimenting with this commuting idea. I wasn't exactly a stranger to bike commuting (I rode a beach cruiser to the next town when I was in college in Texas), but this was going to be different. I found a viable old steel bike on Craigslist, paid $90 for it, and started bike commuting.
The bike was a mid 1970s Raleigh Record, 27" inch steel wheels, steel frame, original cotter-pin cranks, built in England. I was able to use the stamp on the bottom bracket shell to date it to 1975 (I think).
Even though I was not bike fit, I was able to make the 6.5 mile ride each way to the train station, and surprisingly, it did shave about 15 minutes in commute time each way. Mainly, it was a gazillion times more enjoyable!
It didn't take long to sink a few hundred dollars in upgrades (new cranks, ditched the steel wheels, cables, cassette) and start riding somewhat regularly. I stuck with the bike commuting and before long it was the main way I got to work most days. I think that bike helped me to get to 4 other jobs over the following years, and I also took it on quite a few group rides in the city.
Sadly, in the summer of 2016 (less than 10 years later), a strange creaking sound developed and it wasn't long before the steering started feeling funny. Somehow, and not suddenly, the front fork had fatigued and cracked. It's unknown if the fork failure helped cause it, but the downtube also had a noticeable (albeit slight) bend. The fork was destroyed and the frame was bent. I got a few opinions and the consensus was that it wasn't worth fixing....so it was time to let it go.
According to Strava, I clocked 3,462 miles on that bike. I suspect that the actual number was probably 50-60% higher.
I had already pulled most of the interesting parts off the bike, but last weekend I finished stripping the old bike down just to the frame. I chose to mount the frame on the ceiling of the workshop as some garbage decor and to remind myself of this classic bike that served me so well and got me back into bicycling.
It was a good bike!