Before I write about today's ride we're going to have one of those all goes hazy cinematic flashback moments. Summer 1993, I was living with my parents in one of those kinda-in-between-things periods that many of us have as young adults. It had the potential to be a desperate summer, but I was saved by cycling. A friend of a friend ran a bar and was a real Tour de France nut he took pity on the miserable me and every afternoon called me round to watch tour highlights on Channel 4 on the big screen and give me a free beer. As the tour progressed and I developed a crush on Miguel Indurain I knew I wanted to ride bikes fast. At this time I didn't have a bike or any money, my Dad's answer to my predicament was to point me towards his ancient red Carlton in the cellar, I know a family photo exists from 1979 of my Dad on this bike so we're talking retro in 1993. I cleaned it up a bit and gave it a lube, Dad coughed for some new tyres and grip tape and it was ready to roll. I rode all summer, bars flipped because the bike was too big for me to ride any other way, it was a great bike and a great summer. I got it together and moved on, the bike went back to the cellar and I guess at some point went to the great bicycle heaven the sky, but I never forgot that bike.
Fast forward to present and the desire to own a new bike. As I mentioned a few posts ago I've ordered a Surly, I'd had that old Carlton in mind when we talked over the build spec. Gear levers on the down tube, leather saddle, I wanted something with a really traditional feel to it but with a sensible modern twist (think new Beetle). Today was the day this bike became mine, husband drove me into Manchester just after lunch and following a few final adjustments by Rich at Bicycle Doctor I was ready to ride home. 22 miles and not quite two hours later I was pulling up outside my house. What a bike, what a ride, it didn't quite make me feel nearly fifteen years younger, but it was close.