DL-1: One Year On

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It has been around a year since I took delivery of my Raleigh Tourist De Luxe. Of course by, “Took delivery,” I mean cycled to Didsbury on the Yuba Mundo to meet the old gentleman from whom I was purchasing this fine steed, and towed it back to home. At first I wasn’t sure if it would be for me, having had no opportunity to test ride it. What I did know however, was that if I didn’t like it, I could sell the bike (or its component parts) for a fair bit more than I paid for it that day.
When I got the bike home, I adjusted the saddle and took it for a spin. Whilst I liked the ride, it wasn’t quite right; the gearing was far, far too high, with first gear being what I imagine a reasonable third gear should feel like on a three speed. The rod-brake handlebar was limited in its range of height adjustment and the angle of the bar was fixed. Luckily, a few replacement parts allowed me to fix these minor gripes and turn the bike into the perfect everyday transport solution for me. Over the past year I have made numerous additions and upgrades to the bike.
Additions and upgrades:
I have also been forced to replace a few parts due to failure.

Replacements due to failure:
However, I should mention that the X-RD3 hub was at least somewhat faulty from the start, and that my own experience shouldn’t detract from the consensus that this hub, and internal hub gears in general, are the best choice for a practical, low maintenance utilitarian bike.
After a year riding this bicycle, I can sincerely declare it to be one of the smartest purchases I have ever made. Since getting this bike I certainly cycle a lot more. My odometer is currently displaying a total distance cycled of 13,029 km, up from 8,000 km at about this time last year, most of that distance has been for transportation (as opposed to leisure), covered on the DL-1 because it is such an easy bike to ride.
When I say the DL-1 is easy to ride, I am not just referring to its ride quality (which is excellent). As an upright bike with mudguards, a chain-case, comfortable Brooks saddle and (since the addition of the saddlebag) permanent luggage, puncture-resistant tyres, automatic & permanently affixed dynamo lighting and low maintenance brakes and gears, all I ever have to do if I want to go out is unlock the bike, hop on and go. It is my hope that all of these features represent part of a bigger future for cycling in the UK, even if a lot of them come from its past.

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 The Tourist De Luxe as it is kitted out today
Whilst not quite the same as my Tourist De Luxe, Raleigh has recently started to sell the Raleigh Superbe again in the UK, after courting the, “Sporting goods,” and “Bicycle-shaped object,” markets almost exclusively here for the past few decades:
The 2011 Raleigh Superbe, is specced and priced similarly to the Pashley Roadster Sovereign (although not made here in the UK). It is available from numerous cycle outlets, including Evans Cycles.
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September to September; 5,350 km

That’s about 3,325 miles for those of you in the USA, Burma or Liberia.  It is also on a par with LC from Naturally Cycling Manchester.  Last year I did 3,200 km and I am pleased that I have improved upon that this year.  I measure September to September because I got my first odometer in September 2008.  I like having an odometer, it is nice to know how far you have travelled, as it allows you to work out how much further there is to go.  Knowing your speed is a good motivator, it encourages you to keep up a pace and to work out how fast to go to arrive at your destination on time.  It is also a motivator, pushing you to try and go faster than last time when you’re riding down that epic hill (I got the Tourist up to 53.5 km.h-1 which is pitiful compared to a racer, but a racer it is not).  I use a Cat Eye Micro Wireless, not because I hate wires but because it has a settable odometer, meaning you don’t lose your data after a dead battery. 

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It also has the option for being used with two sets of wheels, or in my case two bikes, the Yuba and the Tourist (and previously the Kona and my Revolution Cuillin).  This was a big deal for me, as I like being able to combine my distances covered on each of my bikes (sadly not the Twenty though).

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I’d recommend an odometer to anyone, even if you only use it as a clock on your handlebar.