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Vol. 2, Issue 17 - Sep / Oct 2008

Posted: Friday 26th September 2008

Author: Peter Underwood

Sorry this edition is a few days late but we were cycling in Italy on the due date. We were lucky to have nine days of glorious sunshine to go with the good food, wine, and cycling. It is noticable in Italy that there is a generation of cyclists who seem to have ‘retired’ from serious cycling but are still seen out in the mornings on beautifully kept Colnagos and the like. I see them rushing home in time for wine and pasta at lunch.

Our first lightweight ride after the last edition of Lightweight News was to the Hetchins/Taper Tube Weekend at Kingsland in Hereford. What an amazing event, organised in the main by David and Shirley Hinds! Patricia and I are both vegetarians and we hadn’t booked for the Friday evening meal as we weren’t sure what time we would arrive. We saw the wonderful spread Shirley had provided and kicked ourselves for not booking. After a visit to the local pub we realised that we wouldn’t get anything we really wanted so went back to the site with cap-in-hand to beg some of the leftovers, Shirley produced a great meal which set the theme for the weekend when we had her home-made quiches, pies, cakes, etc with wonderful salads and puddings.

David’s organisation of the weekend’s events was faultless. To prove there is a God, those of us who opted for the long ride on the Saturday had but a brief shower on the way to Hay-on-Wye and back, whereas the riders who opted for the shorter versions were in and out of waterproofs all the way round. We bowled along on the 50-miler with a well-matched group chatting all the way there and back – this is what it’s all about I thought.

That evening the entertainment was provided by Terry Pearce of Reading Lightweight Ride fame. I don’t think many of us knew that Terry was one of a super group of musicians who kept us all entertained for the evening (after more of Shirley’s food). Luckily we found a good B & B nearby and returned on the Sunday for yet another great ride, sadly abbreviated by a heavy downpour – B. soft Southerners you see!

Seeing Terry with his wife Pauline together with David and Shirley really made us appreciate to what lengths some folk go to organise such events for us, and how lucky we are for it. Rest assured that we never take these things for granted and they really provide the reason for spending so much time and effort collecting and building classic lightweights. Many thanks to you all.

We had a good journey home in our rented car and four days later we were off for two weeks holiday cycling on the borders of Germany/Austria/Switzerland, not on classics this time but riding our Airnimal ‘folders’.

The following items were left behind at the headquarters after the Hetchins/Granby Weekend:

  1. Ellesse” top (grey and black), nearly new.
  2. Yellow and black top with a lot of reflective strips. ‘Team Le mond’ Well worn.
  3. Cycle stand black, wheeled variety.
  4. Large green plastic box containing a 12v strip light, Royal Super Air pump, a large number of new metal tent pegs, and sundry other items.
    Please contact the organiser, David Hinds, if these are yours.

HOW TO PAINT A BICYCLE FRAME by Keith Hellon (Chicago, USA)

Unless there is a burning desire to paint it yourself, the equipment cost needed to effect an acceptable finish, not to mention a level of skill, should deter all but a wealthy masochist. Remember, a professional painter can charge because he has the skill and equipment, which he can amortise over many jobs.

Let us start with the equipment:
A fair job can be done with an aerosol spray, but I would restrict the aerosol to the primer application, there, it is very satisfactory. So, the first item would be a 3 HP minimum air compressor to work off house current

Now for the preparation:
The frame and fork must be completely stripped of all fittings and washed down with a turpentine or similar solvent to remove all grease. Clean inside the bottom bracket, head tube and seat tube. Use a tooth brush.

Dry with rags. DO YOU HAVE NEW TRANSFERS? Now is the time to carefully trace them AND photograph with a ruler along side for location and size. Take the frame and fork outside with old newspapers to lay down to collect the old paint. Don the rubber gloves and safety glasses. Wear an old long sleeved shirt. Use cheap brush to paint stripper on the whole frame and fork. It can be put aside for an hour or so. Remove the first layer with a scraper. Re apply another coat of stripper and leave for an hour, this coat should be heavier than the first. Again, an hour or two wait is needed. After scraping the loose paint, take the wire brush in the drill. YOU MUST WEAR PROTECTIVE GOGGLES. Beware of flying steel bristles. But this method seems to be the best for cleaning paint from around the lugs, etc. When almost clean, sand everywhere with the dry 120 grit paper. Clean steel is a beautiful sight! Are you having any chrome plating done? This is the time to decide. If not, the frame and fork should be scrubbed with a a 3M coarse and a solution of muriatic acid and water, about 30% acid, you must wear rubber gloves and safety glasses. Keep all the surfaces wetted for about 5 mins. Then dry with lint free rag. It should have a brownish cast, all the dents can now be filled. Deep ones should use the 2-part epoxy in thin build up stages. Each application to dry before next coat, Sand down with dry 120 grit until flush. The lacquer putty is for filling primed surfaces.

Get ready for paint:
A 12” long threaded rod with suitable nuts and washers, large enough to cover the bottom bracket apertures, these should extend 4” either side of the bottom bracket when fitted. A similar arrangement should be attached through the head tube. These are handles for moving freshly painted frames, you will also suitable hanging locations for wire hangers to locate the frame at a height where all surfaces to be painted can be seen.

The seat tube can have a rolled thick paper tube pushed in leaving about four inches exposed. After frame is positioned, wipe down with a reducer wetted lint free cloth. Allow to dry, then a tack rag to remove any dust. Take the can of primer and shake for 2-3 mins. Continue to shake when between sprays. The paint can should be held at least 6” from frame and always keep the paint can in motion to prevent runs. The first coat should be fogged on, starting in the most difficult locations, i.e. inside the junction of seat tube and seat stays. Then bottom bracket area. Do not be concerned at lack of coverage. Do remainder of frame with a fog coat. Do the fork by holding steerer tube and rotating. Wait for 4-5 Mins. Now apply second coat, this time a little fuller following the same area pattern. Bursts can be used in the confined areas, but along tubes, start painting by holding the nozzle open at start and immediately a sweeping motion down the tube, releasing the nozzle at end of stroke .

Wait for 5 mins. Check for missed areas and runs. Any areas can be filled with the lacquer putty. Wait for putty to dry before adding paint to thin areas after sanding runs gently with 120 grit dry. The third and final coat should be applied full in the same sequence. After drying allow to dry for at least an hour, or if convenient, overnight. Look for any runs or non-smooth areas over filled areas. Correct these areas with 220 grit. The rest of the frame can be smoothed with 3M scouring pad lightly applied (all we want to do is smooth the primer).

Applying the colour:
Lay out old newspapers on bench. Place filter in loop. Open paint can and remove lid. Stir paint thoroughly with wooden stirrer. Replace the can lid but leave lid slightly open at a point away from label description. Put paint sprayer container below the cone shaped filter in the fixture. Pour the paint into the filter and stop when the paint level rises to a quarter full in the paint sprayer container. Close the paint lid with hammer.

Add the reducer through the filter until about halfway up the sprayer container. Stir the container until mixed. Have a vertical test panel available to test spray pattern. Place container into gun. The adjustments on the gun are; two knurled knobs at rear, upper one adjusts air flow, in for reduced, the other for trigger movement, again, in for reduced trigger action. Another control is the nozzle. Two wings which are vertical can be made horizontal by loosening the knurled ring and rotating the wings to a horizontal position, retighten the lock ring. Test the spray at a low air and short trigger and adjust to suit, along with the nozzle pattern. Wet down the floor area you will be painting in to keep down the dust. Keep wet until finished. The first coat should be a fogging coat, so set that way for first application. Apply the paint in the same sequence, and using the same application tecnique as you did the primer application. Don’t worry about the thinness of the coat. After 4-5 mins. A second fuller coat should be applied. Open the air flow slightly along with the trigger movement.

Bursts can be used in the tight areas. Allow 4-5 mins to dry. The final coat should be reduced to 25% paint 75% Reducer. Empty container, pour a small amount of reducer in and swill around to clean. Pour out. Wipe inside with lint free cloth. Open paint can removing lid and stir with fresh stirrer, replace lid with a gap in the same location. Use new filter and pour in about 1½”, fill with reducer to 4” level and stir. This will flow freer than previous coats, so test spray first. Adjust if needed. The final coat can now be applied. Let dry for a couple of days minimum.

Now you have painted your frame Keith will be telling you how to make the decals for it in Lightweight News 18 unless you have decided it is worth paying a professional to do it for you!

Ian Briggs write to us about Charles (Chas) Messenger, who died recently. In every obituary you read of Chas Messenger, they all major on his work on the Tour of Britain / Milk Race, as a member of the BLRC etc., etc.

However, most racing cyclists of a ‘certain age’ from the Thames Valley / West London area of the UK will remember Chas more fondly for different reasons. The Milk Race and lots of high-profile stuff like that of course, yes – but in the 1970s Chas was more important to us as a prolific organiser of what we called “Chippers”*. (* Chippers – is a contraction of “Fish & Chippers”), a bikers’ jokey reference to races of about 40 – 60 miles with small prize lists where the 1st prize could quite literally be a voucher for a meal at the local Fish & Chip Shop… Many racers have good cause to be grateful to him for the huge amount of work he did running these races (it seemed like every weekend), for no reward and quite simply so that people with, let’s say, “less talent”, got to race in a peloton regularly.

The great thing about them was that rarely did Chippers attract big names/pot hunters – which was exactly the point. I rode many, many of Chas’s “3/J/L” (Third Category, Junior and Ladies) and/or Handicap road races over the years – never won a thing – though came a close 4th once in a four up sprint and loved every minute of them. Chas was a cheery but very business-like individual and I think one of the very few organisers/commissaires who enjoyed absolutely universal respect from his riders.

No-one argued with Chas – woe betide… and I have clear memories of the ferocious on-the-move, bollocking I got from him once (Chas hanging out the window of a car) for crossing a white line in my anxiety to move up the line in a split. This wasn’t delivered for petty reasons of officialdom – more because he had developed a really good relationship with the police forces he dealt with to organise races, was protective of that relationship and thus his races. They were watching – and he wasn’t going to let some little oik damage that by riding headlong into oncoming traffic… IMHO it is for his unstinting work on the ‘grass-roots’ element of British road racing Mr Chas Messenger should really be remembered.

As a point of interest, Ian goes on, I was riding for Reading Cycling Club and later Didcot Phoenix CC when I was riding C M’s events (usually Saturday afternoon jobbies as I recall) and of course Chas was well known to all West London / Thames Valley roadmen simply because he was probably the most prolific race organiser in the area.

I suspect few of us really understood how much he did for us in that regard – I know I didn’t, and it’s only later that you realise of course. Ah, the ingratitude of youth!

Exciting prospect for Campagnolo enthusiasts – a new book to be published by Velo Press, viz: Campagnolo: 75 Years ISBN: 978-1-934030-37-0; No. of Pages: 160

Due in October, the book is hardcover with a jacket, individually shrink-wrapped. It’s four-colour throughout with photos and diagrams on almost every page. It’s formatted very much like Cycling’s Golden Age. There’s plenty of text about the history of Campagnolo, but the photos and diagrams are the real highlights of the book.

It will be published in Italy (in Italian) first, probably in early September and later translated into English just for you! I have seen some pre-published pages, in English, and can tell you no Campag enthusiast will want to be without this book, neither will he (or she) want to wait for Father Christmas to bring it!.

Campagnolo: 75 years will also be available from V-CC Club sales.

Peter Stray would like any information regarding the whereabouts of Mal Rees frame number 3359 (it is a Amersham model, size 21.1/2″)
He would also like to purchase an Imperial Petrel “jug handle” frame/machine – prepared to consider any size & condition.

Richard Fox – has the following equipment to dispose of:

  • One time-trialling frame built by Tom Board as a Pat Hanlon, I believe it is in Columbus Superlight as Tom preffered working in that. There are two sets of forks as my father did not like the rake of the set supplied originally. It is sprayed in plain orange, NO TRANSFERS. No head set or bottom bracket.
  • Two identical road bikes built by Pat for my mother, i.e. Tom Board frames. These are identical and are in Reynolds 531 (the only tubing my mother would have). These are bespoke frames with mid-quality touring gear (Hanlon built wheels) and straight bars bacause of my mothers spinal problems. I think they are 23 inch frames but can check. They have plain Pat Hanlon logos on the down tubes as they were built after the shop closed and Pat traded from home. They are finished in gold.
  • Two pairs of Hanlon-built road wheels, one a set of racing wheels with black Mavic rims, the others are touring wheels.
  • A Freddie Grubb road track frame, i.e. it has track rear ends but enough clearance for high pressure tyres and it is fitted with mudguard eyes. Again no transfers but my dad said it was a Grubb and I cannot imagine why he would lie about it.
  • A Barkers of Chingford ladies road bike, i.e. no crossbar. It is from the late 50’s/early 1960’s. It belonged to a club member’s wife and my mother bought it from her. It has Reynolds 531 DB tubing and mid-range touring gear, resprayed (against her wishes) light blue with, obviously, no original transfers.

Ed Gilligan I am writing to enquire as to whether any of your contributors have any knowledge of a small frame builder from Liverpool/Wirral called Alan Green from around the 50’s or 60’s. My dad has always regaled me with stories of his road trips from Liverpool to Chester for folk nights on his handbuilt 531 tubing bike but I can’t find any information on this builder. I hope to find one for restoration for him but as yet I have found no information, let alone anyone with one for sale.

Des Wilcox – has a 24” Thanet Silverthan for sale; it is in very good condition – Warrington

Tony Smith writes:

I’m not sure if someone will remember but James Fothergill also built a ‘lugless’ frame. Back in the mid 1960’s I acquired such a lugless frame which was originally thought to be a ‘Paris’. It was eventually identified as being a Fothergill. It was in bad need a respray so I took it to Fothergill’s – then on Smithdown Road – who was so pleased to see it. He recommended, as always, that it be given to C&G Finishers (then in Back Falkner Street) for refurbishment.

Being a simple teenager (just), cash was tight but nevertheless I let Jim have it. Some two weeks later I went back to the shop and there in the shop was this magnificent magenta and gold bike frame that looked nothing like anything I could ever afford to own !!! It was the talking point of the shop that Saturday.

Jim then surprised me and told me that there was NO CHARGE for the refurb just that I ‘look after it’. I had planned to take the thing home on the bus but Jim would have none of it and commandeered one of his mates to run me home with the bike on the back seat!! I lovingly added the best of what I could afford to the bike and had it for some years during my membership at Walton C&AC. At 15 I broke a leg and the bike was stored in a shed. One of my old school mates eventually bought it from me and, I heard later, swapped it for a motorbike !!! I wish I could find the frame now, I would pay many a quid to get it back.

Thanks for reading

Posted: Friday 26th September 2008

Author: Peter Underwood

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