Let me take you back.
The year is 1990. New Kids on the Block top the charts. England are cheated out of certain world cup glory by West Germany. Margaret Thatcher is still in power for a bit at least. Mountain Biking is 'cool' in the same way Yo-Yos, skateboards, BMXs and rubiks cubes were before. A callow 13 year old is promised one of these mountain bikes for his upcoming birthday. He trawls the local shops which include Noahs Ark and Bike Tech, both sadly no more. He decides a nice 18 inch Saracen will do nicely. (Un)fortunately a trip is taken to a local ma and pa Raleigh dealer who convince all concerned a year old Raleigh Mirage with a 23" frame is just the ticket for a growing lad. "Something to grow into son".
The bike is duly collected and several months of fun are had despite it being at least 3 sizes too big around the edge of the Cotswolds. Sadly the Raleigh met an end thanks to a rather large and firm tree. The head angle was steepened permenantly. Regardless of it's shortcomings I always had a soft spot for the old Raleigh. After all without it many years of extremely mediocre cycling may never have happeded.
Fast forward nearly twenty (nearly twenty...utter madness) years and on a whim a wanted ad is posted on this very site. A link is posted to ebay > http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/710-53481 ... 230619fc1a
and the rest is history. £62 pounds and 4 days later the kind seller (cheers Paul if by some chance you're reading this) drops the Mirage off for me at Retrobike HQ. Normally bike deliveries here are a little more exotic but few (or any) have produced a bigger smile than the arrival of Nottingham's finest.
Anyhow enough chat. The bike. A few pics of bike as received. Nice bit of patina (if it was a BMX think it'd be called a survivor) but overall in great nick. The cheng shin centre ridges have plenty of live and biopace are still very oval. Needs a clean and new cables. Possibly take the rear mech off my old Raleigh and stick it on here since this has been sprayed with a rattle can.
A few more pics here > http://www.retrobike.co.uk/gallery2/mai ... emId=72421
As a bonus this is about the right size. Once I get it sorted a 20th anniversary ride maybe in the offing