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  • Restoring John Beck's Claud Butler - Jon Derricott
    me it s a bike that clearly shows its history and I will only redo the frame when it really needs it The Sturmey Archer FM hub has a date of 1958 on it which fits perfectly with the stories John told me of his two tours of Norway on the bike For his first foreign tour in 1956 John was given a derailleur to try by the MD of a Willenhall chainwheel manufacturer Williams The less than perfect road surfaces of Northern Norway quickly rendered these new fangled gears inoperative prompting John to literally throw them in a lake well fjord actually and ride on one gear for the rest of that trip For his return in 1958 John chose to add the FM hub which caused him no problems Left is the 1958 Sturmey Archer 4 speed FM gear matched to a large flange Blumfield hub in the front wheel The bike has seen a few murders because John was a provincial newspaper reporter and used it as his principal means of transport for many years In his autobiographical 2003 book Perhaps I m Really Mervyn Davenport John details many of his lifetime experiences Unsurprisingly the beloved bike features in this book and has pride of place in the front cover photograph Left Cover of John s book Perhaps I m Really Mervyn Davenpor ISBN 185845 3577 with the Claud Butler on cover Right John fending off mountain goats during his 1956 tour of Norway The bike was never raced John being at heart a long distance tourist once completing 230 miles in under 24 hours Although to quote from John s book I was tempted to try racing In those days National Cyclists Union Time Trials were held in the early morning on rural courses that were

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/restoring-cb-derricott-rem.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Reminiscences on working at Rivetts of Leytonstone
    the work bench We then made up several test pieces of head tube and down tube mitred to a close fit as if for a frame build Testing a cast head lug uncut just as it came it snapped at the tube almost like cutting with a guillotine due to the expansion of the tube outside lug after it was heated With a hand cut cast lug the tube bent up into the cutaway but didn t break until flexed several times This was the original reason for cut outs in lugs not to help feeding the brass under the lug because if the lug is prepared properly it will flow all round you can watch it do this when the temperature is just right The Nervex lug cracked underneath when pushed up and tore away from the head tube which only bent This happened with both types of Nervex curly or early and late this refers to front of lug We had seen this on some other makes of bikes which were brought in to repair the owners complained of the frame clicking as they rode them This is what started the testing we did With a Sif bronze joint you could break the tube back away from the weld after many flex s but the weld stayed intact Bi laminates were similar to sif bronze the tube would collapse upwards first after many flexes This test was by no means scientific and the pressure was put in without the rest of the triangle it just shows that the chap who first made the diamond frame was very clever Funny frames still keep turning up but the diamond will go on as long as there are bikes built from tubing Although Sif bronze frames were much lighter than lug built they were never very popular A bottom tube was about a third the weight of a bottom bracket lug but weight didn t seem to matter that much it was looks and legs that mattered I asked Terry about the habit of grinding off the lip at the top and bottom of Nervex Professional lugs I knew Slash Beales always did this and Patricia has two frames with this done Terry replied The lip was sometimes partly cut away with a head cutting tool used to square off the frame so that the head set ran true We trued up the head on every frame we reconditioned in addition to any other work required The rest of rib was then filed away it was much easier and we thought looked better The fillet underneath was put there first of all to make the lug look better and to blend it in I liked the look of it and later after our tests described above it was there for a purpose If the frames we repaired had still got ribs on when they came in we removed them before going out These frames if only cracked were cut back and

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/drury.html (2016-02-09)
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  • The League (North Midlands Road Race League)
    Organisers were loath to accept individual entries and you expected to have a team accepted 3 4 riders in every local race Otherwise transport was involved usually the train Leading an early break in the 1953 Sheffield Newark Sheffield I believe my companion was Ernie Eddie Naylor of North Wirral Velo The frameset is an Ernie Clements Note the Benelux rod type front changer All of this highlights the big differences between then and now which affected virtually all of us Although all had good jobs incomes were such in those days that we all still lived at home until married In my club Sheffield Racing CC no racing member had a motor car and no one had a telephone ref note 2 Races were longer rarely less than 50 miles for seniors and usually about 70 80 miles Derbyshire was the most frequently used area Place to place races were popular but required more organisation egs Sheffield Ashbourne Sheffield Sheffield Newark Sheffield Sheffield Glossop Sheffield Organising a race was inevitably a team effort With no telephone e mails or personal transport all communication unless by post was face to face ie club meetings or home visit via bicycle All races had to have a printed programme and the theory was that income from adverts would cover printing costs So one did the rounds by bike of the usual supporters Jim Wilson Albert Butterworth Henry Hall Langsett Cycles Simpkins Vita Glucose etc etc The usual entry fee of 3 6d was supposed to cover prize list and other expenses Standard prize list was 3 2 1 with a 3 team award For anything better one had to attract more advertising or be good at begging Another method was to try to produce your own programme via typewriter and stencil rarely a success However a 5 first and your road race became a Grand Prix Much more and you could be considering a stage race You always needed to call on other clubs for assistance although the more mundane race jobs and helpers were supplied as far as possible from your own club aided by friends and relations These included marshals competitors steward and unlike an RTTC event where he reigned supreme the timekeeper he was unimportant in a road race where time was of little consequence except in stage racing Our top officials were judges and for many years we had the duo of Roy Bramall and Eric Gilbert who could always be relied upon In the late 50 s Race Observers were introduced to actually accompany the race and they ultimately became the top man and their title changed to Commissaire Town Hall reception following 1955 Tour of Britain success by a Sheffield amateur team Left to right Bill Thompson race official and later BLRC Vice Chairman Derek Lee race official John Heap team mechanic Ted Wren team rider Lord Mayor of Sheffield TSE team manager Tony Hewson Tour winner Dick Bartrop 3rd overall Mick Waterfield team rider John Short team rider Amateur teams from Sheffield and London were given special dispensation to ride against the top trade teams in this one race only Any current bike rider would find it difficult to understand the huge contrast between the traditional RTTC NCU affiliated and the new fangled BLRC clubs The whole concept was so different First of all and to all intents you can virtually forget the NCU bit Track racing hard and grass took place in the pit villages to the East of the area and the only local massed start races I ever remember were two events in 1948 in a virtually un surfaced Norfolk Park Time trialling and club runs dominated in all the established traditional clubs Riders strove to attain lower personal bests essentially in 25 TTs and the basic assessment of any riders worth was his 25 mile time expressed as a numeral ie the number of minutes over 1 hour Far more rarely a blob 60 mins or a 59 58 etc ie under the hour In the Rutland where I started the great men were the 12 and even more so 24 hour riders Lofty Liversidge Stuart Thompson and later a good friend Ron Coukham became National 24 hour Champions and Rutland CC the Team Champions Together with Benny Hudson National Record holder Ron Masterman George Steers and Tony Foulds they were the club heroes The most significant concept of British time trialling was Private Confidential Remote secret coded courses with a crack of dawn start No club colours only inconspicuous black or dark clothing allowed Black tights alpaca jackets had in fact ceased to be compulsory pre war Most important of all no publicity Contrast this with the BLRC where the aim was to establish continental style road racing in the UK European racing was in essence much the same then as now in terms popularity publicity commercialism etc etc Almost unbelievably you would learn little of this in our cycling press Indeed Cycling now Cycling Weekly if anything positively campaigned against it I suppose word of it came chiefly by word of mouth from those who had seen it This included throughout the 40s 50s many ex servicemen everyone had to do National Service in those days who had served in Europe or as in my case elsewhere overseas Or as again in my case you had a sight of Continental sports magazines particularly the French But et Club and Mirroir Sprint The sheer glamour and epic quality of cycle racing was irresistible particularly to young and vivid imaginations There couldn t have been a bigger contrast between two facets of what was supposedly the same sport It manifested itself in many different ways RTTC Early morning start Start finish remote secret Racing garb inconspicuous Other training cycling garb plain Fixed wheel Mudguards removed at race start Saddlebag Start sheet Cycling BLRC Late morning early afternoon As close to urban area as possible Club jersey compulsory Team trade jersey tub

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/league-ellis-rem.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Cycling in Egypt Buckshee Wheelers
    Delhi belly dhobi itch flies galore bed bugs and other horrors Choice of roads and route were very limited Packs of rabid dogs were always a potential hazard but at least did help you develop a sprint Early on I was presented with a length of wire rope to beat them off which slotted up the handlebars An unusual proportion of our riders were novices looking for some form of interest and exercise On the other hand not all regular cyclists choose to ride in Egypt considering that it was too far removed from the real thing I knew one such rider on our camp who was the member of another Sheffield club He had been in Egypt for over a year when I met up with him and I found him strangely subdued Within a few weeks he had committed suicide He employed the usual method whilst on the compulsory guard duty It was not entirely unusual on the Canal Zone There were another two cases on our camp whilst I was there As always the first and obvious advantage of riding a bike even in these conditions was freedom and mobility At least we could get off the camp and out on the road Favourite runs were to Ismailia the Malcolm Club at Deversior which was situated on the shore at the extreme northern end of the Great Bitter Lake and regular visits to other clubs on the various camps throughout the Zone I also recall our longest ever club run to Suez and back When it came to competition the clubs organised a series of events with on average a race every 3 4 weeks As easiest to organise they were mostly time trials naturally for we Brits over regular 5 10 25 and occasionally 50 mile courses Most of the bigger clubs but including ours organised at least one road race every year almost invariably round the camp roads and if appropriate like us around the airfield peri track Usual distance was 40 60 miles There were huge variations in the standard of competition For starters riders ranged from complete novices all the way through to international standard Towards the end of my time Ted Penvose joined us On his demob he was signed up by Viking Cycles There were also immense differences in the equipment competitors used varying from modern multi geared road race machines all the way to the old bog standard single speed sports bikes which our club rode for most of my time there Much depended on the whims fancies and policy of the camp or the man in charge funds available and where a club was based This of course could also determine any time off or excused duties for both training and racing Left Sid servicing a Spitfire at RAF Fayid In my time in Egypt most regarded the overall best club as the Exiles CC RAF Kasfareet Also much was determined by the importance and demands of your specific trade or occupation I myself worked shifts of 8 hours On 24 hours Off as the Instrument basher in a ground crew of eight that carried out the routine service any repairs required on all of the many aircraft that passed through RAF Fayid I suppose I must have worked on every type of aircraft in service with the RAF at that time and many others it was a most interesting and responsible job However although I had ample time to ride my bike the rigid shift system and the programme of races were often incompatible and I missed many events In this respect my own performances varied considerably and although I achieved some creditable results it became difficult to take competition seriously Inferior tackle did not help A race I do recall and which left a lasting impression was the Port Said Ismailia Team Time Trial I don t remember the details of how it came about but contact had been made with the Egyptian Cycling Federation and service teams took part alongside both Egyptian clubs and teams representing the French Italian and Greek communities which were highly prevalent in Egypt in those days We were certainly impressed with the professional style turnout of most of these teams complete with team cars etc and all appeared equipped with the best and latest racing tackle Although down the list I remember being delighted with our performance We even beat a few of the locals Another big event for me was the Nicosia Grand Prix in Cyprus Although the best holiday the RAF ever provided the cycling aspects turned out a bit of a disaster After some persuasion our Cycling Officer had arranged air transport and a full week detachment for us in Cyprus to prepare and acclimatise for the big race The disaster element had its beginnings some time earlier For quite a period I had been trying to create a decent race bike based on the serviceable lightweight frameset I had found in the clubhouse With much fettling ingenuity innovation begging and borrowing I was slowly creating a creditable machine complete with gears and importantly which could give me a decent position With the Cyprus trip pending work speeded up a multi geared bike was essential and I completed assembly only a few days before our departure Apart from getting my position correct I didn t have the opportunity for a proper try out This would have to be left to the roads of Cyprus First impressions were of a very lively frame or should it be skittish which ultimately became a disaster when in the Kyrenian Mountains I attempted my first proper descent in over two years at home I d always prided myself on my descending prowess over the High Peak cols This magnificent mount of mine would not go round corners No matter what on sharp bends at anything over 10mph I just ran out of road Proper attention which I should have paid much earlier

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/egypt-ellis-rem.html (2016-02-09)
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  • My Ernie Clements
    Shropshire where Ernie Clements and his brothers were the local legends of cycling everything revolving around their father s shop in Oakengates I never met him although I saw his brother Frank race as a pro in the highly successful Elswick Hopper team and met brother Roy at the funeral of former national junior road and veteran national cyclo cross champion Graham Bufton who was helped cosiderably by Ernie over the years GEORGE HALLS became a top road rider winning the national Star Trophy and the best British performer in the world championships at least once He rode as an independent pro for Sid Mottram and later Bantel who also used Mercian frames one of which I still have still with the original chrome He also rode in the first Wembley six day in the 1960s and became a consistent pro race winner Here s one of George Halls getting ready for a Tour of Britain in the early 1960s His bike is an Ephgrave the name had to be blanked out because the local paper wanted to use the photo and amateurs were not allowed to be pictured advertising their bikes for fear of being declared professional It has a Brooks B17 saddle Stronglight chainset Campagnolo gears pedals and hubs Sprint wheels and tubulars universal for racers then and Mafac centrepull brakes Note the collar and tie in the bike shed JIM JONES of Kettering was a top 50 mile time trialist in the 1960s and is shown being congratulated by the chairman of Market Harborough urban council after winning the first ABC Road Race in the early 1960s which was also the first race to be organised on the Naseby circuit which passes through the civil war battlefield site Jim was a combative road racer with a deep

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/ernie-clements-rem.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Wally Happy – a life in cycling
    his Club Wally was sent to compete in the Tour of Ireland with Les Ingman Bryan Stocking and Ken Knapman by Frank Southall He was given a Hercules team bike to ride in support of Shay Elliot of Ireland He was standing at 11th on General Classification with one more day to go but had to retire due to being delayed by a freak storm In that year Wally also rode at the prestigious Good Friday track meet at Herne Hill he competed in the Italian Pursuit Race Home Riders v Rest of the World against riders from Australia Germany Belgium France South Africa Italy and Switzerland The following year he rode mainly track and grass track but did place 10th in the RAF 25 mile Time Trial Championship with a ride of 1hr 0mins in a storm In 1956 he was in the National Team Pursuit winning team again this time with Don Ward Alan Large and Robin Buchan Norwood Paragon CC team To prove he didn t spend all his time riding his bike or thinking about riding his bike in 1957 he married Pat Westlake twin sister of Peter Westlake of the Sydenham Wheelers his RAF Madison team partner Ronnie Beal s Club The Westlake twins had been in the same class at Bellingham School as George and Henry the Cooper twins of boxing fame At the Good Friday track meet at Herne Hill 1957 Wally Rode in the winning team in the Revenge Team Pursuit Race Norwood Paragon v Polytechnic and also the Raleigh 5 mile Scratch Race In 1959 Wally signed up to join the Regular Army for 22 years and very soon he attacked the army 1 hour Tandem Paced Record He just failed to do this by 708 yards covering 31 miles 479 yards He did however break an intermediate record passing through 25 miles in 47 minutes image of certificate below Later he broke the Army 25 mile Time Trial record with a time of 56m 25s He was awarded his Army Cycling Union and his Corps Colours Later that year on 12 th August Wally again attacked the Tandem paced records and this time he was successful in both the 25 miles event 47 minutes 39 2 seconds and the One hour 31 miles 708 yards Thanks in part to these performances he was elected to captain the Army road and track racing teams for 1959 and 1960 In 1960 he was selected to ride behind big pacing motors in East Berlin in an Olympic Team Match on March 23 In 1969 Wally became the British Army of the Rhine track sprint and pursuit Champion at Munchen Gladbach Track in Germany In 1971 and 1972 he became the Army Roller Sprint Champion see image below of Wally on the rollers as well as winning the 1500m Time Trial Championship Also in the years 1970 71 and 72 he rode in the Tour du Var race for veterans in Southern France In

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/wally-happy-rem.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Memories of Cycling in the Fifties
    was racing Just about made it back to the Alpha café Where did I finish I don t know and didn t care My daily cycling routine was to ride from home to work and back then after work from home to the Café in Romford where we met the boys for a burn up and down the Southend Arterial road and then back home which altogether totalled about 60 miles each day Sometimes for a change we went up the Epping Road via the Alpha another café to Ma Thompson s café at Potter Street This was a really old and famous hang out well known to all East London cyclists for years The return journey was hairy to say the least It was pitch black with 40 or 50 riders hurtling through the Forest roads with only dim Ever Ready lights I don t remember anyone getting killed but how they didn t I have no idea On Saturdays we rode off to Rory O Briens where we all met up to ogle all the goodies Sometimes he insulted us but he was a lovely bloke really Sundays were either racing or training rides usually round about 100 miles So this all added up to a regular weekly mileage of around 400 plus Soon we became aware of this other organisation the BLRC the League which we found very appealing with regard to proper road racing and decided to form our own Club the Avenue CRC so named because that was the name of the café where we all hung out and the fact that the owner agreed to subsidise our woolly jerseys You know the ones alright in the dry but a foot longer in the wet I had traded in my Paris by now for a CNC which was not so flashy By now we felt that we belonged in the cycling fraternity rather than being on the fringes We were mixing and riding with the big boys To give you an idea of the popularity of club cycling I don t know how many NCU Clubs were in the London area but in the BLRC 1951 Handbook there were 45 League Clubs in London alone Our opening weekend training run was to Cheddar and back which was 120 miles each way and was more of a road race than a training run The Romford RC Dave Bedwell s mob went even further than this to Exeter and back which was about 180 miles each way so we didn t fancy joining them We had week long tours to the West Country with about 3 50 in our pockets again more like a stage race and woe betide anyone who got left behind well not quite that bad but you couldn t hang about Our accommodation was usually in a haystack or a barn full of rats it actually happened and we spent all night chasing them with torches By now 1951 was the year of

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/memories-remin-howard.html (2016-02-09)
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  • My teenage cycling years in the Bristol area
    cotterless crank I lost ten pounds in the 18 days and then blithely consigned my precious steed into the hands of the Deutsche Eisenbahn and British Railways with no worries about it travelling and arriving safely at Dover accompanied only by a label Naturally as it was 1962 it was waiting for me when I arrived on British soil and I then found I had no money left and had to ride back to Bristol Well motoring and vintage cars took over my life soon after and the Jensen with all its goodies went to Jeff for a measly 25 Somewhere in a box I still have a large number of old Racing Cyclists and an exercise book with details of all the races and TTs I entered I haven t seen them since moving to the USA but hope to find the right box one day Meantime I insist on being in charge of the telly during Tour de France time and enjoy Phil Liggett s accent every day for 3 weeks in July I even have the family cheering Mark Cavendish Geoff Lonsdale of the Clevedon District RC remembers several of the shops Martin mentioned above as he spent much of his teenage years in the sixties cycling around the shops in Bristol Fred Baker s was actually in Cheltenham Road and Ernie Brain s in Lawrence Hill The shop Martin forgot was Overbury s Cycles In 1941 Les Cassell rented a workshop in Hove and registered the business name as Thanet Cycles By about June 1945 his shop opened at 130 Wells Road Bristol In 1958 the business was sold to Keith Body and soon moved to new premises at 180c Cheltenham Road Bristol In 1966 Keith Body sold the business to Geoff Smith the shop finally closed in 1968 Source Ease with elegance the story of Thanet Cycles Hilary Stone 1986 I recall that at some stage in the later 1960 s the shop moved in its entirety to the adjoining shop in the terrace George Brooks new shop was in Downend A SCHOOLBOY S CYCLING CAREER STARTS IN 1958 Martin Jubb Fifty two years after my first cycle race two discoveries flooded into my memories and enabled me to correct my previous reminiscences Firstly I found the box containing my diary of every race in which I competed from 1958 to 1961 and secondly Tony Gill a contemporary of mine in Bristol sent an old photo of the Volante RC at the start of a race I have no other photo of me and looking at it I can still feel that Ephgrave frame and its carefully selected components under me It is hard to describe the emotions I feel looking at that 19 year old youth so fit and confident from half a century on and now permanently attached to an oxygen concentrator Close study of the Volante RC photo and my diary tells me that the most likely venue was the start of the First Bourton Road Race promoted by the Bristol Achilles Road Club under BCF rules on May 24th 1959 The race was over 3 laps of a circuit between Bristol and Clevedon with several stiff climbs I can just make out my number which was 5 but Gerry Goodleff s 2 and Pete Davey s 3 are not visible My bike was my Les Ephgrave in light blue with black head tube and panel and half chrome forks my first racing frame built to order I know I had all the dimensions carefully worked out but only the 24 size remains in memory after 51 years I was a bit of a techie and always insisted on twin handlebar end controls for my 10 speed Campagnolos and my attention to detail shows in the little pieces of non slip tape on the Mafac levers My tubs would have been bought from Keith Body s emporium at 180c Cheltenham Road and could have been D Alessandros whose range cost from 35 6 to 76 according to weight 7 to 16 ozs as advertised in The Racing Cyclist by Holdsworthys Or they could have been some inferior make as a schoolboy s pocket money did not stretch very far for consumable items The road looks similar to the B3130 just after the start at All Saints lane Clevedon Team Manager Ian Clarence holds the bucket for use at the top of Rownham Hill and I noted that I got a welcome half bucket of water over my head on one climb Local star Tony Wills Bath CC and the Bristol University pair of Roger Sumner and Ray Minovi were also riding I was to join the latter club a year or two later My diary notes that the weather was hot and sunny shadows and open zips confirm this and I spent most of the race bouncing back and forth between small breaks and the bunch until the finish when Gerry won the bunch sprint for 5th place and the magnificent sum of 12 6 and Pete and I were classified 9th equal some 7 minutes behind Wills Minovi Bas Hooper Somerset CC and Sumner Volante were 3rd team By this time I was well absorbed into the local racing scene but my diary starts on April 12th 1958 with my first race being a massed start event at Mallory Park motor racing circuit one of several at the meeting promoted by Coventry CC A school friend and I were entered as unattached to any club and I was in a 25 mile race covering 18 3 4 laps I wrote an exhaustive description but my first race ended ignominiously when I touched wheels and fell off on the 12th lap I remounted but part of the gears had loosened so borrowed my friend s bike and carried on until I was lapped by the eventual winner and perforce retired The main event of the day was a 40 mile race won by Eric Thompson from Nev Crane and Bill Holmes but perhaps the most interesting part of the day was what the organisers believed was the first ever massed start race for tricycles I only noted that Ray Booty won and the only other name I recognise is David Duffield Must have been great to watch especially round the hairpin Ray won a Cyclo gear mechanism and a TA plaque for his efforts and the points prizes for the main event were a Dunlop No 2 a pair of s f Bayliss hubs a TDC 4 speed freewheel mudguards chain and a pump The overall awards were monetary awards shock horror of 5 2 10s 1 10s and 1 Amateurs all On the back of the programme 6d was an advert that confidently stated Brian Robinson says The Litesome supporter is especially useful during a long stage race where every personal comfort is of great value and for everyday wear too I see from his entry in Wikipedia that Brian is 80 this year I wonder if he is still wearing his Litesome He was my hero in 1958 My next foray was in the summer holidays August 10th and I had managed an entry in the Bath CC Open 50 time trial on a course up and down the A4 By this time I was a member of the Premier Olympic RC and had obviously been training hard as I fooled the handicapper with 17th place out of 61 starters and won the handicap with a 2 13 67 handicap time 1 55 57 Fastest was Ian Rogers of Bath CC with 2 3 36 I see I had to provide a receipt for 2 10s worth of goods in order to get my cheque and that was a lot of pocket money That was also my first mention very small in the press i e Cycling and Mopeds The finish at Weston Super Mare the worst weather of the Tour The word of my ability had obviously not reached Trowbridge CC as there was no room for me in their event later in August and Chard Wheelers had insufficient entries for their 50 but I managed an entry in the Severn RC 50 on the 7th September up and around the Bridgewater flats I started no 84 at 7 54am having cycled down the previous evening and suffered a rather uncomfortable night I must have been camping out in a field but don t remember any more details I managed a 2 11 32 quite close to my schedule of 2 10 0 That was it for 1958 and I was obviously training hard as this was the year my sports master wanted me to run in a school 2 mile race but I declined as it was the same date that a Tour of Britain stage was ending on the sea front at Weston super Mud The weather was foul that day and covered up in my yellow cape I duly cycled the 20 miles to Weston to see Ron Coe win the sprint Racing Cyclist had a photo of the finish and I was surely one of the bedraggled spectators in the picture above 1959 to follow Martin reminds us of a not so well known cycling publication from the late 1950 s The Editor of the BLRC journal was somewhat worked up in January 1957 not at all happy at what had happened at the AGM There were hopes that some kind of amalgamation of NCU and BLRC could take place as problems with Independent and amateur categories were spoiling the sport for some Future star Tommy Simpson had won the first two races in a Criterium Championship but was unable to start the third as he had been warned by the NCU that he was liable for suspension for riding in mixed category events Tommy did not want to endanger his amateur status because he could make more on the track The thinking rider could read a couple of articles about hypnosis yoga and form and there was news about Fausto Coppi s schedule for the coming year There was praise for the British riders in the 1956 Olympics including the gold medal that got away from Billy Holmes by a wink Meridian Cycles were about to form an Independent team and if you had 67 to spare you could buy a set of Mafac brakes from Ron Kitching as used by all the winners in the 1956 Tour de France In February the formation of the British Independents Racing Association was announced The confusing state of the sport was shown by the 40 Independents having their own association the NCU catering for Independents and professionals at Herne Hill the BLRC promoting track racing at Wolverhampton and new rules proposed for the Indes Viking Cycles had adverts on every front page with action photos of their Inde team Brian Haskell and Ted Penvose were prominent A long article by E F Foster surely the British Olympic team manager told the road racer everything he ought to know about massed start racing A smiling Brian Robinson was pictured in his new St Raphael team colours having been asked to pick and lead the British half of the team for the Tour of Spain in which he had come 7th in 1956 There was more advice on maintaining good form and news that the BLRC team was going to be racing on Ovaltine and wearing Aertex In conclusion there was a story about the 1912 Giro d Italia when a missing direction arrow sent the whole field some 70 kms off course After some deliberation they all decided to get back to the finish by train This rather upset the many spectators who had been eagerly anticipating the stage finish in Rome and the organisers were forced to refund the ticket money They later found they had refunded more than they had received and had to hastily put on an extra stage to make up for the disastrous one So all ended happily with the Atala team the winners it being a wholly team race that year March produced yet another organisation trying to sort out the mess the British Cycle Racing Movement with a detailed plan of action involving all parties Anonymous bemoaned the lack of proper publicity to educate the public and the Principal of the School of Yoga offered a great deal of advice on how to escape nervous tension There was more news of Brian Robinson he would be going all out for the 1800 first prize in the Tour of Spain Coppi won the Grand Prix des Gentilhommes in Cannes a kind of pro am paced event GB brakes were 8 cheaper than Mafacs and you could order a Lancier frame from Bill Beattie in Stockton on Tees built only to your specification sorry no catalogues just put your faith in Bill Advice about team riding and managing was completed by a dramatic account of the first race of the season the Alpha Road Race at Beverley April gave news of an invitation to the Youth Games in Moscow stories of a scooter paced criterium in Ghent the Tour of the RAF in 1953 and a glimpse of the 1937 Tour de France You could buy a Johnny Kay frame that only weighed 6 3 4 lbs and read all about curly Hetchins and their artistic lug designs with a frame costing 14 10s 1959 April to July The year began for me on April 12th rather unexpectedly Cycling to watch the start of the 3rd Mendip Velo Road Race at the Red Lion Inn Odd Down Bath I was by now a member of the Volante R C having been taken under the wing of Ian Clarence The Volante had entered Goodleff Pearce Davey Perkins and Rumley in the 72 mile race of 4 laps through Norton St Philip and Radstock I quote my diary Cycled to start to watch the race then Ian arrived and got me to ride instead of Pete Davey who was feeling unwell I found some clothes in a hurry and started as no 15 very irregularly The clothes must have been suitable for the BCF officials as riders were warned that any rider of untidy appearance will not be allowed to ride I guess I must have broken several rules but no one seems to have noticed as I finished 12th out of only 20 finishers and 49 starters Gerry Goodleff said it was the hardest race he had ever ridden and I was dropped on most of the climbs of Midford and Peasedown but was fit enough to regain the bunch on the drops and straights Tony Wills Bath CC the local star rode off the front early on but blew up and retired A Douglas Hainault won and Gerry was 6th It was a hard race so early in the season but I survived on a whole bottle of Ribena and orange squash Sounds horrible so it was a good job that hot water will be available for washing after the race and hot pies and drinks may be purchased at the Inn Bet those pies went down well washed down with a pint of shandy A week later Volante were competing for the 2 first prize in the 52 mile Mid Somerset Road Race over 4 laps of a circuit starting in Priddy Church Hall and touring the top of the Mendips The previous week s race had not improved my form although I was trying hard at an early stage in the race I quote again from my diary On the second lap a group of about four or five got away to about minute lead and I and Gerry did most of the chasing as Sumner and Wills and Rogers were doing slowing tactics and wouldn t work Most irritating it was too I was well behind at the finish and counted it as one of my failures May 17th saw us starting from the Police Grounds Taunton made a change from pubs and church halls in the 49 mile Otter Vale Road Race By now Goodleff Davey and myself were the Volante first team and were put in the first race with the 1st category riders It seems no breaks were successful until Brian Sandy and three others got away to finish five seconds clear of the peloton in which I found I still had much to learn about a bunch sprint I started mine 50 yards too early and was passed by everyone else However my form was improving The following weekend saw the Volante three in the Bourton Road race as described above and where the team photo was taken It was still warm and sunny on June 7th when 50 of the local coureurs started over three laps of the same circuit as the Bourton race this time on the Clevedon and District s race Tony Wills and Ray Minovi disappeared on the second lap Pete arrived too late to start Gerry retired and I was second in the bunch sprint to finish 7th obviously having learned something I seemed to have enjoyed racing up Rownham Hill a pretty fearsome incline that Bristolians all know about perhaps my many climbs up Lansdown when I was late for school had some benefit The organisers were grateful to the local police for their help little did I know that four years later I would be joining their august ranks June 20th saw us starting our first stage race only two stages it is true but the Salisbury Road Club had amassed an impressive list of sponsors awards for their Tour of Salisbury Plain Apart from some valuable goodies for each day s classification and primes the G C was headed by a 5 wrist watch and a only small cup I would rather have won 2nd prize a

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