A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Raleigh PUB

or.....Where has Xavier been?

Several months ago, I began to think.........How best to regain abs of steel while preserving my knees of pasta? At 6'1" and 268 pounds, the old leg benders are beginning to feel the strain. It is time to lighten the load they carry. I used to swim as well as run for exercise and fitness. Running was out as an option due to the inability of my knees to take the beating. Years of training with 70 pound packs and combat boots have taken their toll. Swimming, likewise, is out. I refuse to pay fees to a health club just to dodge kids in the lap lanes. My wife-mate refuses to allow me to swim in the river. Something about moccasins and undertows.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, while on the pawn shop circuit, I noticed a bike. Hmmmmmm.....says I. It was a Wal-Mart mountain bike, but not too much of an investment. Perhaps.....I discussed it with my wife-mate, who suggested we check at the local bike shop (LBS) to take a look at prices. That sounded good. I had not ridden in years, so I had no idea of current prices.

I quit riding back in the late eighties. I was staying in shape in the military, traveling a lot, and bending over a ten-speed road bike decked out in spandex just wasn't a sailor's idea of a good time. In the succeeding years, I sneered at the skinny rawhide boys pedaling along at high speed, mounted on carbon fiber, wearing lycra with blinky lights on their heads. It seemed bicycling had lost it's roots in transportation and fun. It was awash with tree hugging weirdos from another planet. All was focused on speed and competition or alternative fuel to satisy Al Gore. The alternative was mountain biking, or break dancing on a BMX bike. Neither of those made sense either. I just wanted a road worthy bike to ride at my speed for fun and fitness, and maybe to stop at the grocery store for a six-pack on the way home. Where the hell were the bikes for a fellow like me? Surely there are more everyday Joe's like me.........Surely there is a market!

I discussed my desires with my wife-mate on the way to the bike store. It seemed I was doomed to either accept a mountain bike or rebuild a garage sale bike, but she agreed to join me in my quest for riding. At the LBS, I learned the new breed of bike was designed for people like myself. It has a mixture of the road bike's speed and hill conquering ability, while allowing an upright riding posture ala' the bikes of old. In the store, I found the hybrid to be the bike for me, and I purchased a Raleigh Passage 4.0. My wife ordered an Electra Townie 3s for herself, and we ordered a purple Raleigh Mojave 2.0 for Little Darling. Expect reviews on those in the future. Not yet owning a bike rack, I rode my new bicycle home.

The Raleigh Passage was a good riding bike, but the complexity of the derailleurs and suspension wasn't quite cutting it. As an old fart, I desire simplicity in my life, and I yearn for the icons of my childhood. (That is one reason I chose a Raleigh, even though they are now constructed in China, not Nottingham.) Like many people who purchase new items, I had bought first, and then went to the internet to research. The Raleigh Passage 4.0 got rave reviews. Good. It still did not fit my desires. I clicked on the Raleigh Cruiser icon, and I found the P.U.B, or Public Utility Bike.

Wow! That was it. Masculine brown in color, with an aluminum frame, and a more obtuse seat tube angle, moving the pedals forward while lowering and moving back the seat. The styling was that of a basic bike, indeed, a rental bike, with a retro flavor. It had one rear sprocket, only a coaster brake, wide, uncluttered handlebars, and a springer front end. Fat tires on yellow rims and springs beneath the seat rounded out the package. Hell, it even had a bottle opener on the bike! Even better, it had been discontinued by Raleigh in 2006 after only a year, a sure rarity in the years to come. Apparently Raleigh did not really want the old fat beer swilling market after all.

But how could I justify another bike? Had I made a mistake purchasing the Passage? I finally came to the conclusion that this was like a Combat Masterpiece. They ain't makin' it any more. Get it now, or regret it later. I decided the Passage 4.0 would be the bike for group rides when I needed extra gears to keep up. The PUB would be the bike for me. I could not find any consumer reviews on this bike online. None. Nada. I was buying blind, but I have invested much more on a hunch. I went back to the bike store and placed an order. I waited with anticipation...............

The Raleigh PUB Review

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Anonymous Brian said...

Well for the cool factor all I can say is WOW For the exercise factor all I can say is ...not And this is from a person who is a vet and like you used to be in great shape. I went through the bicycle phase riding for time and ther is a lot to it if you are going to do it for exercise. Any good bicycle shop should have an inexpensive book that explains the hows of bicycling for fitness. It is hard on your ankles and knees but there are techniques to help lessen the impact. take a look at this http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/internet/pmr/obser100.cfm I just did a quick search so I could reply to your post. I am sure there is a ton more information out there and probably good pricing through the internet. Anyway I am a several time a week loyal reader of your website. I just ordered a xse lw commander for carry.

9:24 AM  

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