Shortly before our Dad died he asked me if I wanted his old Raleigh Clubman which had not been ridden for several years, at the time I said no, saying he would want to ride it when he got better. Unfortunately he did not recover and a couple of months after his death I met Nick in Usk on a cold Sunday morning. I was riding the 20-plus year old Raleigh. Yes and I knew all about it! This would be my chance to do some retro cycling with some painful conclusions! The ride on Dads bike is remarkably comfortable. Its long wheelbase makes for a smooth ride. We had revamped it a bit with new bars and levers, but the ride from Croesyceiliog showed me that the poor rims and lead weight tyres made any proper climbing impossible. It was no wonder Dad used to scream out and then get off his bike when any gradient was involved! The ride out to Llangwm was not bad taking in the crisp November morning. We took in a visit to one of our favourite churches. I have written about St Jerome’s before and it still holds all its magic. The climb up to the top of Llewellyn’s dingle was best forgotten .Down the other side, there was crack like gunfire, I had a puncture and it completely blew the tyre off the rim! After fixing the tyre, we cycled along the road to Usk. This is where this bike comes into its own, cruising down the flat winding country roads it is a pleasure to ride this elegant machine! Back to Usk and then we split at Llanbadoc, from here I did not have a very good ride home. However these 30 miles or so made up my mind that an upgrade of the creaking, groaning rims was a certain step to make along with some lighter tyres.

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