Competition for Carlton

Saving up my paper round money I bought the beautiful Raleigh Royale 5-speed from Linwood Cycles, I think for about $145. It was a lovely machine, I wanted a ten speed but this was the machine on offer at the right time. It got stolen once by local ratbags (who turned into more serious criminals I learned), but I recovered it. So when I traded it up for a Carlton Competition from the bike shop in Papanui Road, I memorised the serial number and for some strange reason that number has stayed with me.

Rides up Dyers Pass Road, all around the Port Hills and Banks Peninsula, no helmet but toe clips to add power. I was so taken with it I kept it in my bedroom. Gleaming white and fast.

A few decades have gone by and I’m back on a road bike. The principle is the same, but a few things have improved. Weight, combined brake and gear shift levers, smoother gear shifts and a computer that tells me things I don’t yet know what they are (but apparently if I keep it at 80 then I’m having a good workout I think). The tyres seem pretty skinny and although there’s a puncture repair kit under the seat the Uber App might be the solution if I’m on my own when the inevitable happens! Chris at Cyco told me that you don’t glue patches onto the inner tube any more! Crushed. Toe clips have been replaced by clip in shoes and so far so good, I haven’t forgotten to come out at the lights.

Cycling is really so so much fun and being back on a commuter bike for the last 18 months I’ve learned quite a bit, with mostly good experiences. The road bike though, takes me back to being a teenager and the freedom I felt on the bike then is back.

I never articulated to myself at the time that it was freedom-giving, but for sure that’s what it was then, and what it is now.

The Carlton was a beauty at the time, just as the new one is special now.

So although Trek won’t be coming into the bedroom anytime soon, it’s a link back to an early experience of a most important value that so many don’t have.

Stephen

p.s.  Linwood Cycles is still there, by the look of Google Maps in the same place.

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