I rode the Raleigh Twenty into work yesterday - first time doing a significant ride. I received the Brooks B-66 on Saturday last week and in a couple minutes had it mounted to the seatpost. I'm hanging on to the original so I have a complete original stock bike, despite the rip in the saddle.
Anyway, I was up and out the door at 6AM yesterday, no rain, broken clouds. The Twenty travels at its own pace, for sure. The previous owner had the rear chain cog replaced with a bigger one which effectively lowers all the gears. This was an attempt to have it do better on hills. It does that. With the bike in first gear, you really get spinning. The problem though is that when you are going on flats or downhill, you have no upper end. Since most of the hills between here and work are not that significant, I'm really tempted to reverse it back to the stock cog in the back.
There is a bit of a shudder to the brakes in the rear. This is due to some oil that has gotten onto the rim from the Sturmey-Archer hub. They are a bit like fountain pens - they work great, but are a bit messy. You've got to be willing to deal with the mess.
The bike is pretty heavy. And you feel it in the hills, unless you drop the gear down and plod along. I was in no rush and it was a fun ride to enjoy.
On the way home, I stopped off at the Bellevue I-90 map kiosk for a breather. A younger couple from Beacon Hill stopped and asked me which was the best route into Bellevue. We talked for a bit about the "vintage bike." I got a few looks from drivers.
Many years ago, I drove a Volkswagen Thing (Type 181 to those of us who actually owned one). Riding the Twenty is like driving the VW Thing. It's not a car that you'd use everyday or do cross country drives in... but it sure was fun and got lots of looks.