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One of the most contentious and highly subjective subjects commonly found on bicycling blogs are gear reviews. They are often nothing more than personal preferences based upon unique experiences using individual products. Well dear reader, I will offer you nothing more than my highly opinionated reports based upon my very limited and unprofessional experience with just the stuff I have.

Lady Purple Rolls Again

With a little effort, some digging around for parts, a good dose of polish, and a whole lot of genuine "bike love"; an old friend rejoins the stable.

She hadn't been ridden in years. When I moved in, she was bumped outside to hunker under a tarp for a year. We finally moved her indoors, but still she languished for another couple of years - both tyres deflated, brakes disassembled and cannibalized, dusty and covered in cobwebs. She had been neglected for too long.

The photo above shows her just after new cables, tubes, brake blocks, and a good wash. Looking at the photo however, I just couldn't bare those horrible "BIG 80's" decals all over the frame. So....

I took off all those horrible decals and Voila! Underneath all the gaudy glitz is a classy hybrid cruiser! And she looks brand new. There is hardly a flaw in her paint. Perhaps down the road I'll get some more subtle replacement "Raleigh" decals for the downtube, but in the meanwhile... she just shines.

She rides like a brand new bike too. I completely hosed down the derailleurs with WD40, let 'em soak a while, then scrubbed them with degreaser, re-lubed, and holy cow... the gears change like butter now. She's very quiet as well... no rattles or squeaks, just smooth and easy.

As you can see I've added quite a bit to the overall setup, but the most significant modification was upgrading the pedals to MKS Lamda's. I was shocked with these pedals; they feel incredibly comfy and are so easy to use. You don't need any special shoes... no fumbling with toe-clips - just hop on and go! (£36 online at Evans Cycles)

The rest of the gear is a collection of things I had lying around; a "better-than-nothing" tyre pump, some decent REI panniers, a saddlebag with patch kit, etc. and a £20 rechargeable Cree headlight are the most notable items.

Oh, and I had a second handlebar mount for my Garmin, so there ya have it. Lady Purple is on the road again. Check out some images from her first date on the road in the "Gallery" section.

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