Cycling, Art and Life in the North East of England

Why would you buy an old bike people hate?

The Rayleigh Lizard
The Rayleigh Lizard

I’ve been wondering what to write about the latest bike to join our family. You see she’s not fancy, expensive, rare, a particular looker or lightweight. She’s an old Rayleigh Lizard and if you look on the internet you’ll find they’re quite a maligned bike. Before we bought her I did what everyone does these days and googled the model. Boy, there are a lot of derogatory comments and even people asking others not to laugh because they have one. Which kinda leads me to ask why, and probably leads you to ask why we bought it?

So why did we buy it? Well initially we were looking for a bike with wheels we could use on my husbands old Raleigh Maverick as his back one if completely wrecked and no longer road safe. The idea was to buy a bike which he could ride until his Maverick is restored and then we would use the wheels to complete it. Then I would use the frame from the donor bike and build it up into some sort of Frankenbike to act as a spare with non-era specific parts.  Although watching my husband enthusiastically zipping up and down the street on his new bike, big grin on his face, I’m starting to think I’m not going to get this frame to play with.

Out testing his new Raleigh Lizard Bike
Out testing his new Raleigh Lizard Bike

One of the main criticisms of this bike is it’s weight and she is definitely heavy.  Is that a problem? He’s not planning on trying to win any time trials or endurance races on her. He just likes to come out for a ride with me and have fun. So it isn’t the latest technology, it wasn’t even the latest technology when it was made, and she’s not going to turn any heads in a lineup. I just don’t think that matters if he enjoys riding her.

I get that people ride for many different reasons and if you ask 100 cyclists which is the best piece of kit you’re likely to get 100 different answers, but it reminds me of that often quoted photography saying.

“The best camera is the one you have with you.”

I’m going to change that a little and say…

“The best bike is the one that puts a big smile on your face when you ride it.”

…and this old Raleigh Lizard certainly puts a smile on his face and that’s all I care about.



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