In praise of my Raleigh Pioneer GT 27-speed Tourer


July 27, 2011 by welshcyclist

I’ve been riding the GT now, on my commute, in fact everything,  for a good couple of months, and I can’t praise it enough ( touch wood ).

It’s much lighter than my Carreras’, both the the Subway 1, and LTD. I’ve had the bike for a long time, 5 years or so, but Id never ridden it. When I got it, a freebie from Raleigh themselves, I was completely thrilled, BUT! I ccould not get on with the drop handlebars, and how to change gears. This was much to the amazement and cheer of my eldest son, who became the grateful recipient of the GT, after I’d changed the bike’s drops to straight handlebars.

Well that was a long time ago, and he’d been riding it around and about, not many miles as such, but enough not to leave any tread on the back tyre. This has proved the only thing I needed to sort out, after starting to use the bike, as my commuter, after problems developed with the disc brakes on the Subway LTD , and my complete cack-handedness as a bike maniac,  and no I didn’t spell that wrong!

The bald back tyre didn’t present a problem until I noticed the bead splitting and a wobble on the back wheel, that I only felt on fast downhill stretches. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I changed the tyre for a new Nimbus Armadillo 700 x 28c, surprisingly, by my own hand.

Otherwise, it’s been a joy to ride the GT.

Still not fast, but I always get there, eventually, and anyway, as long as I’m pedalling, I’m happy.

I think it was over a week ago that I started this post, I had to abandon it, and save it to draft, but I’m back now.

I’ve been commuting on a dayshift for the past three days, approximately 120 miles notched up, so far, for the week. Off work tomorrow, then a support shift on Friday and Saturday. That’s my ideal shift, it entails going into the signalbox for 09.00., giving the three lads on shift, breaks from their panels, for food etc., and finish at 15.00. Which means not up too early and an early finish, luverly jubbly!

As luck would have it, today turned out to be a short shift also. Every 12 weeks, as signallers we are briefed with company news, safety issues on the railway, and new rules re: signalling trains. We also have to do what are called assessments i.e., answering questions, and running through scenarios on the computer. We’ve all been doing it for several years now, but all of a sudden the format has changed, to a full day with the local Ops manager, in front of a computer. It will only happen every 6 months from now on, with briefings every 3 months.

Well today was my assessment day, I had to be in for 09.00, and with the Ops manager by my side, I absolutely flew through the questions, modules and scenarios, and was able to start pedalling for home at 13.45. On top of that the day was gloriously sunny, if a tad humid. The cycle home was going great, but have I mentioned before that driving standards seem to drop markedly as soon as schools break up?

The schools broke up for the summer holidays last Friday, there’s lots of traffic on the roads, and cyclists become an endangered species, and a pain in the ass to drivers of everything. Today, I had to pull over for a police car, sirens blaring, as he passed the queue of traffic I was in. When the line of cars came to a halt I mounted the pavement and rode slowly on towards the problem. As I got closer to the flashing blue lights I heard pedestrians saying that a cyclist had been run over, and comments like…”they’re a bloody nuisance!” This was accompanied with dirty looks in my direction.

What’s going on a cyclist gets run down, and it’s automatically his/her fault?

Never mind the fact that all these drivers constantly cut us up, pass at speed too close etc.?

Instead of passing the scene of the accident, I took a side road to the canal towpath, and returned to my normal route on the homeward side of Neath. I got back to enjoying the ride, the weather and so on, as the sound of sirens disappeared. But they returned, and again I was passed by another police car, this time unmarked, just a flashing blue light fixed to the roof. This road was much quieter, with no traffic build up, so I was soon at a scene of ambulance, fire engine, police cars and two wrecked cars, at a junction outside of a school, where firemen were cutting an occupant out of one of the cars. A dreadful scene.         

I haven’t heard, as yet, any news of how the cyclist, or the car occupant fared as yet.

Depressing news I’m afraid.


2 thoughts on “In praise of my Raleigh Pioneer GT 27-speed Tourer

  1. tim says:

    The local paper around here has a web page where you can write letters to the editor etc. As soon as anybody posts a letter about cyclists ( pro or anti) expect a complete bun fight and over 20+ comments. The original topic is lost and it just becomes a fight between the anti-car and anti-cycling lobbies. I have complained and suggested that they should stop posting those letters as they don’t prove anything but still they are posted.

    Glad you are enjoying your cycling

  2. Small steps on the spannering front mate. If you take on very simple jobs and succeed then you’ll be motivated to try trickier jobs. There are plenty of video tutorials on Youtube covering pretty much most jobs. I’ve found as in most things having the right tools is key. I muddled through for too long trying to make do with incorrect kit. Luckily bike tools are relatively generic and relatively cheap.

    2 necessities for spannering. A bike stand and a good set of Allen Keys.

    On the car front, I’ve stopped worrying and getting angry about it. It is what it is and in all likelihood won’t change in my lifetime. Life is too short and you expend unecessary energy being concerned about it.

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