A 1972 Raleigh Grand Prix

As a retired USAF NCO with a farm to support, I don't have a lot of spare cash, but I find some for RBA even if I'm not going to ride carbon, wear spandex or shave. I got back into bikes a little over a year ago. My road ride is a '72 Raleigh Grand Prix,

1972 Raleigh Grand Prix Bike

which I bought new and rode to rubble in southern Maryland, West Virginia and the UK. With the great help of my LBS (Continental Celery, Wichita), I'm in the gradual process of upgrading it: cassette 36-spoke 700 cyclotrons wheels (more spokes and better bearing support for my much-increased girth), a Shimano Soar compact crankset (for better gearing, and because the old bearings felt more like boulders), a taller and longer gooseneck (stem to you, I suppose), and wider drop bars (so that I can more effectively gasp for air). The bike fits and runs better than ever, but the braking—it's as good as ever, but experience with the V-Brakes on my Specialized Rock hopper has spoiled me—and the Raleigh's Weinmann center pulls just don't cut it anymore. I'll ride the RAGBRAI for the first time next month, on the Raleigh. It's ready. I'm not.

—Dana Shifflett; Newton, Kansas

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