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Vol. 2, Issue 66 - November / December 2016

Posted: Wednesday 16th November 2016

Author: Peter Underwood

In the last Edition of Lightweight News we posted a request from the grandson of H E Green, the well-respected builder of lightweights in the 1940s and 50s who wanted to acquire and restore a frame and rebuild it in memory of his Grandfather. He has emailed to say that he now has the frame thanks to our advert. What a beauty!

UK Ephgrave Ride, Cambridge 2016

Patricia and I undertook to organise this event as we have done for goodness knows how many years. After everything was planned I came off my bike and broke a couple of bones and acquired a lot of bruising. As the ride loomed up I realised that although I was back and riding, I wasn’t quite ready for the hilly section of the ride on an older machine. Luckily a good friend, John Meadows, stepped in at the last minute to lead the ride on its convoluted route some miles South of Cambridge and coming close to the Air Museum at Duxford on the route after lunch.

We got to the start early (by train from Cambridge) as there is always a lot of socialising before the off and some eager participants arrived before us even though we were some forty minutes early. We were able to ride the first stage of the ride with the group and peeled off at the bottom of the first hill.

What is it with cyclists and hills? We felt really cheated as we watched the others tackle Coploe Hill – non-cyclists would think that was a real bonus! We did a flattish circuit on our own and met up with the group again at Chrishall Grange where they dropped down from the hilly section of the ride and then rode with them to lunch at Ickleton Lion where more socialising took place over a good lunch. I had worried a bit when I contacted the owners on the morning of the ride to say that there were ten more to dine than the sixteen originally booked but they took it in their stride and everyone enjoyed a good meal in a room set aside for us.

The ride after lunch was quite flat so we were able to spin along with the group past the well-known Imperial War Museum at Duxford, dedicated to British and US military aviation, and then back to the start at Whittlesford Parkway station.

The event was one of the best we have put on for many years, with 19 Ephgraves plus another seven classic lightweights. Members travelled from far and wide to join us, including Peter Holland, the V-CC Marque Enthusiast, who celebrated a significant birthday the day before the ride.

Peter Holland (V-CC Marque Enthusiast) with some of the nineteen Ephgraves on this year's Ephgrave Ride. If you don't know, Rory O'Brien had connections with Les Ephgrave.

David Leech – The Staeger Collection

Earlier this year in April I visited my friend Urs Staeger in Basel to photograph some of his collection of mostly Swiss and Italian classic race bikes.

A narrow shopfront in a smart residential area does not prepare you for the collection housed there. Urs has designed and constructed a huge basement exhibition area which is arranged across three separate rooms containing more than a hundred bikes, detailed chronological displays of Campagnolo components and memorabilia, autographed team shirts, race posters, photographs and advertising mementoes. Carefully designed lighting, mood music and media presentations complete the experience.

Urs started the collection some ten years ago when he retired from business and it has evolved from a few false starts into the personal passion he now has for the quality of the exhibits.

He has relied on the help and guidance of ex pro Francesco Buda who ran a lightweight shop in Basel for many years and a knowledgeable group of European collectors and dealers.

His main passion has been for Bianchi race bikes dating back to the Coppi period and team bikes with provenance from the likes of Merckx, Moser, Rominger and Fignon.

His detailed knowledge of Campagnolo items can be illustrated by the various displays and the care he puts into restoring bikes. He has his own workshop facilities at a different location and this includes a skill for polishing or refurbishing most parts.

His collection of Swiss makes is important and he is interested in increasing this with earlier and rare models.

At the moment he only has two English bikes, a 1970’s Raleigh team race bike and a 1995 Lotus carbon fibre Sport TT bike. He wants to start a small British exhibit and I have given him a Gillott Fleur de Lis and a Holdsworth Cyclone to start with.

Among my favourites that I photographed are the Lo Pro TT bikes, a Masi Faema built for Merckx, a lovely Pogliaghi and a Somec, both high quality frames. An Oscar Egg Professional with Super Champion gears and a 1948 Bianchi Folgore with Cambio Corsa gears.

All the bikes I photographed can be seen on The Staeger Collection is a private collection not open to the public, but Urs is happy to show other collectors his bikes by prior arrangement.

He can be contacted direct through his web site:

Mick Butler added something to the discussion about tandem cranks:

I did a lot of tandem racing both on the road and on the track and always had the cranks set in phase. I tried the 90 degree out of phase setting and did not like it. The two main reasons were, more likely to ground a pedal and you couldn’t really get out of the saddles to honk as a pair. Have also tried setting about two or three teeth difference so it was only slightly out of phase, which worked well in time trials. Did a tandem tour of North Wales and Snowdonia many years ago and because of the climbs and our gearing we set the cranks at 90 degrees out of phase to help us get up the climbs. It was a long wheelbase F.W. Evans and was always hard work on the hills but a beautiful tandem to race and tour on. Not so bad in Hertfordshire where you could get out of the saddle and honk as a pair but on those Welsh mountain climbs it was really hard.

In the 1970’s & 80’s when Jack Taylor were making lots of tandems for the USA market it was the fashion for them to be set up out of phase.

We still have two tandems: a Ken Bird and a Hobbs blue Riband tandem tricycle. The Hobbs is set up so that the stoker can freewheel, so he has to pedal backwards if he has been freewheeling to help him get it back into phase. If he doesn’t it feels awful out of phase.

F.W. Evans tandem trike set-up in phase, the brother to our long gone Evans tandem which Pinkie had off us.

Mick Butler with 'stoker' Gary on their tandem trike with perfectly aligned cranks!
From J Allen:

Peter, I wonder if any readers have ever seen or owned one of the “Unique” or “Unilite” frames advertised on this letterhead. I did see a model of each frame in a side showcase in the shop sometime in the mid to late ‘forties. I also seem to recollect seeing a Selbach frame in the main window.  In those schooldays I remember occasionally seeing a beautiful machine leaning on the school gates that had a marbled paint finish.  That encouraged my desire to own a lightweight “racer”. It would be interesting if anyone else ever owned one of the two frames. Regards, J Allen.

David Holloway:

I find myself clearing my mother’s house and now have my father’s Maclean bicycle in my garage.

My parents were very keen cyclists, touring all over the UK and as far as Switzerland in the late 40s and 50s before I came along in 1961 and distracted them.

I haven’t ridden for many years although I still have my Holdsworth in the loft. Motorcycles are my passion, the latest project being to repatriate a dismantled and totally knackered 1971 Norton Commando from the US and undertake total rebuild.

As you can tell, I have a great respect for the heritage of both motorcycles and bicycles and feel it is a great shame that my Dad’s Maclean is in such a sorry state. But I just cannot see myself ever getting round to restoring it, or to that matter my Holdsworth. So, I am looking for someone who cares enough to do the job properly and enjoy owning a piece of history. I could just fire it off on eBay but that is gambling with its future and I would really like it to go to a good home.

The frame number is on the RHS by the seat post and appears to be K969. It is also stamped CR 23 under the bottom bracket, presumably the CR indicates the chrome tips. It is also stamped 3/4. The brakes are salvageable and are GB HIDUMINIUM.

I have other photos showing the general state, the lug detail and the transfers. The front wheel has been rebuilt, everything else is untouched.

I am not looking at this in monetary terms, however my mum does need all the funds she can lay her hands on right now. I wonder if you might know someone who would apply some TLC and bring the bike back to life and enjoy owning it. If they were able to come up with a few quid that would be nice and if they were happy to keep in touch and send some photos when restored to its former glory that would be great. Contact David Holloway, email:

Saturday 19th November 2016
Veteran-Cycle Club
The 5th North London Section Cycle Jumble

Tewin Memorial Hall, 11 Lower Green, Tewin, Hertfordshire. AL6 0JX

Time : Buyers : opens at 10am and closes 12.30pm
Stall and pitch Holders: available from 8.30am and everybody out by 1pm.

Prices : Admission 50p for Buyers.
Stalls and selling pitches : inside or outside £5. Only CLEAN jumble inside where a single table will be provided. Outside pitches in car park.

Parking : Free. Some parking available at adjacent bowls club. If parking in village be considerate please as we wish to come back next year.

Refreshments and indoor seating area available.

Tewin is a small village to the west of Hertford. It has pleasant lanes surrounding so make a cycling day of it. There are two pubs to retire to when the buying and selling becomes too much.

Railway Stations : Hertford (3 miles) : Hertford North – Kings Cross/Stevenage line, Hertford East – Liverpool Street line. Welwyn North : (3.5 miles) – Kings Cross – Cambridge/Peterborough Line.

All bookings to: Steve Griffiths, 26, Claigmar Gardens, London N3 2HR. Tel : 020 8346 5215 or mobile 07740923630.

Thanks for reading

Posted: Wednesday 16th November 2016

Author: Peter Underwood

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