I bought myself a bicycle to replace the one that was stolen, and have been cycling around for a couple of weeks now.
My bicycle is an old English three-speed, refurbished by the Oxford Cycle Workshop (which is conveniently just around the corner from us). This isn't going to win any races and is far from shiny - probably an advantage given the incidence of bike theft! - but it's a great bike for getting around town on and should serve fine for the occasional longer trip up the Thames cycleway or something like that.
From Sheldon Brown:
"Don't sneer at old 3-speeds. They are serious bikes, built for serious use. They are meant for utilitarian cyclists, and they are still extremely appropriate for riders who don't usually go more than a few miles at a time. They are particularly at home in stop-and-go traffic, because they can be shifted even while stopped. Their English heritage: full fenders, oil lubrication, and totally enclosed gear system makes them relatively impervious to wet conditions. They may be heavy, but that is not because they were built to be cheap, but because they were built to endure extremely rough usage and neglect. Properly cared for, they will outlast us all."
There's more about three-speeds here.
As far as cycling goes, Oxford is a dream. But more about that later.
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