For the Sussex-Shetland unsupported ride in 2019 I rode a Raleigh ‘Classic’ all-steel tourer, hand-built in Nottingham during the 1980’s. I’ve owned this ‘gentlemen’s’ conveyance’ since new. It was described in Raleigh’s 1985 catalogue as being for ‘the serious cyclist who wants the ultimate in quality and function’. It’s a workhorse and looked after me in some challenging conditions.
Below: the Raleigh Classic. Perfect for the tough, loaded ride to Shetland and my choice for the London – York Heritage Ride 2021
But a wider range of bikes will suit the 2021 London – York Heritage Tour. Road bikes will be fine as long as they’re not out-and-out racers. So 28mm puncture-resistant tyres such as Continental Gatorskins, lowish gears, mudguards and a small pack for spare inner tubes, tyre levels and a rain jacket are recommended. Gravel bikes or touring bikes will be fine and electric bikes are welcome.
Remember that we won’t need to carry luggage so carbon frames and forks should be fine. It might, though, be wise to use ‘winter’ aluminium wheels rather than a top-of-the-range carbon wheelset. Some minor roads can be a bit choppy after winter frosts and canal or river towpaths will be bumpy in places.
I’m tempted to use my carbon-framed Boardman 9.6 Disk with a low gear of 34/32, 28mm tyres, mudguards and a bell. (Essential for the towpaths.) But I’m reluctant to ‘retire’ the faithful Raleigh tourer and that’s my choice for 2021. It’s built for long rides and it’s super-reliable.