Day 0 and the Raleigh Wildtrack
I knew I needed a mountain bike for the live build, but I’d left buying one until the last minute. It wasn’t through want of trying – I’d visited half a dozen bike shops in the area over the past few weeks in search of a suitable one, but there was one problem: my taste for mountain bikes was still firmly rooted in 2000. The turn of the century heralded the beginning of a passion for bicycles that is still firmly with me. So I preferred the retro style that I grew up with. The new style was too flashy for my taste and the tubing was far too thick. At the age of 14, my school friends and I would cycle through Upton St Leonards, up a very steep hill called Portway to Painswick Beacon. It took an hour or two to cycle right to the top, but it was worth it. It was in this area that I found a freedom in cycling down its wooded trails. You can’t beat the exhilaration of cycling fast down a hill and I wanted to capture some of that excitement while I was at Dumfries House. I visited the Gloucestershire Bike Project, a local charity that restores and sells donated bicycles. They had plenty of great bikes, but not one that quite suited my needs: I was looking for a mountain bike that was simple, sturdy and had a retro feel to it. And it couldn’t be flashy. I didn’t want to attract any unwanted attention. As I left their warehouse, I saw a blue Raleigh Wildtrack that was bound for sale on the Internet. It was perfect. And only £95 – a quarter of what I was looking to pay. I don’t think I would ever fall in love with something so cheap. I bought it there and then. The only thing I had to change were the tyres. The ones that it had were brand new, but they were too knobbly for my liking, so I bought some ones that were good all-rounders for road and trail riding. I’ve already been to the local Tesco on it and I’m still in love. My love of bicycles has been thoroughly renewed. And what better to do it than through a charity.