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Vol. 2, Issue 37 – January / February 2012

Posted: Thursday 12th January 2012

Author: Peter Underwood

The Classic New Years Quiz 2012 By Geoff Waters (Durban SA)

Attempt all questions unless otherwise stated each question counts 1 mark answers and score rating at the end. One mark for each correct answer unless otherwise stated

1.Reg Harris’ Raleigh track machines all bore the letters R H H on their seat tubes. What does the middle letter ‘H’ in these three letters stand for?

2. Which British frame builder used the anagram RAMELES for one of his models?

3. In what year did Fausto Coppi win his first Giro d’Italia?

(a) 1940 (b) 1945 (c) 1947

4. Who was the Briton who won the UCI world amateur sprint title in 1922?

(a) Bill Bailey (b) Tiny Johnson (c) Leon Meredith (d) Freddie Grubb

5. Which one of the following was not a classic Italian frame builder?

(a) Cinelli (b) Brambilla (c) Frangipani (d) Guerra (e) Pogliaghi

6. Who was ‘Oppy’?

7. Which one of the following was not a Parisian cycling track?

(a) Buffalo (b) Municipale (c) Oerlikon (d) Parc des Princes (e) Vel d’Hiv

8. What type of event was the ‘Trofeo Baracchi’?

9. Name the cities in which the following British frame builders were located:

(a) Johnny Berry (b) Rotrax (c) Harry Quinn (d) Ephgrave (e) Jack Taylor [5 marks]

10. When did Tom Simpson win the UCI world pro road championship and on which French make of bicycle?

(a) 1963 (b) 1965 (c) 1967 i) Helyett ii) Lejeune iii) Peugeot iv) Gitane [2 marks]

11. Which two of the following were not Hetchins frame models?

(a) Experto Credo (b) Pons Asinorum (c) Magnum Opus (d) Vade Mecum (e) Carpe Diem [2 marks]

12. Which one of the following trackmen never raced on a Claud Butler?

(a) Toni Merkens (b) Harry Wyld (c) Dennis Horn (d) Bill Maxfield (e) Reg Harris

13. Who was Reg Harris’ tandem partner when they won the silver medal at the 1948 London Olympics?

(a) Hampshire (b) Bannister (c) Pond (d) Binch (e) Peacock

14. Which of the following marques did Bill Hurlow build frames for?

(a) Condor (b) Viking (c) Carlton (d) Mal Rees (e) Hobbs of Barbican [1 mark for each correct answer]

15. Which British tandem pair won the silver medal in the tandem event at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics?

(a) Sibbit/E.Chambers (b) D.Horn/Higgins (c) E.Chambers/Harvell

16. What was Lucièn Juy famous for?

17. Which of the following produced chainsets?

(a) Gnutti (b) Cinelli (c) BSA (d) Chater Lea (e) Huret [I mark for each correct answer]

18. In which year did Ian Steel win the Peace Race?

(a) 1950 (b) 1952 (c) 1954

19. Which one British component manufacturer was Leon Meredith associated with?

(a) Chater Lea (b) Constrictor (c) Resilion (d) Williams (e) Cyclo

20. Which one of the following was not a classic Italian pro team?

(a) Carpano (b) Bianchi (c) Legnano (d) Topolino (e) Nivea

21. Who won the first UCI pro world road championship held in 1927?

(a) Binda (b) Ronsse (c) Magne (d) Kint (e) Maes

22. What was the ‘Muratti Cup’?

23. Who won the first BLRC road championship in 1945?

(a) E. Clements (b) D. Bedwell (c) R.J. Maitland (d) R. Thom (e) P. Stallard

24. Which is the oldest Continental classic?

(a) Milan–San Remo (b) Tour of Flanders (c) Paris–Roubaix (d) Liege–Bastogne–Liege

25. Who won the first UCI world cyclo–cross championship in 1950?

(a) Rondeaux (b) Robic (c) Dufraisse

26. Which one of the following was not a maker of lightweight brakes?

(a) GB (b) Mafac (c) CLB (d) Zefal (e) Resilion (f) Ballila

27. What is the ‘Cima Coppi’?

28. Which British rider won the UCI world amateur road championship in 1967?

(a) Les West (b) Norman Sheil (c) Bill Bradley (d) Graham Webb (e) Bill Holmes

29. In what year did Ray Booty break the 4 hour barrier in a British 100 mile time trial and what was his time?

(a)1954 (b) 1956 (c) 1958 i) 3hr 58.28 min ii) 3hr 59.17 min [2 marks]

30. Which British sponsored team participated in the Tour de France in 1955?

(a) ANC–Halfords (b) Viking (c) Hercules (d) BSA (e) Raleigh

Answers at foot of newsletter (No cheating)

Cycling in My Youth by Eric Hall – Part one

As you will read below, Eric started cycling when still at school and would have continued through until today. In September 2003 he was involved in an accident with a fast-moving car and while he has made a strong recovery physically, sadly the accident left him blind. Undaunted, Eric is still an active cyclist both on the back of a tandem and taking part in roller racing competitions. Eric also has a Healey Silverstone and still participates in international vintage car events using a friend to drive his beloved car.

In 1951 I was riding a Hercules Falcon Sports bike, slightly modified in that I had added a Simplex gear, inspired by a French master who had a beautiful pre-war Holdsworth touring bike complete with the first double chainset I’d ever seen, a Cyclo Rosa. Eight gears in total for standard touring kit with a Cyclo Rosa double changer. He also had a very pleasant Claud Butler ultra-short-wheelbase tandem, again fitted with a double chainset which he toured on with his wife. I rode with the school cycle club from 1947 until 1951. I suppose by then I had a yen for a lightweight bike which, as in most things at the time, was governed by cost. I was doing two paper-rounds a day and saving all the money I could and eventually saw in our local lightweight shop, run by a gentleman called Burt Chitty, a beautiful Leader frame which of course was made by Ted Woodall in Croydon.

This was 1951. The frame had 72 parallel angles which was a fairly standard road racing design of the time and about 2¼” fork rake. The frame itself was 22”, the bottom bracket height about 10¾”, chainstay length about 17½ inches. It was finished in a very attractive shade of eau-de-nil or duck egg blue and it was built with Oscar Egg lug., I read that one of the features was an apparent wrap-over seat stay effect which was a very attractive, fairly simple design with little cut-out triangular windows in them.

It also had Simplex fork ends complete with a hanger for the then current Simplex Tour de France gear, and a Simplex gear lever boss on the down tube, cable stops for the rear derailleur and for the rear brake. This was priced at £13 10s which was the average price for a decent frame in those days. Having saved up the £13 10s from my paper round money I eventually went along and bought the frame. This I built up with a motley assortment of new and second-hand components, comprising a pair of used wheels bought from a school friend, Dunlop 27” steel high pressure rims, on Bayliss Wiley large-flange hubs, the rear hub being a unit hub. This I fitted with 4 x 3/32 sprockets, and a Simplex Tour de France rear gear, I had a Nicklin chainset which I modified with a pair of Williams chain rings. I seem to remember they were 44/48, and the rear sprockets were 14, 16, 18 and 21. I bought brand new a Brooks B17 Narrow saddle, a second-hand pair of Strato South of France bars on a GT stem.

The Strato South of France bars were a copy of the French AFA Azureen bars, and were very comfortable and of course at the time, very fashionable. I also fitted a pair of San Giorgio brakes – gosh they were cheap at 29/6 a pair I seem to remember- a pair of Lyotard Marcel Berthet platform pedals, Christophe clips and straps, and that was about it I think, that was all I could afford. Oh no, later on I added a pair of Bluemels alloy mudguards and a Subitez dynamo set which I bought in France in 1947 on a visit to my French penfriend. His father had a super Alex Singer touring bike with again Subitez double chainset, Lefol mudguards and I think they were Huret gears, a tourist gear and double chainset. This I actually rode a couple of times with his consent. And the two boys, one of whom was my French penfriend, had Manufrance standard touring bikes, again with 8 gears.

Having built the Leader bike up into a riding machine, it went very well and I promptly joined the Addiscombe Cycling Club. This was a good move as it was a very good club although with rather RTTC (Road Time Trial Council) biased ideas and not at all supportive of the BLRC (British League of Racing Cyclists) or Percy Stallard (Secretary of the BLRC). Like so many of my age group, I was 17 by then, I wanted to go road racing. So after 3 years riding with the club a gang of about eight of us formed our own BLRC club called the Croydon Olympic. We stayed as members of the Addiscombe but we were then able to ride BLRC events as well, which was rather good. I only had the Leader for about 8 months, and then it was stolen from outside a friend’s house. Fortunately I had it insured. With the money I decided I wanted a proper road racing bike. By this time I used to frequent Clubman’s cycle shop at Raynes Park run by Bill Hens, who of course until his demise about three or four years ago was a member of the VCC. He also I think was a fairly high ranking member of the Redman Cycling Club, very helpful, very supportive. From him I bought a Frejus Tour de France frame, not that different in design from the original Leader I suppose. 72 head angle, 73 seat, about 17¼ inch chainstay centres; again about 10¾ bracket height. I think 55mm fork rake, about 2⅛”.

This was finished in a very attractive silver/grey enamel with a yellow head tube and a yellow band on the seat tube. It was priced at 14 Guineas but did include a double chainset, Frejus’ own steel cranks and 46/49 teeth double rings. This I powered up with a pair of Weimann Alessa rims on Normandy hubs and a Simplex 4-speed rear gear and a Simplex competition front changer, B17 Narrow saddle. This time, Titan Maes, on a steel stem, a Titan stem. Again Lyotard platform pedals, a down tube bottle cage, the Simplex wire type this time, and it built up into a very nice bike, very lively. And with this I indulged in my first season of racing. Along with two other members of the Addiscombe, I entered the Kentish Wheelers novices 25-mile time trial on the G9 Cherry-Tree course, using the Brighton Road and then the road from the Crawley Bypass across towards Horsham where we turned outside the Cherry-Tree pub.

I arrived at the start and the pusher-offer looked at my bike with its 8 gears and said, ‘Oh, most of the lads are riding single-speed fixed wheel.’ And I said , ‘Oh, but I can only afford one bike.’ And he said, ‘Pity you couldn’t afford a decent English bike!’ And I said, ‘Well, how many decent English bikes have won the Tour de France?’ which quietened him down. I didn’t do a very stunning time, I think about 1 hour 11 minutes from memory. The following weekend I entered my first massed start race at Dunmore Aerodrome, Essex, and finished I think 6th equal in a huge group of about 80. I think the reason I was given 6th equal was that the organisers, the Rosebank CC, I wonder if they still exist, had awarded individual prizes down to 5th place. Which they must have had a hell of a job to sort out because the final sprint comprised most of the original 80 riders, and so everybody else was given 6th equal which looked good on later entry forms.

During this period I lived in Wallington in Surrey. Between the years of 1949 to 1951 when I bought the Leader, one of my friends, David Townsend and I, on Saturday mornings used to cycle around all the lightweight shops in the Croydon area. We would start off at Major Brothers at Thornton Heath pond, then to Leaders – Ted Woodall, and then along the White Horse Lane to Allins, run by Stan Butler and Ching Allen. And then to a small but very interesting shop – Filewoods near West Croydon station. They must have been agents I think for Fonteyns who were one of the foreign bike part importers of the period and always had some very interesting frames including the odd aluminium one, which was pretty rare in 1949/1950, Stronglight alloy double cotterless chainsets, and also in the summer copies of Miroir des Sports. So that was a Saturday morning treat for us. 1952 continued with me as a member of the Addiscombe Club riding mostly 25 mile time trials, with the odd massed-start race thrown in but of course always on closed circuits. Finsbury Park was a fairly popular venue at the time, although it was rather dangerous, it had a very gravelly corner I remember. Most of the events there seemed to be won by Ted Gerrard or the Barnet Cycle Club. He had his own special Finsbury Park bike which had 5 gears.

I think 14-18 on the block and a 52 chainset giving gears of 78-100. Well it seemed to work very well. I remember riding one event with two other members of the Addiscombe, two of the older riding members, Bill Boynton and Mario Strata. And we rode a 100km handicap event at Lee-on-Solent. This was quite hilarious. The field was divided into three groups setting off at 30 second intervals and on our entry forms we had to state what our best time trial times were and our best massed start performances. Now Bill Boynton was a very useful rider and apart from his massed start experience, also held one or two of the Southern Road Record Associations place-to place-records. I seem to remember Winchester to Canterbury. In fact he probably still does. I don’t suppose anyone else has attempted that one. Anyway, we duly lined up on the starting grid and being pretty much the novice I thought well I’ll be in the first group.

But I wasn’t , I was in the second group – it must have been that 6th equal that wrecked that. Mario Strata was beside me, which was fair enough, because he was a mediumly capable rider. But in the first group, first away was Bill who was by far the strongest rider of the three of us. This upset Mario considerably and he shouted out in a very loud voice, “What effing lie did you put on your entry form Boynton?” Anyway the race duly started. As with so many handicap massed-start events over a long distance, within about 10 or 20 laps the whole field had amalgamated. Lee-on-Solent is, as the name suggests, right by the Solent and has a very, very strong off-sea wind. Now the circuit comprised four straights, one of which was straight into the teeth of the wind, very hard work. Correspondingly the opposite one where the start and the finishing straight was with the wind behind you and you could have pedalled 120 in each gear down there.

Bill Boynton got away with a chap from one of the Portsmouth clubs, I seem to remember his name was Wally Errington, who was a very useful track rider. And Wally knew the circuit and had got an enormous top gear – poor Bill only had a 15 and a 48 and about 86 inches. So it never would have happened although they were away for some considerable time, when the final sprint came being wind-assisted, poor Bill was left second. But we won the team prize so it was a good day out. At the end of 1952, one of the other younger members of the Addiscombe Club decided to pack up racing for various reasons and he had a pair of sprints which I bought from him. These were Fiamme sprint rims on small flange Campagnolo hubs. To these I added a 5-speed block and a 5-speed gearset and the Frejus now had sprints and tubular tyres and 10 gears; 14-24 on the block and 47/50 rims because I’d fitted Simplex rims in place of the original Frejus ones. So for the next season I had ten gears and sprints.

I (Ed.) have recently acquired a pair of ‘wood/cane’ sprint wheels which I use on my 1976 Mercian track machine when weather conditions are good. I took it for the first test run recently with these wheels and realised that I had ordinary rubber brake blocks in the front stirrup whereas back in post-war era cork blocks were produced for braking on wood rims. I then recalled uploading a piece to the website on cork blocks a few weeks ago, but I only had a couple of hours before taking the bike to London. Luckily there is a restaurant near to where I live and the chef gave me a couple of wine-bottle corks, I must admit that one was a much finer texture than the other so I guess it will be better for the job. Anyway I had no time to go searching for a replacement so I set to with the task in hand.

I took a rubber block out of its shoe and sized it up. It looked as if I could trim a slither off four sides of the cork and end up with a rectangular block of roughly the right dimensions. I did this with a hacksaw and with the cork cradled onto gap in the jaws of a vice set about one centimetre apart. As luck would have it, the resultant block was just the right size but I needed to take in the bottom edges to create an angle to be held in the shoe.

I got a medium file and angled it to take away some of the cork, after doing a little either side I thought I would size it up against the shoe, feeling sure that it needed more filing. However, I found that the cork was pliant enough to allow the block to be pushed (hard) into the shoe where it felt very firm. I repeated the process for the second block. As a precaution I took a couple of normal red shoe/blocks with me on the journey to London, along with a 10mm spanner. My reckoning was that riding fixed-wheel the brake was only lightly feathered occasionally, and true enough the trip went off with no problem and the blocks are still in after several trips.

We recently had an amazing 72-hour spell when we were contacted, via the website, regarding three outstanding track bikes acquired, or owned by different owners in the UK and Denmark. First was one of the early Raleigh track frames with a frame number (2841) one number away from a frame we know was used by both Reg Harris and Oscar Plattner which is now in Australia. Next, we heard from someone who picked up a Claud Butler from a timber recycling concern and when he cleaned off some of the old paint (it had been crudely painted by brush) found the name of Cyril Horn on the top tube. At the same time we were contacted by someone from Denmark who was also restoring a pre-war Claud Butler track frame and wanted advice on the colour to choose as he had seen images of the Horns on the website and realised that his machine was very similar and of that (1930s) date.

A few days later heard about two Don Louis frames in two days – sadly, neither was track. I always associate D L with track bikes, probably due to his proximity to Herne Hill and his beefy track-rider headbadge.

Sir Jimmy (Oscar) Saville, well known broadcaster and charity fund raiser, recently died here in the UK and we received the following memories recalling his connections with the world of cycle racing:

Eric Sayliss
In 1945/46 I was a merchant navy cadet studying to be a deck officer. Training ships had been brought inland away from the coast and air raids and I was somewhere in north Yorkshire, near enough for me to ride my bike to Otley on a Sunday morning. Many cyclists congregated in the town square ever Sunday. One was a lad who was a Bevin Boy (conscripted wartime coal miner) who had an Oscar Egg bike fitted with an Osgear and Nivex rear drop-outs. I saw him most weeks for a chat. I never felt my collection would be complete until I had one so I exchanged an Italian cycle with a Paris Roubaix gear for an O E with a VCC member.

At the Shelf bike show in 2010 where I won the cup for best bike, Ken Russell ask me the history of it. I said that there wasn’t any, other than I met this lad back in the forties who had an Oscar Egg and I wanted one ever since and he asked, “ was he a Bevin Boy?” I said yes, then he told me that that lad was Jimmy Saville. I emailed Jimmy and he replied, “that was me, happy days “

Peter Brown adds:

One of our older V-CC members, Eric Sayliss, relates the story of going into Otley (North Yorkshire) market place one Sunday early in 1944 where there was always a meeting up of some 50 or so cyclists. Among them was a lad with a very nice Oscar Egg bike with Nivex dropouts and Super Champion gears which stood out as it was painted bright yellow. In later years he enquired through Jimmy’s secretary if that was him, and he confirmed that it was, and that he later rode it to Paris and met Oscar Egg, who was not impressed by the colour it had become. But I suppose that was typical of the flamboyant character he was, and may also explain why he used the name Oscar, which was probably given to him by the other cyclists. Eric says his Oscar Egg, which can be seen at is very similar to the one he recalls Jimmy having that day.

I was also told a few years ago by an ex-Carlton employee that they made 2 bikes for Jimmy. I will try to track him down to see what more he can recall.

I mentioned that I had once been told that Jimmy had two Carlton bikes. Having spoken to my ex-Carlton contacts, it seems it was actually four.


The first was in 1965 and was a Giro D’ Italia Blue with contrasting white head tube and seat tube panels and 3/4 chrome stays and fork, built for him by Bob Keeling and assembled by Roger Needham

The second one was from the time when Jimmy was changing his hair colour on a regular basis and had his hair done white on one side and black on the other. Again Rick Powell enamelled a frame to match, Roy Jolly built it up, and Jimmy would use it in his shows and appearances, riding across the room or stage as all white, and then re-appearing the other way as all black. He also had a suit made to match his hair.

The third and fourth models, one of which he was riding on the recent TV coverage (showing the Carlton fork rosettes/roundels), were specials with purple enamel and a white colour barber’s pole effect on the seat tube. Gerald Donovan had agreed to produce something special for him and the barber’s pole was something they did not normally use, but paintshop foreman Rick Powell painted the frame and Dave Marsh built-up the two matching bikes. One bike was built with a Campagnolo Nuovo Record groupset as a pure racing model with tubulars, and the other was built with mudguard fittings and lights so that Jimmy could continue riding in the wet and at night whilst on his sponsored ride from John O Groats to Lands End when raising funds for yet another charity.

A photograph Jimmy Saville sent to Bill (see below) when he contacted him about Walt Ormsby I guess this is the Oscar Egg with Osgear

Jimmy was a regular and generous attendee at the Dave Rayner Fund dinner, on one occasion donating the yellow jersey won by Federico Bahamontes when he won the Tour de France in 1959. It sold for around 2,500 pounds. He would also take along items of his own personal memorabilia to show people, and one year took his race number from the 1951 Tour of Britain. It was one of the old type which tied around the waist, and he complained that on fast downhill stretches it acted like a parachute. I believe Jimmy dropped out during the fourth stage of the tour but then took the microphone and welcomed home the other riders, the start of a career as a DJ and broadcaster. Showman to the last, you can see a photograph of Jimmy at the 2010 dinner with the other special guests in the last photo at . His track suit top represents the flags of Great Britain – Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Jimmy is reputed to have raised 40 million pounds for charity during his career and worked for some years as a volunteer porter and visitor at the Leeds General Infirmary. The final flourish of a remarkable man will be when he is buried in a gold coffin next Wednesday.

Bill Ives tells us about Jimmy Saville’s Oscar Egg

I’m sure everybody will have seen the recent reports of the death of Jimmy Savile and while most “ordinary” folk will remember him as a TV presenter, we cyclists with a history bent will recall that he took part in several big national BLRC events and livened them up with his personality, which even then was larger than life. While researching a piece on Walt Ormsby in 2008 I spoke to Jim. He was more than happy to chat about Walt who he described as a lovely bloke. The conversation turned to Jim’s own cycling career.

Jim rode an Oscar Egg, a then exotic French import rarely seen in Britain, the epitome of continental chic and the dream of all massed start riders. In fact he picked up the nick-name Oscar because of it. It was bought second hand in a shop in Leeds for the then not inconsiderable sum of £13. Jim had had his previous bike stolen and had received an £8 insurance payout.

Later he decided to buy a new frame but it wasn’t easy. This was a time of austerity, export or die, huge import taxes. Being the sort of character he was, his answer was to get on the ferry, go to Egg’s shop in the Avenue de la Grande Armée with a big wodge of cash and come away with the goods. The first Egg was fitted with an Osgear which gave a definite advantage over fixed.

Both bikes were lent out over the years, for charity events and I suppose inevitably both were lost. Jim let me know that he would like to find another one. Hearing this, Boneshaker editor Nigel Land located one on the re-buy-cycle site which Jim quickly snapped up and had restored locally. The restoration proved to be a big job requiring lots of new metal but he was well pleased with the result. So after many years of Jim fixing it for other people the Veteran Cycle Club was able to fix it for him. It would be interesting to know what becomes of Jim’s third Egg.

Jim was well known for his fund raising for Stoke Mandeville hospital and PHAB. He twice ran in the London marathon, 1981 and 1983 and raised £286 000 in sponsorship, more than the winner got in prize money. In 1974 Jim got back on a bike and rode Land’s End to John O’Groats. It was a difficult event to film, probably because it moved a lot quicker than a running event, but the BBC sent a team out as Jim approached Inverness. As luck would have it, there was a roaring tail wind that day and Jim did thirty one miles in just over the hour.

Recent experience of obtaining Transfers / Decals for obscure Bicycle marques By Bryan Clarke

Whilst a great many replacement transfers are available through the usual sources, I found over the years that as I became more interested in the more obscure marques of lightweight bike, transfers for these were generally unavailable so that the necessity to find alternatives became imperative. To me correct transfers are the finishing touch to any restoration and a bike devoid of them always seems unfinished. With the age of computers it has become much easier to think of producing them oneself if you are au fait with drawing programmes and have the necessary skill and patience. It is also possible to make waterslide transfers using a home computer and an ink jet printer, providing that they are varnished first before application.

As someone who has spent a lifetime connected with the arts and should have the right degree of patience, somehow in this case I could not bring myself to be bothered to obtain the necessary computer skills so I had to look elsewhere for help. I got wind of a sign writing firm not too far from my place of work that were willing to do the artwork from photographs or copy directly from originals, as well as carry out short printing runs. Clearly the time on the artwork carries the greatest cost, the printing itself on very thin vinyl carried very little of the overall expense. Therefore, I accepted these costs and had a number of transfers produced for marques such George Brooks, Grandini and three versions of designs for Young’s bicycles. I was delighted with the results, especially the fact that the finished product was cut right to the edges of the designs and individual letters of any name. A simple cover sheet enabled these to be kept in place and accurately applied. In turn these could be varnished over at the enamellers but could be applied retrospectively without a varnish as the adhesive is very secure.

The sign writing firm in question was fine to use when I was in regular employment but after retirement it was not viable, being too far away from my home. With yet another obscure marque ready to be restored, in this case a ‘Special CNC’, I set about finding a similar type of firm locally. This was much easier than I imagined and I took along a poor photo of an original decal of the right period downloaded from eBay for them to copy. This new firm’s attitude was different in that they were happy to produce as many or few as I wanted although the artwork was again the most expensive part of the work. The results were very impressive and an accurate interpretation of the poor image I had supplied.

Whilst I had to make up a head and seat design from something I had seen on the internet – two sets of transfers/decals came to £44. The added advantage of using such a company is that the work is stored on their computers and any additional printing would be very cheap. I intend to give them something more complicated next time but I am confident of getting a more than satisfactory result although there is always the cost of the artwork to be taken into account – the more complicated the design, the more expensive. A syndicate of interested parties is perhaps a way of reducing the costs.

Maurie Parish writes:

I have seen your name associated with Ephgrave on the Classic Lightweights site and in Cambridge news. I hope you don’t mind me contacting you, with my story/request.

Way back in 1966 I bought a second hand Ephgrave from Geoff Mercer who ran the Lightweight shop in Ipswich. I was 16 at the time. I raced on it and saved my pennies and had it refurbished and used it for touring later (1971). The down tube split just below the head lug while I was in the Dordogne and a friendly French mechanic brazed it over and built up a section, and this allowed me to finish my tour and it got me home.

As a young lad I was sort of conned into parting with the frame and have always regretted it. I would now like to try and trace where it went. Unfortunately, I do not have a frame number, but the frame was of a particular design, and my refurbishment also added distinctive features. I think the frame must have been around the mid 50’s as it was built for Geoff Mercer himself, with a long top tube, 73 head and 72 seat angles and 18 inch chain stays. My refurbishment gave it 10 inches of chrome on fork, chain and seat stays. And chrome head lugs. It was finished in Canary Yellow with British Racing Green seat and head tubes.

I am sure the frame must have been repaired, based on what I subsequently learned. The person concerned passed away at least 10 years ago so I am unable to investigate that avenue. I wondered if through your contact with the Ephgrave owners you might be able to help me establish the frame’s whereabouts and or put me in touch with anybody who may be able to help me.

I appreciate this is a big ask and the chances of finding this frame are slim but I want to try anyway. Even if I can’t reacquire it I would be happy to know it is in good hands.

Michael Alford wonders what views readers have on taping bars! Does anyone use shellac on their bars? Perhaps it would be interesting (to those of us interested in trivia ) to hear from contributors to Classic Lightweights on the subject of bar tape generally. Do they wrap from the stem out, the bar end inwards or even both ways cutting under the brake hood? Do they remove the brake lever, leaving its clamp attached and after wrapping bolt back on? A subject that could elicit strongly held views I’m sure!

Answers to New Year Quiz:

1. Reginald Hargreaves Harris

2. Mal Rees

3. (a) 1940

4. (b) Tiny Johnson

5. Frangipani

6. Sir Hubert Opperman (pre–WWII Australian champion)

7. (c) Oerlikon=Zurich

8. Annual invitation Italian 2–up road TT

9. (a) Manchester (b) Southampton (c) Liverpool (d) London (e) Stockton on Tees

10. (b) 1965, iii) Peugeot

11. (b) Pons Asinorum (e) Carpe Diem

12. (b) Harry Wyld

13. (b) Bannister

14. (a) Condor (d) Mal Rees

15. (a) Sibbit/E. Chambers

16. Derailleur gears

17. (a) Gnutti (c) BSA (d) Chater Lea

18. (b) 1952

19. (b) Constrictor

20. (d) Topolino (‘Mickey Mouse’ in Italy)

21. (a) Binda

22. 10 mile track trophy contested annually at M/c Wheelers Fallowfield meeting

23. (a) E. Clements

24. (d) Liege–Bastogne–Liege

25. (b) Robic

26. (d) Zefal

27. Annual prime award on highest Giro climb

28. (d) Graham Webb

29. (b) 1956 i) 3–58.28

30. (c) Hercules


30–40: Congratulations! You are an aficionado

20–29: Well done, but room for improvement

10–19: Must try harder

<10: You are the weakest chain link, Goodbye!

Thanks for reading

Posted: Thursday 12th January 2012

Author: Peter Underwood

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