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Vol. 2, Issue 59 - September / October 2015

Posted: Tuesday 15th September 2015

Author: Peter Underwood

We tried something new for our summer holiday in Bavaria this year. We have two Airnimal folding bikes that we use for trips abroad and they fit in suitcases 85 x 65 x 30cm which, when packed, weigh around 25 kilo if we add several items such as bike accessories, cycling shoes and a few pieces of clothing. The cases have a handle at the front and wheels at the back and they can easily be wheeled by both me and by Patricia. However when we go abroad for two weeks holiday we also need a fairly large suitcase for clothes as well as a couple of smaller cabin cases. Our holidays usually consist of cycling from soon after breakfast until sometime after lunch when we return to the hotel for a shower and time on the beach, swimming, reading, etc followed by an evening meal and probably a passegiata. This is why we need more clothes than the hardy individual who cycles all day then washes his jersey and shorts in the washbasin ready for the next day’s ride before having a quick evening meal and a drink or two before bed. As you can tell, we are what are known as credit card tourists, or even worse, as we usually use a fixed hotel as a base for the whole holiday.

Patricia with Airnimal 'Chameleon' folding bike with 24" wheels Riding position is set up to match her other modern road bikes. To fold, remove wheels and saddle/seatpost. Fold the orange seatpost support strut forward onto top tube. Frame hinges just above bottom bracket. Rear triangle swings until rear ends line up with fork ends.

Put altogether this adds up to quite a bit of luggage to handle, and as our journey will include a flight and possibly a couple of train journeys and a taxi or so (we arrange our own hotels and transport) it can be a logistical problem moving all of this at once as well as finding space on public transport.

Earlier this year I remembered hearing of a company advertising that they will transport your luggage to your hotel (and back of course if wished) so we decided to try this and after a very superficial Google search decided to entrust the bikes to a company called Carry my Luggage and contacted them by telephone. We had to telephone the company rather than book online as our luggage didn’t comply to the initial measurement scales on their form as the cases are 85 x 65 x 30cm, but no problem as they were able to quote a figure at once based upon the measurements I gave, this resulted in a comfortable weight allowance of 30kg. They had suggested booking about a month ahead but I’m sure it could be done at least a couple of weeks later than this.

We duly made the booking and for the first trip to Germany I was a bit worried when the documentation had not arrived a week early and it took a couple of telephone calls to get them sent. Luckily, eventually I spoke to a very efficient woman called Sylvia who sent then by guaranteed next day delivery. They may well have arrived in time anyway but I wanted this part of the journey sorted out with several days in hand and I am not a ‘last-minute’ person having planned to have the bikes packed ready for collection a week in hand. I mentioned this when doing the second booking for a trip to Italy and the paperwork was here in good time as requested.

Having just our normal holiday luggage made the journey simpler as we were able to use any taxis, large luggage carriers or not, and getting on and off trains was a lot easier, as was finding space for the luggage en route. I realise that some readers may be travelling with full-size bike bags or boxes and prefer to monitor them on the journey abroad but, in this situation, one could consider sending other personal luggage in advance which would it make travel somewhat easier should you wish.

The company used DHL as their courier and their driver picked up the labelled cases with hardly a glance at them and the collection took barely a couple of minutes. Although we had chosen the Economy option, they were picked up on Thursday and delivered to Germany by Monday (which was much faster than quoted), we weren’t due to arrive until the following Saturday but the hotel knew that some of our luggage was coming before us and they were stored in their bike garage.

We had two very enjoyable weeks cycling in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, both on the path around the Bodensee (Lake Constance) and into the hills of the Allgau region. (See image of Patricia above)

We left the hotel on a Saturday some two weeks later and the cases were picked up by DHL on the following Monday and were delivered back to Cambridge a few days later.

The airline we use for European travel charges £50 each way for each bike so the total charge of something over £230 for transporting the bikes depending on destination made sense for us. We have just booked for another trip, to Italy this time, and will give a short progress report in the next edition of Lightweight News.

I had two enquiries in one week asking where one can get 27″ tubular tyres (or tubs as we called them). This is a historical conundrum as in the late 40s, 50s and 60s, in the UK we had steadily moved up from the 26″ HP rims that were popular pre-war to the new 27″ which we all knew rolled much better because of that extra inch! All was well until riders started to demand rims, especially sprint rims, from Johnny Foreigner across the Channel. These were of course 700 but we knew better than that so they were advertised in the UK as Continental 27s! This resulted in rims of two different diameters being advertised as the same size.

In both of the enquiries it was believed that the owners needed 27″ tubs which they couldn’t find anywhere but they were relieved to learn that any of the present-day 700 tubs on sale would suffice. Having said that I do have what I assume is a pre-war 26″ front sprint wheel with wooden rim. I did manage to stretch a modern 650 tub onto the rim but sadly it is a garish green colour. One day I must replace it with a better looking one. The wheel is a pure ornament as I don’t have a matching rear. I believe I am right in stating that no post-war sprint rims were produced in the UK 27″ measurement but would like to know if I am wrong. I checked through some 1950s Aids to Happy Cycling produced by Holdsworth but they just listed sprints as 27″ sprint rims in the 1949, 1951 and 1955 editions which I checked as a sample. By 1976 Holdsworth studiously ignores rim sizes when describing sprint rims, most from the Continent.

Lining up handlebars in stems:

There are several ways of doing this, a popular one using the ubiquitous Maes bars is to line up the stem with the top of the bars and this gives a pleasing look. This is easy to do as the Maes bars have this straight section at the top.

With bars such as South of France or Capo Berta bars that fall away right from the mounting area this is not so easy. One way is to project a line from the rear of the bars which should intersect with the rear axle nut or quick-release. This may need a bit of fine tuning to suit your taste and there are no hard and fast rules. They either look right or not right.

Members of the modern ‘Fixie’ brigade have their own ideas on style and build of bikes and I can see where most of them come from but I can’t get my head round the fashion of pointing the ends of dropped bars upwards. In some cases rather than pointing at the rear axle they end up pointing upward of the saddle. This seems to destroy all the options for hand positions other than riding on the tops with hands just about joined.

Maes bars mounted as described above. As extension from the rear of the bars intersects the rear ends.
Bert Horner from Austria sent the following:

I was a member of the Darlington North Eastern Cycle Club and did ride time trials in the 1950s and into the 60s. I have one or two old lightweights, and my wife whose family originated from Padova, Italy, has her Italian bikes. At 60 she still takes part in the odd Triathlon. After a heart attack five years ago competitive sport was for me ended. However, we still enjoy going for rides in the mountains as often as possible. Oh, I should perhaps have mentioned that I have lived in Austria for over 40 years.

I own three Claud Butlers: a 1954 massed start, a 1955 road track, and the one which may be of interest is a 1953 “International club”?? with steep track angles and round section forks but with road rear dropouts. It also has a 1 1/8″ crossbar making it very unusual. (Ed:-many welded frames had identical tube diameters to ease brazing.) It still has the Stronglight steel cottered cranks, GB bars and stem. Chainrings and gears were updated to Campagnolo Nuovo Record to enable me to utilize the better gearing to enable me to ride up some of our mountain passes. Wheels are now 27″ Mavic rims on ATOM French hubs. Frame number is 4583 537 with a letter H above. I also have a Bates Volante and an Armstrong Moth with Cyclo 3-speed gears.

My wife’s favorite is a RAULER which is complete down to the pantographed pump and water bottle. I hope these are of interest to you and perhaps you can help to identify the Claud Butler better than has so far been possible. Just in passing, when living in the UK and being not far from the coast we often went there on our bikes. We often called into to Jack Taylor’s shop in Church Street Stockton for a cuppa with Jack, Norm, and Ken, and many of the Stockton Wheelers members, before continuing on our ride.

I enclose photos of the Claud Butler and the Rauler. Both beautiful and showing the contrast between British and Italian expertise.

1953 Claud Butler
Italian Rauler
Michael Oliver asks:

My reason for contacting you is that on your Macleans page under Classic Builders you mention the recollections of a Derek Waters (at that time from Tottenham) who used to go into the Macleans shop on a regular basis.

I think that he may be the very same Derek J Waters who at one stage (1964/65) lived at 3 Highlands Road, Barnet, in the same house as someone called Trevor Howard, who I am trying to find more out about in connection with some research I’m doing into a racing car that he owned.

The Editor is looking for an unbadged Cinelli steel stem 10cm in length and in good condition with good chrome. This is the model produced from the 1950s as both badged and without badge. I realise that it would be very hard to find a badged stem which I want for my Pennine but as I have a genuine Cinelli stem badge it seems possible to create what I want for my Pennine Italia.

I am also looking for a single Simplex Retrofriction lever (braze-on fitting) for rear derailleur in very good condition. The Campag lever on the Pennine insists on slipping up a gear just when I need bottom and when I am riding out of the saddle! Many riders contracted to ride Campagnolo used the Simplex levers but in their case the trouble was slipping in the higher gears when on the final sprint. The Pennine has a bar-end lever for the front changer, one assumes the frame was built with time trials in mind, probably with a large single front chainring. Contact details at top of document.

Beryl Burton – Reverse-engineering the records of a supreme athlete.

The one great advantage of time-trialling is that it gives us standardised results which allow pretty accurate comparison across different events, courses and dates. For sure there are variations, but in the case of Beryl Burton we have the results from a career at the top flight for over a quarter of a century. All this has been exhaustively covered, but now all but one of her TT records have been surpassed. That happened with the advent of skin suits, aero helmets, disk wheels – and most tellingly, aero/tri/ski bars. They allow the athlete to sustain an efficient “tuck” position for prolonged periods. All top TT exponents of the 40’s through to the ‘80s have been able to sustain a good “tuck” – witness Anquetil, Beryl herself, Engers.

All, however had to support themselves on a shoulder-wide bar-hold, with air jamming consequences. Aero bars permit close elbows and hands helping pierce the airflow. After Greg LeMond pointed the way forward in 1989, records tumbled.

Is it possible to assess how BB would have got on in the current world of TT technology? Well, yes, in a limited way, using one of the various performance calculators now available. If we put Beryl’s records into the “Bike Calculator” algorithm for example, we can get an estimate of the average wattage she delivered. Keeping the wattage fixed, but changing the rider position from “drops” to “aero” gives us an estimate of the result her output might well have delivered, corrected for today’s technology.

DistanceBB recordAero equivCurrent women’s record
DateTime/mAve. WattsTime/mHolderDateTime
10m197321:2541619:44J Shaw201219:47
15m198132:56387*30:23M Johnson199532:15
25m197653:2141849:21J Shaw201150:01
30m19811:08:36345*1:03:15J Reames19991:05:41
50m19761:51:303701:42:49J Shaw20101:46:46
100m19683:55:043193:36:53J Shaw20103:45:22

*these were infrequently raced distances, Burton’s records were set after her peak years in the late ‘60s to mid ‘70s.

Comment: This analysis may be intriguing but can never be definitive. No account is made for all the “aero-weeny” designs of today’s equipment, and of course the algorithms are only an estimate.
Had she been racing 30 years later, BB would probably have set time-trial records that still stand today at all distances (possibly excepting 10 miles). Unlike in 1967, none would have surpassed the men’s records.

A Personal Conclusion. For the records she set, the duration of her career at the top, the range of disciples and distances at which she was supreme and for ignoring glass ceilings, Beryl Burton remains the greatest athlete we are ever likely to see in amateur cycle sport.

– Peter Beddington

Lorraine Harvey from Emsworth has an interesting Pat Hanlon for sale. She bought it as a used machine from the Tottenham Court Road shop back in 1979. At the time she was living some 2 miles from the shop.

The frame is 19″ Reynolds 531, and the head lugs meet in the same way as Patricia’s Hanlon which is also 19″ and was the last frame Pat Hanlon had made for herself by Tom Board at about the time Lorraine bought this one. This could be a coincidence or the bike for sale could have been an earlier one of Pat Hanlon’s own which was sold to be replaced by Patricia’s. There is no evidence to support this theory as I only have the information emailed to me by Lorraine. Lorraine thinks that the frame number is 7776.

The machine has Campagnolo equipment plus Cinelli stem and bars. Sprint wheels. TA 5-pin cranks and chainring. It looks as if this machine was built with time-trialling in mind.

This description is written by Peter Underwood from snippets from Lorraine which she sent by email.

Mike Sheppard:

I purchased way back in the mid-1990s an old second-hand steel framed bike with the name H Craig (of Birmingham) on the down tube, seat tube and head tube with a rather scratched away transfer, which could I guess be re-made. I can find absolutely no information on such a maker/builder on the internet. Any clues? I would hazard a guess at its age as somewhere between late 50s and late 60s, but this is a pure guess from the lugwork.

Any information would be gratefully received, as I wish to restore it in the near future.

Dick Dunkley (Cambridge area) has an FC Parkes “Aristo” bike. It appears to date from 1957-59.

The 23″ frame bike has ornate lugwork, frame no. ZSV 3995. Sun Wasp-branded rat-trap pedals, a Nicklin chainset, and a chromed steel stem with an arrowhead emblem on the top. The stem and seatpost both move freely and the Bayliss-Wiley BB has had new ball bearings fitted. The paintwork, though, is poor.

The original 27″ rear wheel has vanished, but the original 32-hole Dynohub wheel with Dunlop rim is here. Also present is the Cyclo Benelux gear lever, but the rear mech is a 1980s Huret device. Sadly, the bike is too large for us to ride comfortably.

Thanks for reading

Posted: Tuesday 15th September 2015

Author: Peter Underwood

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