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  • Herne Hill Fausto Coppi
    was doing well in the events but this didn t seem to matter to us spectators That he was there was enough for most of us One thing I can recall is that most of the riders used Eau de Cologne which could be smelt every time they passed us not usual amongst British cyclists at that time The organiser of the meeting was London Italian Italo Berigliano who owned the Beriano bike shop in Fulham see advert at bottom of page with sponsorship from various Italian societies in London including the Italian Restauranteurs Association The Beriano shop imported some interesting components such as the first of the plastic saddles the Unica and SILCA pumps and had also their own brand Beriano racing frames made by Faliero Masi mechanic to Fiorenzo Magni There was also a VC Sacchi racing club which was connected in some way to Beriano It was only a small racing club and had amongst other riders at that time Ted Saunderson and Mick Coward who were later to ride as independents for Fred Dean Cycles There was a second meeting in 1959 where amongst other riders attending was Andre Darrigade who was world road champion that year I am not too sure of the details of this meeting and whether it was run on the same lines as the first meeting but if I remember correctly there wasn t the same number of spectators Herne Hill 1 Shows Fausto Coppi leading with Nino Defilippis on the inside behind him the other two riders are unknown See below for an update David Griffiths has done some detective work on the above image having seen an image of Sacchi come up on Google being paced behind a Lambretta scooter Using this to identify Sacchi one can see that

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/herne-hill-rem.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Bradford builders
    altogether although I associate La Victoire with an oval Pathetic when I ve seen them times without number When I went to order a new frame Walter was displeased that I wished to go conventional but instantly realised on which side his bread was buttered I can t even remember how it looked but it was a Paris style paint job using three colours I do remember that my brother s La Victoire was done the same way a beautiful metallic turquoise frame with a silver splodge then a flamboyant red one in the centre How silly that I can t remember what my own looked like or what became of it I do remember that it was darned good did a load of miles had those dual purpose rear drop outs with the long guide spikes and a hanger for my Osgear but no beautiful lugs Walter s club Once I had a bike and started knocking around a bit I found that half a dozen of the local lads were wont to go off from time to time so I fell in with them and we formed a regular group I recall that we could raise a a Hobbs of Barbican a WF Holdsworth with solid large flange hubs very ugly and a Baines Gate Never to us a Flying Gate The others are forgotten Walter Greaves saw this group as a heaven sent opportunity Having fallen out with the local clubs here was his chance to lead his own and do things his way We were all agreed on affiliation to the colourful BLRC but what to call this club The Olympic spirit was Walter s sporting ideal and he insisted that Olympic should be in the title How about Bradford Olympic the obvious choice As there were already East Bradford West Bradford and Bradford Elite all NCU Bradford Co op Velo and the other League club Bradford RCC together with the minuscule non racing North Bradford Greaves pushed for Airedale so Airedale Olympic was born with me as its first Secretary Later came South Bradford and Star both BLRC clubs and Bradford Elite turned League to great rejoicing amongst the Leaguers and to the dismay of the Union Star was an exclusive peel off from Bradford RCC We sought to register as our colours yellow with a black chest band but Polhill RC already had that so we made do with yellow with black collar and armbands None of the NCU before breakfast black for the BLRC In the course of time we gathered new members including about four from the Farsley area between Bradford and Leeds and one of these relieved me of the King of the Mountains which had so stupidly embarrassed me After my time the axis of the club swung towards Leeds which really is in Airedale It s still going and long may it do so Walter s dream was to open a cyclists cafe at a certain bungalow on the Keighley road south of Skipton Cyclists would flock to it except that they wouldn t Walter wasn t half as popular as he imagined As far as I know he did go to live on that road and became a folk singer claiming being Walter to be the definitive voice of Yorkshire Folk and living into his eighties Someone who was there then will no doubt have the right story Geoff Wood Geoff Wood was the Pennine input to Whitaker Mapplebeck but this came just after my time Geoff was a character a natural leader an entrepreneur always entertaining company and the most ingenious and practical engineer I have known He knew people all over the place and had that talent of being able to talk to anybody He was also someone to whom things happened and his stories were great Being that bit older than the rest of us Airedale Olympians many people and incidents seemed to come from some not sharply defined earlier life He probably just drifted into our club from somewhere but having joined he stayed and became one of our pillars Geoff his mother and her sister lived in a terrace of substantial Victorian villas which looked down on St Mary s Road close to Lister Park Father Sam Wood a winner at the Manx TT motorcycling had departed for the Northallerton area sometime in the past Not to be confused with the great Stanley Woods The family seemed comfortably off and Geoff was hauled away on cruises from time to time He told one fellow cruiser that he d rather be leaning on the bar of The Spotted House with a pint in his hand than standing here in this monkey suit My mother was horrified Futher evidence to me of his financial superiority was that he had one of those Continental rollneck sweaters price 5 guineas from the back page of the Holdsworthy catalogue whilst I only dreamt of such luxury In 1949 at a time when British carmakers condescended to drop pearls before swine Geoff bought a new Morris Cowley which was the Oxford with a smaller engine probably a 1300cc sidevalve This was the time of column gear changes and bench front seats and I was privileged to borrow it regularly for my courting on condition that I put in some petrol and washed it To lend a new car in those days of scarcity was true friendship On one occasion a carful of us were in the Cowley climbing the hill to Horsforth rather slowly when Geoff suddenly jumped out and opened the boot That s why I ve still got that bloody anvil Geoff the cyclist Medium height balding steel framed specs and an unexpectedly high Bradford voice Nothing about Geoff looked heroic but he was more than useful on a bike For his Pennine Accessories team as it was in those BLRC days he employed the seriously good Manchester Independents Bevis Wood and Trevor Fenwick for stage races and completed the team himself Geoff wasn t their equal but he was no make weight either With others I took some of my holiday leave driving the support van Bevis died in 2006 Lightweight News 3 talked about tucking in behind lorries as we all did when on the rivet putting that last ounce of energy into the launch John Hammond s coke lorries were a favourite being high flat backed and not too fast Of course it had to be Geoff Wood who is tucked in when the shovel falls off luckily it missed him From time to time Geoff and the Cowley disappeared into Lincolnshire where he had done RAF National Service He was time trialling happily in NCU events on familiar courses in the Louth area as Sam Wood until he met his black clad nemesis With Geoff on the starting line this apparition pointed dramatically and declaimed the exact words I denounce this man He is a member of the British League of Racing Cyclists Thank goodness those petty days are behind us One of his exploits concerned the Yorkshire Dales RR which included Greenhow Hill a vicious climb straight out of Pateley Bridge He and Alan Clare a good rider from Halifax were off the back but Geoff had some RAF energy tablets for keeping pilots going so he gave one to Alan to see what happened after a couple of minutes he buggered off up the road so I took the other one quick They finished together quite happily but going to sleep that night was another matter Strychnine is a constituent Greenhow Hill enters again on a winter s day when Geoff riding his winter fixed bike of course was holed up in the pub at the bottom chatting to the local farmers Bet you can t ride up it How much 5 was agreed big money in those days The beer added and I ll do it in the saddle He told me that he expected them to drive to the top and watch him come over the brow in the saddle but they piled into their truck and followed him all the way It damn nearly killed me but I got the fiver Another winter s day turned out to be one of the most entertaining I ever remember As the weather was rather foul and sleety Geoff suggested that the half dozen of us headbangers go to a pub he knew not far away near Halifax which was cyclist friendly and had a separate room with a big fire and large tables Already installed was a tall and good looking cycling stranger but obviously well known to Geoff from that misty past one Oscar Savile who was really friendly and a delight to be with Between the two of them they had us falling about all afternoon His name wasn t actually Oscar at all but he was universally known as that from his Oscar Egg frame the only one that I ever saw Later I had to put him on a start sheet for a time trial rarities in the BLRC with no formalities like proper forms as O Savile then admit that I didn t actually know his proper name It s James or Jimmy but Oscar s fine It was the man himself a good climber of what he called the brown stuff and later to be the smart public image of stage races like the Tour of Britain becoming known as The Duke But to us Sir Jimmy Saville is still Oscar A rambling diversion As I have been told it the Swiss rider Oscar Egg attacked track records using a horizontal bike and made it necessary to create a separate class I have no idea if this is true but somebody will know I do know that we used to fall in occasionally with the Ilkley CC whose member a Mr Thornton rode the only horizontal I ever saw in those days To the young me he looked quite old and not very athletic but he always kept up He explained it as like being able to sit back against a wall then push hard with the legs Geoff the engineer I mentioned earlier my Osgear but it wasn t an Osgear really it was one Geoff had made for his own bike and I got it when he decided to make himself another For those too young to know the elegant Osgear suspended a spring loaded arm from the bottom bracket and changed gear with a fork which swung across under the chainstay I don t remember if the genuine article was positive or not but Geoff s had a double cable so that the fork was pulled both ways whereas other gears of the time such as Simplex relied on relaxing the cable whilst one hoped hovering on the pedals that the spring would push the chain into bottom Very hit and miss but the Cyclo Benelux changed all that The beloved Osgear had to go when double chain rings appeared as it just couldn t cope but at least we then got eight gears I am almost certain that Geoff was apprenticed to Parkinson s in Shipley He had certainly worked there They were a self contained medium sized family manufacturer of vices and machine tools with their own foundry so Geoff was able to learn engineering from A Z which he clearly did I spent the last 7 years before I left Bradford working there Needless to say Geoff Wood realised an opportunity for profit when he saw one nipping out during the morning for pies and sausage rolls which were then sneaked down to the Heat Treatment to await the break During my time the foundry installed a pneumatic Jolting Table which gave the big sand moulding boxes a good bumping It was on solid rock below road level at the top of Ives Street At the other side was Ellis Briggs shop from which the stucco started falling into the street They said the cause was obvious but our people pooh poohed it It s all history now as the whole area has been redeveloped and Briggs long since moved across the main road Later Geoff started making various accessories in a workshop down an alley off Manningham Lane the main road to Keighley How he ferreted out such places I don t know I can remember the aluminium bodies and levers of the CO2 pumps and tools to speed their production and I think there were handlebar end plugs but anything else I have forgotten He employed an off duty milkman and a pupil from nearby Belle Vue school who brought along a mate or two all on an informal basis Someone talked because Mr Clipboard paid a visit How or where production continued after that I do not recall The tie up with Whitaker Mapplebeck came after I had dropped out of cycling for the first time Finally confirmed bachelor Geoff surprised us all by marrying non cycling Louise and I heard that he became a technician at Cookridge Hospital Leeds One thing is certain There would be no sorry it can t be done Geoff Wood was the most ingenious and practical engineer of my acquaintance Whitaker Mapplebeck It was a reference in Lightweight News to John Mapplebeck which set this whole cathartic nonsense going but ironically I had less to do with W M than with Walter Greaves and less to do with John Mapplebeck than Geoff Whitaker They were of the senior generation of the mighty Bradford Racing Club and their tandem racing reputation went before them putting me in awe of both but John more than Geoff because he could be a bit sharp and gave a feeling of not suffering fools I did become pretty pally with Geoff over time It was said that they could ride a tandem out of the saddle but I never saw it for myself I d love to know My brother said last week that the Mapplebeck family belonged to a specialized religious sect News to me I d be interested to know more Whitaker Mapplebeck certainly became the frames to have round Bradford so in due course the Greaves moved on where and I got my Ticker with its fancy lugs and so did my brother Wilfred Re della Corsa rings a bell Mine was burgundy with yellow diamonds on the seat and down tubes at my request kitted out with the latest equipment but not Campag which I always thought a rip off The standard BLRC routine in the winter was to remove the gears and go to 66 fixed and a dynamo with a big headlamp on the front spindle or the forks if you had a mere touring bike with a bracket there You certainly weren t going to spoil the paint with clamps This was a twice a year pantomime so in 1951 there was a sudden vogue for winter bikes which could get mucky and be as ugly as sin It was all a bit of a joke Suddenly everyone flocked to W M in an outbreak of Europa frames which were nasty leggy things with lie back angles but they were cheap possibly five guineas Having gone a mite reluctantly down to Ingleby Road to get one I was drawn to one side by Geoff who said he had just the thing for tall me and much superior to the Europa It was a 24 inch Dilecta still a mass production frame but really quite respectable and not a lot more money probably 6 15 0 It had decent angles reasonably feathered lugs just on the fancy side of basic gear and brake cable eyes and a gear lever boss on the down tube reasonably close clearances and a smart metallic green finish The only minus as I soon discovered was that both bottom bracket cups were right hand threads so that the so called fixed one was anything but Being behind the chainset made it a real pain I think that eventually I used a loose cup with a lockring then some genius invented unit bottom brackets The Dilecta has no place in Lightweight News really but it is a rarity and I have neve seen another I discovered years later that they won the first ever team time trial in the Tour de France in the 1920 s It is now my fixed gear utility bike In 1952 cycling gave way to a girl and a motorbike The Ticker was sold to somebody and the Dilecta went out on permanent loan I had finished with cycling or so I thought January 1953 Your king needs you in the Royal Engineers Eventually I stabilized just outside Farnborough in Hampshire in glorious cycling country My brother although younger finished his RAF duty before me and put me wise to the benefits of having a sport in the Services Cycling just happened to be the best as all other teams went out in a lorry with their officer but we disappeared into the countryside out of camp sight and mind out of uniform and unsupervised as cycling in those days was definitely not an officer thing It was also possible to ride service events midweek and civilian ones at the weekend Ask Ken Russell about it He was the RAF star then and even got flown to events They knew a winner when they had one I had no bike now so borrowed my brother s W M which had the Benelux that I found such a revelation One lovely summer day half a dozen of us set off down the main road to Dorset try that now for the Army Massed Start Championship at Blandford Camp Every time I got out of the saddle crossing Salisbury Plain my bike creaked and it got worse On arrival we found

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/bradfordbuilders.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Racing in the League with Gerald Tredwell
    Street These wheels were prone to breaking spokes and I always had spares taped to my frame The bike was used for going to work touring several years in the Lake District and for racing Percy Stallard rode it once for a short stint after breaking down on Jiggers Bank Ironbridge Shropshire We swapped bikes and I had to limp his bike to the pits at the top He did not like my toe clip settings and left mine at the pits where he took off on a spare bike more to his liking I was rarely a front runner and was what the French called an ouvrier a worker for the team in other words disposable We were usually expected to attack right from the start to unsettle the opposition The longest training run was with Percy Stallard two others and myself to Llandudno and back via Llangollen Percy did his well known dying act on the Horseshoe Pass saying carry on lads I ll be OK just as you had settled down to a nice easy climb he would go past like a rocket I stopped racing in 1946 when the lads coming back from the Forces proved to be too fit for us civvies Percy Stallard was a fairly ruthless team boss and was obsessed with the idea that if you are suffering then to attack makes the opposition feel even worse On one or two occasions we ignored team orders because we were dying and had our b s chewed off at Percy s shop later I worked for Percy on Saturday mornings for a while often hand drilling the forks on old bikes to take calliper brakes instead of pull ups My last job was to put new tubs on a pair of wheels Sadly

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/tredwell-rem.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Buckshee Wheelers
    in the desert was a problem which was eased by both football matches and cycle racing Photographs show how popular these events were with big crowds watching the events and prize givings More on cycling in the Middle East can be found in Reminiscences by John Basell Alan Colburn Sid Ellis and Ken Lowson With the photographs were three interesting documents First LAC Garth s RAF Form 69 an identification card for RAF drivers valid from 26 2 1946 to 25 2 1947 and showing his F 1250 Identification Card as No 1375747 Shown beneath this card is G M Garth s Membership Card of the Services Supporters Club of the BLRC Also included in this cache is a Buckshee Wheelers Winter Racing Programme for 1945 45 It seems to be annotated by GMG showing him as winning or coming second in many of the events of October to December It seems as if he didn t race after Christmas or if he did he didn t note his results down The verso of this document shows that the Buckshee Wheelers held a BAR Best All Rounder over distances of 25 50 and 100 miles which would be quite a feat on these roads and in this heat Left GMG competing in Aboukir 25 October 14th 1945 where he posted winning time of 1 7 30 on fixed wheel see card above Right Probably taken after the event when he was declared the winner note strapped knee Below GMG about to pass the timekeepers at the finish Left Buckshee Wheelers 50K massed start Grand Prix de Gezira 29 April 1945 The winner Wally Morris Right Claud Butler fixed in the desert Grand Prix du Firdan 17 June 1945 Stan Hilditch Bert Brown GMG and Geordie Nicholson Not all time in

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/buckshee-wheelers-pu.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Classic lightweights template
    Continental 27 sprints which were actually what we now know as 700c These were being used in frames built also to take the larger 27 HP wheels with mudguard clearance for the winter which resulted in great gaps between the wheels and the frame when fitted with the sprints You will notice that the European competitors at these events would be using frames with a fag paper s clearance between the frame and the wheels I have seen images of both Eileen Sheridan and Dave Keeler using such gappy frames at World Championships Reg Harris of course being an out and out trackie had his frames built with minimal clearance but such frames were in the minority in the UK as you will realise if you try to find one Most club riders especially in the South were time triallists and they were the ones looking for the fancy lugged frames as this was the must have feature for them Others took to road racing mainly through The League and they opted for the Continental way and had frames built with well finished but much plainer lug patterns Some frames in British catalogues will be described as The Continental or listed as the builder s answer to this up and coming style Often builders described their frames as Continental style but with true British craftsmanship This description of traditional was carried over to components as well i e Chater chainsets Harden Hubs and GB brakes for time triallists These were contrasted with the road racers Continental Stronglight and Simplex chainsets sprints built on French and Italian hubs Universal brakes and to add insult to injury wash your mouth out with carbolic soap gears If you get hold of a late 40s early 50s edition of Cycling Weekly you can bet the main subject on the letters page will be fixed versus gears The old brigade would defend to the bitter end the superiority of fixed and proclaimed it an act of comtempt akin to treason even to mention the dreaded word gears The relationship between builders and riders carried on well into the 50s but soon the market would start to shrink allegedly due to availability of motorised transport on 2 or 4 wheels Firms both large and small started to close down as fast as they had started up which resulted in a consolidation within the trade Eventually this settled down with a few of the old brigade such as Condor Mercian Pennine and Bob Jackson surviving the storm along with some of the smaller builder dealers who often supplemented their trade with mopeds motor accessories and the like Many of the well known names were bandied around between larger manufacturers who merely badged up some of their inferior machines with names such as Claud Butler Holdsworth and Macleans For the lightweight enthusiast it was less painful to see names such as Ephgrave disappear rather than be used on mass produced inferior frames A few reappeared much later when the names were used on what could be called retro reproduction machines like Paris Bates Hetchins and Baines produced by builders such as Condor Cycles who now own the Paris name Tom Board Ray Etherton and Trevor Jarvis Obviously the club scene was changing with fewer makes being ridden but it was still possible to purchase a well built lightweight frame although the rider by now was more willing to accept what was best described as an off the shelf machine Things carried on in this way for a long time with makes and names coming and going into and out of fashion Most machines were fairly conventional but in 1984 Francesco Moser broke the hour record on a revolutionary machine with disc wheels and a smaller wheel at the front This enabled the frame top tube to slope dramatically down to give the rider a very streamlined position Some two years later in 1986 Greg Lemond went on to win the Tour using an early version of tri bars A noticeable change was now to come with the acceptance of welded frames Using such techniques the constraints of lug usage would disappear Images of Eileen Sheridan racing in the 50s show that she was stretched out on a 21 frame both too big for her and with a top tube much too long This was all the builder felt he could do in those days By contrast Patricia now has a beautiful custom made 45cm 17 frame with matching sloping top tube to give a good step over height and a shorter reach By utilising 155 cranks it was possible to have this machine built with 700c wheels The frame could only have been built by welding It used the latest Reynolds tubing at the time Millennium 531 which was specifically built with welding in mind It would of course been possible for this machine to be built without lugs in the 50s but builders couldn t or wouldn Wt think out of the box as they say Patricia was talking to Eileen at a V CC event and she said that she really would have coveted such a frame had it been available in the 50s The same builder Paul Donohue built me a welded 58cm frame in 853 tubing and to this day it feels like a racehorse when I ride it Eileen told us how as soon as she was comfortable on the bike she would be compelled by Hercules to take up a lower position again To recap as the 1990 s approached a visit to a large time trial would still show most riders on UK built machines but a big change was in the offing In the Far East frame building factories were being set up in answer to the demand for large scale production including mountain bikes in the States and some British frame builders realised that they could have a frame built abroad for a fraction of the cost of building

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/evolution-classic-lightweights-rem.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Classic lightweights template
    were of the rider manoevering around the turn although this is not always obvious The giveaway is the bike leaning over at about 15 25 and often the inside knee stuck out For events over fifty miles the organising club provides a feeding station where club members hand up drinks food and sometimes wet sponges to the passing riders For longer rides competitors from the larger clubs would have their own feeding teams in addition to those provided by the organisers These took care of special diets etc and the feeders would also check other riders times in order to give their man information on his performance in relation to his competitors Wally Lewis given drinks during the 1957 VTTA 12 hour time trial Early post war virtually every competitor was riding fixed wheel for these events In the winter riders used gears of about 64 for training and often the first events of the season were resticted to 72 As the season progressed riders raised the gears to about 84 for the shorter events and 81 for the longer 100 mile 12 and 24 hour events The road path bike was very popular amongst time triallists in the 40 s 50 s These would be based on a track bike of the era with short chainstays and wheelbase coupled with upright angles such as 74 head with 72 seat and track ends People are sometimes puzzled to come across a track frame from this era fitted with pump pegs mudguard eyes etc This would have been ordered by a keen rider of the period to use in time trials Looking back from our relatively affluent living style it is hard to imagine the living conditions for the years in question Just about everything was rationed and though the war was over ration allowances were being cut even from the levels during the time of hostilties Materials such as steel were in short supply and most of what was available was earmarked for export Adverts for cycle components often stated that there was a short supply due to most production being exported Bearing this in mind it is surprising that such beautiful frames with elaborate lugwork and finishes were produced and even more amazing that they sold in such numbers People were often living up to ten in a small house which could well have no bathroom and an outside toilet On Fridays the tin bath would be taken down from its hook on the wall and the whole family would take it in turns to have their weekly scrub the last one in probably came out dirtier than when they went in Most riders had just the one machine which acted as transport to work and was used for weekend clubruns touring and racing on the road and track The mudguards were on and off like insert your own simile here and the best wheels would be used for racing only with an inferior pair for general use At

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/time-trials.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Metro Cycle Racing Club
    Arbos Frejus and Fiorrelli We made our connection with Sam Curtis at Meridian Cycles in 1955 til 1958 as most of us lived around the Greenwich Blackheath area and so began holding our meetings in the cellar below the shop Sam started to take us to races in his little Thames van he was mainly in the building business and he then introduced us to Pete Benedict and the Forest Hill shop I recall that Harry and Phil built the Grandini frames for Pete and Harry had small workshop behind the High Street in Gillingham near Chatham I often helped in both shops on Saturdays and the coffee shop at Forest Hill was originally named Coppi Carpano after the Italian master and team but by mid 1960 it was advertised as Coffee Carpano Cafe des Sports Pete used the Metro name as a brand after the Club had been well established Incidentally neither the club or I received any payment Further evidence of the club name can be seen in the Shield photo below 1952 Metro name on Union Jack and cyclist painted by me Early members of the Metro with club shield standing left Tom Sansom right Brian Ward Sitting left a young David Jenkins nickname Tambo as he later won the raffle at Earls Court Cycle show for the bike ridden by Tour of Britain winner Eugene Tambourlini in 1954 centre Albert Gabby Hayes right Joey James Brian s Certificate of Membership to The League John Rawlinson adds the following I joined the Metro Cycle Racing Club in about 1962 3 moving from the Fountain Cycling Club I remember meeting in the cellar beneath the Forest Hill shop and buying a Metro frame Could this be the Thames van referred to above This black and white picture was

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/metro-ward-rem.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Lightweight Cycling Fashions and Fashionistas in Durban, South Africa in the 1950's and 60's
    the right track rear end of their machines to accept a 3 speed derailleur mechanism and fitted these together with brakes for the winter road season reverting to a single fixed in the summer Above Road racing in Durban early 50 s Below Close up of the same riders leader with one brake only and Simplex gear Next three riders all with Osgear The road racing revolution In the course of the 1950s the institution of new massed start road races including stage races the Ladysmith race the Kokstad race the Old Dutch Durban Johannesburg and the Cape Town Johannesburg races were the most prestigious created a demand for real road machines complete with derailleur gears brakes and water bottles as then ridden by BLRC riders in Britain and by European icons like Coppi Bobet and Magni Local cycle dealers sought to meet the demand Frejus Legnano Fiorelli Viking Sun Carlton and the locally produced DHC Cycles subsequently rebranded as Deale Huth based in Johannesburg and Jowett road framesets and complete machines began to proliferate Table 1 lists some of the rarer road machines which graced Durban roads at the time Table1 Unusual road machines in Durban in the 50 s MAKE MODEL PROVENANCE COMMENTS Learco Guerra Italy Ridden by Gaul and Bahamontes in Europe silver grey worlds bands Viking Ian Steel Britain Metallic Dark green orange panels Ian Steel signature on top tube Viking Road Tandem Britain All chrome hub rear brake Paris Galibier Britain Novel tube format Coppi Italy Silver novel fork crown with Coppi logo blue decals and trim P T Stallard Britain Pale blue enamel JUY 543 gear mech Holmes Britain Pale blue enamel Dayton Roadmaster Britain All chrome Simplex gears GB brakes Elswick various models Britain Imported by S H Francis cycle dealers flam finishes box lining Sun Wasp Soliel d Or Britain Imported by Peerless cycles flam finishes Cinelli Super Course Italy Orange or white enamel Campag ends sloping fork crown chrome lugs Road bike fittings and accessories Initially on the cusp of 1950 Osgears were commonly used on road machines see image below However these were soon succeded by Simplex and Cyclo Benelux front and rear derailleurs the front changers being rod operated in both instances Then in the latter part of the 1950 s these were increasingly replaced by cable controlled Campagnolo Gran Sport front and rear changers particularly on Italian machines The first alloy cotterless cranks to appear locally were French made TAs and the standard double chain ring format was for 47 49 teeth with 3 4 and ultimately 5 speed rear clusters mainly Regina ranging from 14 to 21 22 teeth Road race in Durban city 1952 all three riders using Osgear Brakes were generally alloy GB Coureur or Universal side pulls both with elegantly curved alloy levers and rubber hoods Italian Ballila and French Alp brakes and Mafac centre pulls were much admired rarities When centre pulls arrived they were by Universal GB Weinmann and CLB Handlebar stems and handlebars the former in alloy or steel the latter in alloy were variously GB Cinelli Ambrosio or Magistroni with GB Maes and Cinelli Campione del Mondo Model 64 bars being much favoured The bars themselves were cloth taped Unica Nitor lightweight plastic saddles proliferated replacing leather and high pressure rims fitted with Dunlop high pressure tyres challenged the ubiquitous sprints and tubulars as they were cheaper and more durable if much heavier alternatives Campag quick release hubs both small and large flange rapidly became de rigueur on road bikes Pedals with toe clips and straps preferably by Christophe and Binda respectively along with cycling shoes ideally by Detto Pietro fitted with shoe plates always difficult to position correctly were essential accessories for the dedicated Durban cyclist of the period High pressure alloy pumps by Bluemels and Zefal anodised in a variety of colours along with equally colourful anodised alloy water bottles by Coloral in REG wire cages with sprung clips were the norm Further accessories included mechanical Cyclo mileometers odometers fitted to the front wheel and forks Road race on rural roads in Durban Simplex leading and Osgear second Clothing of the era Cycling shorts black knit and preferably by Worthy were the norm with shiny silk jerseys for the track while for the road jerseys were in various knitted fabrics with pockets at the rear Jerseys in club colours became popular amongst members of the three local clubs Mayville CC blue and white Albion Harriers red yellow and black and Durban CC black red and white In the late 1950s the Mayville CC adopted the name King s Park CC with the advent of the new track but the other two both subsequently disbanded Club membership was a prerequisite for obtaining a racing licence issued by the SACF under the auspices of which through its provincial body the Natal Cycling Union NCU local races on both road and track were run Strict race rules applied to advertising on cycling apparel in the form of logos and even small brand labels some martinets in the ranks of local cycling officialdom were still applying these draconian rules in the 1980s However imported jerseys embroidered with logos like Fiorelli and Frejus were obtainable from local dealers and were common on club runs Crash hats of the hairnet or Danish type consisting of padded narrow strips were compulsory for track racing but not used for either road races or time trials where white cotton cycling caps sans logos but with coloured stripes were favoured Cycling mitts with crocheted backs were widely used and white socks complementing the black cycling shoes completed the outfit of the Durban cycling fashionista of the 1950s More serious road racing in Durban 1952 The Durban Cycling Scene in the 1960s On weekend club runs throughout the 1950s the paths of two groups of Durban cyclists often crossed and both groups eyed each other cautiously but had little contact The one group all mounted on track bikes of

    Original URL path: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/durban-reminiscences.html (2016-02-09)
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