Gallery: Alan Goswell’s Carrera Subway

Alan Goswell's Carrera Subway
Alan Goswell's Carrera Subway

After retiring I was diagnosed with diabetes, and took up cycling, after a pause of 50 years to beat it. I became interested in cycle touring. I toured the Scottish Outer and Inner Hebrides and the Scottish highlands on an old Dawes Galaxy and a smooth tyred MTB. But I wanted something better.

Being a pensioner on a limited income meant I could not afford a big name purpose built touring bike. But I noticed that the English bike shop chain Halfords had a solid looking quality commuter bike for £300 ($480) that seemed as if it could be a good basis for a tourer. The Carrera Subway had a strong aluminium frame, 26″ wheels, a 24 ratio SRAM gear train giving a spread of 18″ to 92″ ideal for fully loaded touring. It had cable operated Tektro disc brakes, and on trying it, the frame geometry suited me perfectly. Adding mudguards (fenders?), a Topeak disc rack, Panaracer Pasela tyres and bottle cages was simple.

For my first tour on it I did 500 miles around Brittany France, including 100 miles on rough canal towpaths. I ride this bike most days in the Chiltern Hills 40 miles west of London and often take it for day tours to scenic places like the hilly Cotswolds, full of quaint villages of honey coloured stone houses , and the New Forest, the hunting ground of Tudor monarchs.

This year, I had saved up £250 and added butterfly bars, a Brooks Flyer saddle and replaced the no name wheels with handbuilt 36 spoke, Deore hubbed, Rigida Grizzlys fitted with a Shimano dynamo hub on the front to charge my smartphone. Later the bike took me on a camping tour of Normandy France including the D Day Invasion Beaches.

In all the bike has only cost me £700 ($1120), half or less of what a ready built high quality tourer costs. It weighs a hefty 34lbs all up, but its rock solid loaded and fantastically stable. I created a comfortable versatile rugged tourer and fitness bike that’s at home on tarmac or track at a bargain price.

I am very happy. You don’t have to pay a fortune for a decent bike, just use your nut!

South Oxfordshire

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