I rode the Mustang with MapMyRide+! Distance: 36.86km, time: 01:46:41, pace: 2:54min/km, speed: 20.73km/h.


A treat to witness such a fine sunset on the way home. Each half minute, the light would change. Fascinating.

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Review: Raleigh Mustang.

I’ve had this bike a few weeks now and it’s time to write a review.
Firstly, some context: I’m not a cycle journalist and haven’t ridden many bikes. This one will compared with my others, a couple of steel roads bikes and an aluminium cross bike from Kona.
The Mustang is an entry level ‘gravel’ bike from Raleigh. Others in the range have uprated drive trains and lighter wheels. Mine is the 62cm 2016 model with 8-speed Claris transmission. I bought it for commuting and soon changed to a higher ration cassette and fitted narrower wheels and tyres.

Delivered, it came with a carrier and mudguards that I asked for. Off the peg, you would buy it bare of this kit.
My personal top priority is fit. The frame on this 62cm model has a 60cm effective top tube. That’s what attracted of to this bike initially, I stand a fair chance of getting a machine that fits. Raleigh saw fit to spec wider bars and longer cranks in proportion (44cm and 175mm respectively). On paper, at least, something I can work with.
As you can see in the photo above, there is clearance for mudguards with the supplied 35C Schwalbe CX tyres.
My first proper ride included the added rack and guards but original tyres. I went on all terrains: road, trail, canal towpath and Southport beach.it was great on all of them. Unless you want to compete, you wouldn’t need a cyclocross bike. Most modern bikes have 10 or more closely spaced ratio gears, this one has 8. The larger gaps are noticeable. It’s inevitable when spread between 12 and 32 tooth cogs. I decided to change that before starting rides to work. I ordered a 13-26 considering the very low 34t chairing.

Now, it feels about right. Handling is impressive, even when loaded up with my bag. The most noticeable feature is improved stiffness over my old steel audax bike. Even though the frame geometry is more slack here, the handling is more nimble, probably because of the stiffer frame keeping the geometry true under load, especially out of the saddle. It’s easy to keep your path true and easy to nip around pot-holes. There are still huge numbers not repaired from last winter, it’s now late September.
Did I mention how much I like the colour? This fees blue almost glows in the ultra violet. I hope the paint is resistant to chipping.
Disadvantages: first, weight. It’s only slightly lighter than the Columbus steel bike at about 12kg. Lighter wheels would help this hugely, as would the next item.
Chainset, square taper bottom bracket and heavy looking cranks look like a good area to upgrade.
Saddle, I had to change this immediately. The Charge Spoon solved it easily. The supplied seat was too narrow and put too much pressure on the edge of the chamois.
Geometry: the front of the frame holds the handlebars very high. I have moved them as low as possible, but it still seems high to me. I can get used to it though.
Wheels : they’re a bit heavy with weight at the rims but also strong. I have a second pair with lighter rims and 28C tyres

Overall, there is one word that summarised this bike- versatile.
Road, trail, grassy paths and even sandy beaches are accessible. It’s a go anywhere bike that can do a decent turn of speed on the road. It’s both solid and comfortable enough for distance sides, including touring.

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Sunday fixed.

I rode the Paddy Wagon with MapMyRide+! Distance: 81.64km, time: 03:07:59, pace: 2:18min/km, speed: 26.06km/h.


This isn’t the Paddy Wagon, it’s the cross bike I rode yesterday. That was a 25 mile ride in fine sunshine.

Took a variant on a familiar route that includes Bannister Hill. This is a benchmark for me. Today, it felt tougher than previous ascents this year. That’s the effect of not climbing anything serious for months.
On the other hand, the overall average was higher so my basic fitness is sound. It’s just that some climbing strength gap diminished.
Wasp sting: has swollen up all round my ankle. It looks like a sprain. There’s no pain of course, but it does itch.

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Break in a Mustang,

19°C, sunny with brisk S wind.

I rode Raleigh Mustang with MapMyRide+! Distance: 62.68km, time: 03:00:20, pace: 2:53min/km, speed: 20.86km/h.


In a word- versatile. On its first outing, I went on trail, road, beach and canal. This bike handled all with ease. It was a good choice.

In this photo, taken by the canal, the steerer is visible above the stem. I finished the ride with it lowered as far as possible.​

As for the ride, I sampled every terrain: road, towpath, gravel trail and beach. The Southport Air Show interrupted the route. Passing through the town, I looked down a side street, above a Lancaster readily moved south. A Spitfire and Hurricane was there too, so I turned towards the sea. Plenty of other people gadwtgd same idea. The big bird flew up and down a few times and eventually left to the north. Visibility was crystal clear, Blackpool Tower seemed closer than ever.
Back on the bike and to the north end of the beach, a chance to ride on the sand.
The sea seemed to have gone all the way to Ireland. A small jet whizzed overhead.
A friendly looking couple used kid beach as their viewpoint. I asked “is that a Mig 15?”. They thought so. Never have I seem one in the air before. On the ground, they are tiny.My mission for the day was still incomplete, the bike shop. On the way back to base, the route crossed a canal and the towpath appeared inviting. There were fewer fishermen than usual. That’s good because they have an annoying habit of blocking the path with very long poles. Wind blew strong.
I was a bit disappointed by the milage (39 miles) but I did sample the thrills of an airshow.

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Mio Cyclo 100

I picked up the new bike today. Beforehand, I put in a short list of extras to include: pedals, mud-guards and a rack. I forgot about the bottle cage and cycle-computer. There is a spare cage in the shed, so use that. The computer doesn’t need to be anything grand, a really simple one would do.

The one I walked away with, or rode actually, is not basic.
This Mio is a Chinese import and seems reasonably good. A gps speedo needs no cable wheel magnet or fork transmitter. Sounds good then, the forks on the new bike are quite deep, so fitting may be tricky.
Fitting this device is tricky in its own way however.

Out of the box, the setup is not ideal. There are four screens to show ride details live. By default, the units are strange and illogical. It’s worth spending time setting the number of data fields to display in each window. There are dozens to choose from. Since the device tracks and records gps tracks, I can put this into my rucksack to record hikes. The battery promises to last 28 hours. Let’s see.

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Raleigh Mustang, got it!

17°C, band of rain cleared to sun.
At last, I have it. I’ve brought it up north to ride and make fine adjustments. The bars were too high and the front brake rubbed.​

Here it is today with mudguards and the rack. I’ve lowered the bars and the handling is good.
Looking over it, you could summarise it as a top-quality frame with room to upgrade components. Most conspicuously, the wheels are heavy and the chainset is rather basic. Delivered, it has 175mm cranks and even with mud-guards, there is room for longer cranks. Remember, I use 180mm cranks on the older bikes. SRAM do such a crank-set which includes an external bearing bottom bracket.
While in the shop, I picked up a speedo. They pulled out a gps cycle computer from the back. I have posted about it separately.

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Crippling taxation.

17°C, humid and rain
I’ve had that car a year now and the first tax renewal gap arrived. £20 whole pounds! What am I going to do? There is, hidden in there, the option to pay £1.75 a month.

One year on, the car still seems like the best choice. The only problem is the occasional lack of power in some circumstances. While travelling by myself, low power does not matter. It’s when you carry passengers that you feel it. Overall, I get 68 miles per gallon. On some motorway runs, the gauge reaches 72mpg. The best ever was 76mpg.
This is why the car tax is so low.

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Recovering, still?

I rode Racelite with MapMyRide+! Distance: 84.07km, time: 03:32:02, pace: 2:31min/km, speed: 23.79km/h.


Okay, so it takes more than a few days to get back on form. Average speed is low and after 52 miles, I feel tired.​
Still waiting for that new commuting bike. At least I have the old one to use this week.

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Decent ride on the Racelite.

I rode Racelite with MapMyRide+! Distance: 58.87km, time: 02:29:01, pace: 2:32min/km, speed: 23.70km/h.


Getting back into cycling. I always forget how long it takes to return to form. This time, the layoff includes weeks of hiking so it’s different exercise ratios than a real layoff.​

I may actually receive that new bike tomorrow, the Raleigh Mustang.It will come with a rack and mudguards. I have an old seat-pack but no speedo yet.

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Three rides.

22°C, bright and sunny. Light SW.
I rode with MapMyRide+! Distance: 25.16km, time: 01:16:28, pace: 3:02min/km, speed: 19.74km/h.


I’ve listed today’s rides separately because of their different character. Firstly a short one on the race bike and then to work on the cross bike. Finally, I returned along the canal.
Total, about 42 miles.

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