I’m old’ish (but young at heart) and I do like to challenge myself every year 🙂
It all really started in 2009 after completing many multi day sustrans routes I attempted the C2C on my MTB in a day which I completed along with 2 friends. These friends now thought my expectations of cycling way more than 100 miles in a day to be unsociable so they don’t join me now.
In 2010 I took on a longer challenge on my (then) new tourer (Dawes Ultra Galaxy) – Hadrian’s Cycleway (174 miles) in a day -to date I’m still the only person to have completed it within the day http://www.cycle-routes.org/hadrianscycleway/general/trips.html
Then the biggy: last year as most will know I completed the Lands End to John O’Groats on my Dawes Ultra Galaxy Tourer – checkout the blog www.nigelend2end.co.uk.
But how could I top it this year?? there and back? maybe not says the family!! Or maybe LeJog on a tandem -too slow
So the challenge was on to find a fun target for this year. My first thought was to attempt Coast to Coast on a unicycle. I’ve never owned one or even touched one but on Youtube… it couldn’t be that difficult – could it? Anyway I ruled that out because they are slow.
I filled in time and energy by attempting the Caledonian Canal canoe challenge
Then that Eureka moment: I’d buy a Raleigh Chopper and do the C2C on it (but not in a day)
In the 70’s when Raleigh Choppers were way cool I always wanted one. Unfortunately they (rightly) came with a ‘dangerous’ tag. They were notoriously easy to wheelie and the small front wheel with ape hanger handlebars meant they weren’t the most stable even on the flat.
After researching them I found there were 3 versions the MKI II and III – the MKIII is in current production and not a collectors bike at all. So the search was on for a MKI or II.
For weeks, I watched every bike going through ebay and they ranged between £200 (for wrecks) to more than £2000 for concourse show bikes – bear in mind they were only £142 at their maximum whilst in production.
By chance in a meeting at work I was offered one for sale but it looked like a project too far – but it was only £100. Anyway one of my colleagues wives heard about it and it’s now his project too far to get it roadworthy for her.
I persevered through different channels and eventually found one on Ebay in an auction based just south of Edinburgh. I asked the seller for a buy it now price and he said £250 – which although reasonable, I thought I’d take my chance with the auction so put a snipe on it and WON IT for £67. So off to Gorbridge I went to collect it.
It’s a 1974 purple MKII, 3 speed which is in need of more than a little tlc to get it to be a runner. I was however given a bag of bits and have been sourcing some others off Ebay. Hopefully I’ll have enough soon to start on the strip down then rebuild process – it could take a while.
I will try to post updates as the project progresses.