Magnum....the one...the only...the one you definitely won't have heard of. Raleigh Magnum, born at the end of the 70's, he was a handsome old brute. Magnum was a monster, with an almighty 26" steel frame he towered over his fellow bicycles. Magnum was not a high speed racer, he was a cruiser. Chilled trips to the shops, leisurely summer rides, escapades to the library...that was his territory. He'd get you there, but in his own sweeet time. The years rolled on and Magnum passed from owner to owner, until finally one day he believed he'd found the perfect place to retire. It was under the ownership of one elderly gentleman, who, like Magnum, truly understood that getting somewhere in a hurry was never necessary. It was heaven. The days were passed with gentle trips to the grocery store, coastal meanders and soo much library time that Magnum could recite Shakespeare's backlog. However, soon his owner was too old to ride dear old Magnum and put him up for sale.
This is where i come in. My fifteen year old self saw the tiny ad for Magnum and was instantly in love. I immediately rang the owner, paid the mere £40 asking price and organised a courier to pick up my new steed. A week later he had arrived. I removed the cardboard and bubble wrap, took a step back and gazed in wonder at this elderly gent, but i wasn't looking at Magnum as a retiree...a bike only capable of trips to the library. This teen saw dear old Magnum as a symbol of freedom. As you already know from the " Apocaloon, " i was already completely obsessed with bicycle touring and believed this ancient hero was the bike for the job. This was all quite a shock to Magnum, who can't have expected his retirement to be characterised by more cycling than he'd accumulated in all his younger years combined.
Throughout that summer i took Magnum out no less than three times a week, often on rides well over sixty miles. The years passed, whilst Magnum and I explored every corner of South East England, before relocating to Surrey for uni. Things continued as usual until just before christmas in my second year when i had a rather nasty accident. Magnum's fragile old mud guards came loose as i hurtled down a hill sooo steep you'd need climbing equipment to ascend it. I'd like to tell you exactly what happened, but i was too busy being unconscious on the road. When i awoke i was laying face down on the tarmac, i stumbled to my feet and assessed the pretty nasty head injury i'd incurred. Then i looked over to Magnum, his handlebars were bent, his front forks were coming out of his arse and the whole frame was contorted. I'd killed him. I took Magnum's corpse back home for the Christmas break and began working on a viking style funeral. However, this was not to be, like Jesus' resurrection...and the copious sequels to the apparently invincible Chucky doll...Magnum was to rise again. My parents knew how much this dear old steed meant to me and thus had Magnum repaired as my Christmas present!
Over the remaining months of Uni i completely isolated myself to my studies....in other words i behaved in exactly the same way i had done during my entire three years. However, i decided that during the last few months of uni i would gradually upgrade Magnum with all the necessary touring garments to embark on a tour abroad after graduation. Of course the " necessary touring Garments " and " tour " were to be carried out on a non-existent budget...see " France " in the " Apocalog " for further details.
Before i knew it uni was over and i was crossing the channel, two weeks later it appeared a " Bicycle Touring Apocalypse " had taken place. Dear old grandpa Magnum was once again down in the dumps....and probably pretty furious. His Brakes had screamed themselves to dust, he'd lost a spoke for every one of the four hundred miles he'd traversed, grip tape hung miserably from his still bent handlebars, the water bottle cage fitted with cable ties had magically disappeared, the rear pannier rack was in a bin way back in le Fecamp, the soaking wet panniers subsequently hung precariously off the bent front pannier, his mudguards rubbed on buckled wheels and the gears slipped with every turn.......France had been cruel. The fatal crash at uni had been a tragedy equal to Euripides' Medea , but Magnum had resurrected...a true martyr.....only to face this complete and all encompassing disintegration.
At this point it would seem logical to assume that i finally threw in the towel and accepted that Magnum was a goner. It would be ludicrous to expect i'd then decide it was time to spend the best part of two grand on this old pensioner.....but of course that's exactly what I did. The weekend i got back i marched Magnum into my local bike shop and began a six month project to finally give Magnum the touring bike makeover he deserved.
Magnum's frame was rotten. If i was going to create my dream tourer i'd need to get the frame professionally restored. Hence, Magnum's frame was soon packed up and off to Bob Jackson (www.bobjacksoncycles.co.uk) with a list of repairs longer than the Nile and heaps of upgrades to boot!
Magnum's frame was complete, it was now time to replace every one of his decrepit components. In fact the only thing i kept was the seat post and my Brooks saddle. This is where Alan's genius really shone through, he'd had the frame very carefully altered at Bob Jackson to accommodate all the best and most modern touring tech. Hence, soon enough a new Magnum was emerging from the flames...
Six months of blood, sweat and tears later Magnum had arrived. The bike that had started as a 70's relic....overcome death once....only to endure a complete disintegration in France had risen from the Crypt once more. However, this time Magnum has come back fighting, tailored for purpose, this custom touring bike will take me to the ends of Middle-Earth and back.....this is where the real adventure begins!!!!
Finally I want to thank the " Bike Shed " ( 71 Canterbury Road, Margate, CT9 5AS ) for making this rebuild possible. The creative energy and workmanship put into the construction of this bike was second to none. Alan and Robert....I want to grovel at your feet in servitude, you’ve truly created something special. Thank you.