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Vol. 1, Issue 9

Posted: Thursday 18th June 2020

Author: Peter Underwood

We have just held our first Section Lightweight Ride; we were very pleased with the numbers and it turned out to be a great day. There should be a report in the August N & V but if you just cannot wait that long I could e-mail a copy to you. Above are a couple of images from the ride. On the left is Mick Madgett with his excellent 1938 Baines Gate complete with period components. Mick is from Madgetts Cycles at Diss and I used to visit the shop 50 years ago when it was run by his father. On the right is Colin Lines with his 1970 Sid Mottrom.

Usually I keep Colin locked away from prying eyes as he is the engineer with work on most of our machines. Virtually every one of them has his work somewhere about it, either a part made from scratch or modified or mechanically overhauled, and without his work none of our bikes would be in quite the same state. Just a couple of examples are where he made the longer bolts needed for my Chater chainset double conversion and he also dismantled Patricia’s Boa pedals so that the component parts could be sent away for re-chroming.

Needless to say he also rebuilt them as well, and on top of that made an end cap to finish off the job. No you cannot have his phone number, it is ex-directory and we keep him holed up in a remote area of the country where no V-CC member can find him. The only slight clue is the bike!!! We rode together in King’s Lynn CC in the early 50s, lost contact for 40+ years and then met up again about 7 years ago – since then he has been plagued with calls for help from Cambridge and thinks fondly of that peaceful 40 year period.

I have just acquired a Baylis Wiley unit hub with 4 x 1/8” cogs – 13 16 19 23. The chrome is a bit scruffy so I may dismantle it and get the barrel renovated. I guess I would just rebuild it for now and add it to my collection of rare bits. Has anyone ever stripped down one of these? I would be pleased for any hints or tips. I remember reading in an old copy of Cycling that they were a bit fragile in use.

This month, in the interest of culture, we are having some poetry – bike related of course but it tickled my fancy, if you will excuse the phrase. It was sent to me by a friend and V-CC member Geoff Adams from King’s Lynn – I don’t know where it was first published:


Stronglight headset, Mafac brakes,
Equipment of the highest spec.
The best is always fitted to
my Whittaker and Mapplebeck

Chater pedals, Dunlop Sprites,
Components of my heart’s desire
Binda bars and Christophe toe clips
Touring on my Carlton Flyer

Regina block and Simplex gears,
The topmost kit I can afford.
Bright the chrome and sleek the paintwork
When I’m training on my Claud

Clement tubs, Fiamme sprints,
Baylis Wiley unit hub.
Would that this would make me faster
Racing on my Freddie Grubb

So here I am at nearly seventy,
My goose is cooked, my bolt is shot.
Steep the hills and few the tailwinds,
Pottering on my Flying Scot.

Gerry Attrick in homage to Sir John Betjeman,
Poet Laureate 1972-84 – and noted tricyclist

That’s enough of that then, bikie culture spot over – back to bikes. We have been to the Reading ride again and it was another great day out. It is one of the events we plan our holidays, etc. around. The theme this year was Hetchins so I took my Magnum Opus, Patricia took her Bates as the Hetchins she recently acquired was in the process of being built up and we were having the seatstay bridge drilled and reinforced for brake fitting – guess who.

As we have more available rides now since we started up the Cambridge Section we have ridden a lot more of our machines this year. Starting with just me on the Frejus in the Hampshire Section Primavera Ride (Patricia was in Washington DC), then me on the Frejus again for the Boot and Back where Patricia rode the Bates.

I took the Paris to the Hereford Mad and Foolish Ride to meet up with Tony Stringer who had helped me with the stencils for my Tour de France and I wanted him to see the end result – Patricia was on Bates again. Then the Paris, Maclean and Ephgrave in Cambridge events plus the Hetchins at Reading. In our local events Patricia has ridden her Hobbs and Gillott. I intended to ride my Hobbs at the Bates Weekend but after hearing a really dodgy weather forecast took the Macleans which had guards on – in the end it was fine for all the riding time.

So that really leaves the R O Harrison Shortwin and the other Ephgrave to have an airing. We enjoyed the first day of the Bates weekend so much that we did not do Herne Hill on the Sunday so I did not ride the R O H Omnium (previously thought to be a Madison – the difference is in the mudguard clearance – Madison: none and the Omnium has it). The problem with the Herne Hill event is that, riding a lightweight, one hangs around for ages waiting to get a ride in whilst the odd roadsters and Pedersons, etc do events with sometimes as few as one or two riders. We do enjoy the morning warm-up ride though, and the chance to meet up with friends from around the country. The ROH is in track mode with sprints and a Chater inch-pitch block transmission, also Cinelli dropped stem and Piste bars. For various reasons we have missed H H for two years now so I don’t feel that it is earning its keep somehow.

I would like to get hold of a brochure (or good copy) for a 1951/2 Mal Rees and 1972/3 Pat Hanlon. I have an original Pat Hanlon brochure from 1967, which was originally produced on a duplicator and I can get it copied if anyone is interested. We would also like to see a Bates brochure for the 1946 era if anyone has one. I have started to try to do a ‘facsimile’ quality copy of any original brochures I can borrow. It is rather expensive but gives a good quality master copy for any subsequent copies done. I have got several brochures which are copies of copies of copies and some are almost illegible. I can understand how anyone would be reluctant to let an original out of their sight as they have a habit of disappearing – I would be happy to send a good deposit against safe return.

Tip of the week: Which I guess you all know. Setting up calliper brakes such as GB can be a real pain as whatever adjustments are made by spanner the blocks always rub one side or the other of the rims after they are applied. Use a flat punch and a hammer to tap down the top of the spring opposite to the rubbing side until it clears.

A couple of months ago we acquired a couple of bikes, both early 70s that don’t really fit in with our ‘collection policy’. One was a Pat Hanlon which is too big for Patricia at 21½” and too small for me. It is rather nice so I did some work on it and will lend it to anyone who wants to come on our section rides. The other was a Hetchins track bike, either a Swallow or a Spyder – we are still trying to work it out. The head lugs look like a Spyder but it does not have the fancy BB which they usually have. However we assumed it would be no use for either of us but when Patricia tried it for size she found it was quite comfortable. As she did not fancy fixed wheel we had to decide how we could use it in some way.

It was built with very close clearance for 700c sprints, had a drilled fork crown but undrilled seat stay bridge. I did a lot of experiments with stirrup lengths, wheels, etc and decided that 26” wheels would look good in the frame as well as lining up with the brakes (Universal). I had a Sturmey FM gear and was able to get hold of a 26” rear Conloy rim. My friend Colin tackled the problem of drilling the rather narrow seat-stay bridge. I had a BSA chainset with 44 tooth ring and I was able to fit the Universal brakes along with an unusual steel R O Harrison stem and Maes bars. Hey presto, a rather nice looking machine out of nothing really and we are looking forward to taking it to the Tin Can Ten. We could do with another 26” Conloy 32-hole front rim for this machine as we have to swap a matching front wheel from the Gillott.

We have invested a couple of pounds in gear guards designed to protect the gears on children’s mountain Bikes. On the modern bikes we fit them under the QR (you have to take out the spring) when we travel by plane and they are likely to get thrown around. Also when loading more than one machine on their sides in the car with, say, a Simplex – which is easily bent – I put it under the track nut or wing nut. If used with vertical drop-outs on a modern machine one has to file off the angle locating pip.

Wanted a pair of 26” alloy rims 40/32 holes for HP tyres. Would like Dunlop alloy HP or Conloy narrow Asp – to replace the Dunlop Steel lightweights on Patricia’s Bates. All of her machines have 26” wheels as this gives some extra stand-over clearance.

Thanks for reading

Posted: Thursday 18th June 2020

Author: Peter Underwood

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