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Member since Jun 2008 • Last active Dec 2018

Most recent activity

  • in Current Projects
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    I think you might do well to have a look at this thread:


    I expect you know that many successful time triallists have come over from running, one excellent example is Alice Lethbridge who, among many other achievements, beat Beryl Burton's 12 hour record which had stood for half a century. So you are on a path which I hope will lead you to great things.

    You don't give any indication of the level you hope to reach in your first season, and this is surely a relevant question when considering what kit is suitable.

    Perhaps you are confident that you will quickly become a contender at national level, or possibly you are hoping to get a handicap award in a local club 25. If you're in the former category, I can't advise on equipment (too old fashioned), but if it's that handicap prize, then I can help.

    It takes most people several seasons of racing to achieve their best, so there is a serious danger that if you start off with a super bike and then do beginner's performances you will be both disappointed and embarassed.

    If you begin with a simple fixed TT bike (remember the name of this forum) you will be in a great tradition, have plenty of improvement to come and, with luck, you may even have bystanders saying "Look what he did on that old thing, we'll have to watch out if he gets a proper bike!"

    Also, you won't have a large hole where your bank balance used to be.

  • in Bikes & Bits
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    'Except there's always noises,'

    I'm not satisfied unless my bike is silent, even an old machine like the Sunbeam in the thread I mentioned a few posts back.

    I will reluctantly make slight exceptions, eg: Resilion brake levers are bound to rattle a bit. I would always want to know the cause of any noise.

    I've been searching my memory for frame failure stories, and the ones that stand out are mostly new or recent frames:

    1. About a decade or more ago, when carbon frames were relatively new, a clubmate had his carbon frame collapse under him in a road race. He wasn't hurt seriously in the physical sense, but he got very angry with the shop that supplied the frame when they told him it was only guaranteed for 18 months use and as he'd had it for two years he was out of luck!

    2. A sponsored cyclo-cross rider I know (I'm not going to mention his name since he is still working in the sport) broke an aluminium frame and his collar bone (at the same time) He fell out badly with the sponsor because they still wanted to hold him to a contract to use their fragile bikes which he, not unnaturally, no longer trusted.

    3. Largely forgotten now, but Louison Bobet suffered a broken frame on the Izoard in the 1948 Tour while trying to defend his yellow jersey against Bartali. This is a fascinating story which I will leave for another day.

    Of course it must be admitted that when the outcome of a high level race is affected by mechanical failure it's bound to get attention and be remembered, whereas when my ancient frame gives up the only person who is certainly going to hear about it is my other half who will be called on for taxi services.

    Perhaps the safest option is a middle aged frame which has proved itself in use but which cannot be said to be worn out, but I think we have to recognise that nothing in cycling is completely safe.

  • in Bikes & Bits
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    If you look at my post #19 in this thread you will see another old and broken frame.


    Since writing the description of this failure I've heard that breakages at this point are not that rare when the bottom head lug has a straight edge (as this one did) where the down tube goes into the lug.

    I'm reluctant to believe that old frames are a serious health hazard - even though I have suffered another potentially more dangerous breakage. Cycling is always going to be a bit risky, but the most serious danger by far comes from motorised road users. Although old frames do fail occasionally, so do new ones. The worst injury I've heard of was caused by a broken handlebar stem, but that was relatively new.

    I think the most important component to check are the forks, anything even slightly suspicious and they should not be used.

    BTW I am touching wood as I write this!

  • in Rides & Races
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    This was a weekend ride:


    just not this weekend. I hope looking at this on a gloomy winter evening may have a cheering effect.

    If people are interested I would be prepared to organise (for next Spring) a forum weekend like this Pedal Club event - as I've said in my report it is an excellent area for riding, conveniently close to Calais. Accomodation is not expensive.

    While you're on the Pedal Club website do have a look round - I think you will find the 'Golden Book' entries interesting.

    Naturally, anything planned for 2019 has to assume that brexit will not be completely disastrous.

    Let me know what you think.

  • in Bikes & Bits
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    This blue/chrome frame certainly looks to be good quality. Had you noticed that it appears to have close clearances? I think the wheels are 27's, but it looks to me as though it was built for sprints and this suggests that the original owner intended to do some serious riding on it.

    It certainly looks 1950's and not late in the decade since it has plain looking fork ends - forged ends like campag were becoming common before 1960.

    The most interesting point here is that it doesn't appear to be worth much (of course, I might be proved wrong in the next couple of hours) and I imagine this is because it doesn't have a 'brand'. As you say certain makes have extraordinary value - a fairly extreme example being that yellow Saxon twin tube a little further back in this thread: £731! Some people will pay anything for weirdness, and I guess this must be because they have no real intention to ride these machines. And I naively thought that was the main reason to own a bike.

  • in Rides & Races
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    Well, at least we've now got a viable route to Dover for when Brexit goes badly!

  • in Rides & Races
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    Hi Stelle,

    I'm really pleased hear from you, especially since it sounds as though things are going well for you and Illy.

    I think it's important to concentrate on the things that are appropriate for one's actual time of life - not like the Dutch guy reported in today's paper who wishes legally to reduce his age from 69 to 49- mainly to improve his chances on dating websites! In the same way it would not be great to attempt to start a road racing career when you're the wrong side of seventy.

    So yes, you're right to put your cycling career on hold. There many things you can do in this sport after you are past the ideal age - for example my club mate Rob Gilmour who recently got the UCI age related hour 'performance' record for the 65-69 age group, and Geoff Wiles (google him if necessary) aged 74 told me recently that he is still competitive in the top BC Masters category but that it's now getting a bit harder for him since this group is from 60 upwards!

    So, I hope I'll see both of you back on bikes before too long.

    In the meantime, I wonder if it might be worthwhile to hold some kind of HD in J riders' reunion - perhaps just something as simple as drinks in a pub (after this year's ride, I think). I could probably persuade Jeff Marshall to come. What do others think of this?

  • in Rides & Races
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    Just a small point of information for now:

    In 2009 we actually met up in Egham - pretty close to Staines Sailing Club.

    I have the OS map (sheet 186) with our 2009 route highlighted - it's the map I gave to our driver/photographer in case he got lost. You can borrow this if it's helpful.

    It would be possible to ride from Hampton Court to that 2009 route, but it looks to me as if you would be adding another ten miles (each way) to what is already a long day. Also I think you will find the rail service to Staines is better than to Hampton Court.

  • in Rides & Races
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    Autumn is probably the best time to join a traditional style club.

    For a racing club (and what other sort would you want to join?) it's autumn and winter when the club rides are at their best. Late winter and early spring will find the strong riders on training runs, which won't be ideal for a newcomer, and after that they should be racing.

    So I suggest you get started now.

    I'l respond to other posts here tomorrow - I'm now knackered after a hard day of grandparenting.