Bikes I have ridden – Condor tourer

“But there’s that same unhappy feeling, there’s that anguish, there’s that doubt. It’s that same old dizzy hangup, I can’t do with you or without”  Never Can Say Goodbye – Jackson 5

It’s always a sad moment; selling a bike. It feels wrong. To me it’s like selling your record collection (obviously an alien concept to the ipod generation) you’re always going to regret it. Yes, a bike’s an inanimate object, but you share a history.

Condor frame

Well the time has come to say goodbye to my early ‘80s steel framed Condor. She’s [1] basically way too big for me. I stopped growing (in height anyway) about 25 years ago, so I was never going to grow into it. Having your saddle touching the cross bar might have been the vogue for bikes pre-1930 but it’s not so good when you want to put your foot down at the traffic lights.

Condor Cycles are part of the fabric of British cycling. Their bikes have been ridden at World Championships, in the Tour de France and by aficionados of their craft for 60 years. Condor are to the bike world what Gieves and Hawkes are to suits.

Mine’s looking pretty shabby now: more charity shop than Saville Row. As you can see from the photo, the bike’s in the process of being stripped down to sell. The metallic blue still manages to shine, in between the many scratches. I’m a succour for cycling’s world champion rainbow stripes and the Condor transfer designs of my bike’s era are among their best.

Stripped down Condor

We’ve shared good times since the mid-90’s. Commuting in Oxford and London, wafting through southern Spain on a touring trip, keeping up with the Box Hill mountain bikers in Surrey and more recently ferrying infants in a child seat on the rear rack. 

When I had the children on the back, I replaced the drop bars with some wide cow-horn style cruiser bars which gave it a really laid back feel. It was always sod to get on and off though with a high cross bar, especially when unbalanced by the extra weight of a child at the back. It was different once you were rolling, because the frame was so big it gave you an elevated feeling, particularly in traffic. I imagine it’s how SUV drivers feel most of the time.

The Condor was about as close to the all-purpose bike as you could get. Hopefully I’ll find a good home through ebay.

[1] Bikes, like boats are “she” in my opinion. There’s the cue for countless leg-over jokes, but I do think that they are feminine.

  1. Nice blog. Your opening paragraph rings so true. Bicycles and records are a major part of my make up. I really could not see me parting with either. You are a stronger man than I! I wish you well in your seperation.

    • Bikes, records, books with inscriptions in, favourite pieces of furniture, photo albums, notebooks…it’s a nightmare. My inner minimalist is fighting to struggle free from the shackles of a hoarder.

  2. Sold my 20+ year old MBK MTB 2 years ago when I bought a lighter hybrid which I love but I still miss the old orange and white beauty. Just no space to keep everything.

    • Thanks. I’ve still got a few bikes left to enjoy!

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