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Member since Jun 2008 • Last active Sep 2019

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  • in Rides & Races
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    I hope I'm not abusing this thread by suggesting a ride for next weekend rather than reporting a ride that's already been done.

    The Victor Berlemont Trophy Road Race (25th August 2019)

    The Victor Berlemont Trophy must be one of the very best events in the calendar from the spectators' viewpoint. It's over 100 miles in distance, with some very hard climbing,it's set in attractive countryside with easy reach of London. If you're really keen ( perhaps brave ?) and turn up with a licence, it's quite possible you could enter on the line - there were a few dns's last year!

    In spite of the ever increasing difficulties of road race organisation, the Victor Berlemont Trophy race, a classic southern event, has survived for a 2019 edition. This is the result of much hard work by promoter Patrick Kavanagh and the enthusiasm of the race’s mentor Doug Collins.

    This year’s race is on the shorter Woodcote course due to gas mains work in Goring, but the circuit to be used this Sunday is the same as that used for the Central Region Road Race Championship which was widely accepted as a worthy course for a championship. Although entries were initially slow to arrive, the final tally was 130 would be entrants for the 80 places available.
    This shorter version turns left off the B4009 at South Stoke onto the Woodcote Road, to climb the picturesquely named Catsbrain Hill. An extra lap has been added to retain the original distance.

    Organiser Patrick Kavanagh said: “Although we would have preferred to use the longer course this shorter variation is an equally good challenge and at the same distance will provide a hard race for a full field of excellent quality E/1/2 riders”

    Some details of riders to watch out for on Sunday.

    Charlie Quarterman – Zappi Racing Team

    Local rider Charlie Quarterman is the Central Region road race champion and U23 TT champion, his performance in stage 7 of the U23 Giro d’Italia this year turned many heads when he rode alone from the peloton to a strong breakaway and held off a chasing bunch. Charlie is tipped to move to a professional team on the continent in 2020 but for now he is targeting the Victor Berlemont Trophy.

    Spirit – Tifosi Racing Team send their top six riders on Sunday with a clear aim to win, last year’s combativity winner Jordan Peacock returns and the team is led by Rupert Graham who starts as number 1 who finished second last year after torrential all day rain. Team owner and manager Russel Rowles has supported the race for many years and has made it clear he always comes to the race with a plan to win, but this year his focus is sharper.

    Former winner Ashley Cox – Flamme Rouge Cycling Team is sure to be in the mix as his local knowledge and legendary nose for a breakaway is sure to see him at the front on the short Woodcote course this year.

    Cycling Sheffield Giant send three riders this year but team manager Dave Coulson sends his top riders who are all elites, Joseph Clarke, Louis Szymanski and Kieran Savage who is current Yorkshire regional road race champion. All three of these riders could be capable of winning and can play the tactical race plan that team manager Dave will be sure to have ready.

    James Boyman - Hoops Velo comes to this year’s race with high confidence after a recent strong performance to take second at the Didcot Phoenix “Rising Phoenix” national B road race. This year has seen James in the top 20 of 8 national B road races with a second place at the Les Ingman Memorial Road Race and fourth in the South East Men's Regional Road Championships.

    Joe Laverick – Madison Genesis is the rider many are coming to see, he is the youngest rider in the team and has many fans across the sport. A strong time triallist who represented GB in Innsbruck last year his first year at U23 has shown great promise and will want to show his ability over 108 miles in a strong field.

    This event should be rewarding for spectators as well as for the competitors and it is set in excellent cycling country, within easy reach of a day’s ride from London. We hope to see some of you on the day!

    Start: Woodcote Village Hall, 11 am, finish about 3 -3. 15 pm.

  • in Bikes & Bits
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    On relection I have two used but useable tan wall Michelins (1 Speed, 1 zigzag) which I would be happy to swap for serviceable black tyres, preferably Schwalbe. If your swaps are better than mine (e.g. new Schwalbes) I'd be happy to make a cash adjusment in your favour.

    Getting tyres made would be great if it could be done, but I fear it would involve a large and very risky financial investment; basically a sledge hammer and nut situation. If I really thought it might be feasable I would try to involve the Veteran - Cycle Club and my first port of call would be Veloflex, who make really excellent tyres on a relatively small scale.

    Another possibilty for your machine would be to use sprints and tubs, which certainly existed when your bike was new even though Dawes would never have fitted them (although owners might well have done). There are still plenty of rims lying around that nobody wants, and you should be able to find 32/40 spoking to match your hubs. I don't know what heavy tubs cost nowadays, but compared with getting tyres made they would be cheap, and you could certainly afford to throw away any that punctured. As a bonus sprints give an excellent ride.

  • in Bikes & Bits
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    Rims and Tyres

    You haven't yet mentioned what your plans are for using your Dawes.

    If it is to be a museum exhibit then appearance is crucial, but if it is to be used you need to think about what will work well on the road. Good tyres are probably the most critical factor here, and by good I mean they should be reasonably light and capable of taking fairly high pressure (say at least 80 psi.)

    As we all know 26" x one and a quarter is, sadly, an obsolete size. I've done a lot of riding using this size and I feel there's absolutely nothing wrong with it, also I certainly prefer it to 27". Unfortunately the world has moved on and now there is not much available in the way of tyres. The Schwalbe tyres you mention seem to be the best bet, assuming you can find some. They are said to take 85 psi, which is adequate, but they are heavy, and the tread pattern certainly looks out of place on a machine with any pretention to speed.

    I have seen some lovingly restored old machines, presented as if in racing kit, but with 26" tyres marked 'max pressure 55psi'. I know from experience that those tyres will be ruined by bulging if the stated pressure is exceeded. So a bike like that is only really suitable for looking at.

    I do have couple of bikes which cannot take modern wheels and I'm keeping my very limited supply of good tyres for those machines. Fortunately most frames built long ago for 26's were so gappy that they actually look better with 700's, and they certainly feel a lot zippier on the road. If you look at my posts under ' Sunbeam ' in the Current Projects thread I think you will see what I mean.

    Your Dawes would obviously come into this category, so I hope this is food for thought if you intend doing much riding on the machine.

    P.S. If you want to look at the Sunbeam thread, search under Silver Sunbeam.
    I've just discovered that just searching 'Sunbeam' doesn't find it.
    Looking at the pictures again , I'm a bit ashamed the bike looks so scruffy, but I would like to mention it is strictly a hack bike.

  • in Rides & Races
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    I've just heard that the ECCA 12 has been cancelled due to lack of entries - they only received twenty one and felt, quite reasonably, it wasn't worth putting the event on.

    With so few long distance events left, this is a sad outcome.

  • in Bikes & Bits
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    While I'm here......

    I had an interesting conversation with another old bloke the other day which referred in part to the old bikes this thread is keen on. The relevant bit went like this:

    "1960 was my first season as a senior, and I had some success with a few road race wins. By the end of the year I'd improved my road bike to the point where I felt it was state of the art - everything was Campag! " (NB at that time you weren't supposed to get cash prizes as an amateur, but you could receive equipment - which, of course you could swap or trade for cash at your bike shop).

    "At the beginning of the 1961 season I got an offer to ride as an 'independent' for Wally Green Cycles, which I took. One little snag was that I had to ride the bike they gave me (for sponsorship reasons) and it was quite a lot inferior to my own. In particular, it had a Cyclo parallelogram rear mech which was a copy of the Campag."

    "Didn't it work? " I asked.

    "Well, yes, it did work after a fashion, as long as you keep on adjusting it, but it was nothing like as good as the Campag."

    Incidentally, that Cyclo mech was barely any cheaper than the Campag Gran Sport. Although I've seen plenty of drawings of them in old adverts I don't think I've ever seen one in the flesh, let alone in use.

    Moral: don't be guided in your choice of kit by what professionals use - they ride what they're paid to use.

  • in Bikes & Bits
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    Note the correct spelling of 'Coureur' on the GB brake calipers (see above).

  • in Bikes & Bits
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    It's amusing to note that if you google Dawes Coureur now, you find that they used this name recently, but this Coureur is described as a tourer, so they've now got the word right, but they still don't understand the meaning.

  • in Bikes & Bits
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    'Courier' it is then!

    But as I said in my post above, this word was often muddled by people who ought to have known better.

    Perhaps the sales people at Dawes thought their machine would suit the messenger market, but I doubt it. An example of this sort of muddling is that some Hercules advertising in the 1950's stated that their bike was fitted with GB 'Courier' brakes, but old Gerry Burgess knew better than that and had actually named them 'Coureur'.

    As to the colour, most red flams are pretty much the same, but your photo shows the colour as a bit darker than normal - it might almost be called maroon. I think it's quite possible this is the effect of the passage of 72 years, so you may have to decide whether to make it look like it appears now, but repainted, or take it back to the way it looked when new.

    Personally, I would stick to cleaning it and wiping with an oily rag. Had you noticed that the machine in the catalogue picture appears to have 27" rims, whereas I think yours has 26's (the position of the brake blocks in the calipers is the clue)? If you plan to do much riding I suggest you consider changing to 700's, which will enable you to get good tyres and will improve its riding qualities. Anyway, it certainly looks a desirable machine and I hope you have many enjoyable miles with it.

  • in Bikes & Bits
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    Two points here:

    I think this is a Dawes Coureur not a 'Courier'.

    Coureur is a word which has caused a lot of trouble in English cycling. It is a French word with the basic meaning of 'runner' (courir = to run) but it has come to mean competitor, and since in France far more was written about cycling than running, coureur most often means racing cyclist. A 'courier' is someone who carries something - a package or a message - from one place to another.

    I've gone to this length to explain the difference because these two words are very frequently muddled, often by people who should know better.

    The late Jock Wadley, perhaps this country's greatest ever cycling journalist, tried to call his magazine 'Coureur', which should have been an excellent title since it was heavy on reporting continental racing in a way that 'Cycling' certainly was not. Unfortunately it proved to be impossible to stop people thinking of it as 'Courier' and eventually the name had to be changed to 'Sporting Cyclist'.


    Flamboyant (aka Flam and Lustre) is a style of painting rather than a colour - you can have a flam in several colours - red, blue and green being the commonest. The finish is achieved with a base coat of silver oversprayed with a tinted lacquer. With bike frames it would be common practice to apply transfers onto the tinted lacquer and then finish with clear lacquer.

    I used to buy the coloured dye separately and add it to clear lacquer as required.

    It should be mentioned that Flams generally are not very durable because any scratch will tend to reveal the silver base coat which will be hard to hide. It's not easy to touch in the coloured lacquer, even if you have the right dye. Note that it is important that the painter does not fully stove the silver coat as this will cause poor adhesion of the lacquer.

  • in Bikes & Bits
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    Good luck with the French trip.

    You say the bike is ready, so I hope you can now get top gear (even though bottom is likely to be more useful).

    The sprinter saddle - I know from our ride in June that you can survive 60 miles on it, but I wouldn't try to go further than the nearest newsagents with it. Still Chacun a son gout.

    p.s. Sorry about lack of French accents - I don't know how to do them for forum posts.