Before there were Brompton or Dahon or Bike Friday folding bikes, there was the Raleigh Twenty, manufactured from the late 1960s to the early 1980s in the UK. Like its modern counterparts, the Twenty was a hit with bike tourists and commuters combining a bike trip with a train, bus or airplane ride. Like vintage cars, there are active fan sites for the Raleigh Twenty. Sheldon Brown even owned one. That’s how bike geek cool they are.
But that’s not why Madeleine bought her Raleigh Twenty. It was simply a good deal on a basic bike to ride around San Francisco, and it came with the luxury of traveling under the radar of bike thieves. When her other bike was snatched cruelly from a bike rack, the thief left her Raleigh Twenty beside it resting in peace.
Heavier than its modern counterparts with larger 20″ wheels, and sporting just three gears in its Sturmey Archer hub, you’d think it wouldn’t be the best choice for hilly San Francisco. But Madeleine loves climbing and her little coffee-brown Raleigh Twenty powers her up the steep grades just fine.
Location: Ferry Building Plaza, San Francisco, California, USA.