Many moons ago, my wife and I were members of the Sydney Cycling Club, obviously based in Sydney, NSW, Australia.
We both trained hard, often cycling more than 400 miles per week. I’d leave home at 5am each day in order to reach Centennial Park, about 20 miles from home to join up with other club members for many more miles around the park before riding into work about 8am.
My wife would leave home sometime later and ride to her workplace, about 25 miles from home. Both of us would link up around 6pm for the ride home.
On Sundays we would ride into Centennial Park, about 20 miles then ride in the club bunch to various destinations, usually about 100-120 miles round rip, then ride home, another 20 odd miles.
We were all weather cyclists, fully into carbohydrate loading before and during each ride and we lavished our spending money on our cycles, lycra cyclists clothing, and for me of course, gadgets.
The funny part of it all was that no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t cut the mustard as a racing cyclist.
We both held racing licenses issued by the Cycling Federation of Australia and really enjoyed racing, representing our club, along with many other club members in cycle races all around the State.
On the occasions when we travelled by car to a distant race meeting, we carried the bikes on a special rack on the car’s roof. We had a Ford Cortina at the time and the bikes were worth far more than the car.
In common with many other club members, we weren’t satisfied with only having one bike each. Oh no.
Firstly there was the bike to ride when training, then there was the road racing bike, then there was the special criterium race bike and of course, the touring bike. Luckily my wife wasn’t into criteriums and had sold her touring bike, so we only had six cycles hanging in the shed.
I had two bikes made to measure, one was for touring in Reynolds 531 tubing by Monty Young of Condor Cycles in London. Reynolds 531 was chosen because it was great for a touring bike as it could absorb shock yet was reasonably rigid. My other was a road bike by Clay Kesting of Sydney. Clay chose Reynolds 653 as it was less subject to flex and transmitted more energy to the back wheel. It was also lighter and more responsive.
My other bikes, an Alan aluminium criterium frame and a Colnago Master in Columbus tubing were specialist bikes purchased from bike shops that specialised in road racing.
All our cycles were fitted out with top of the range Campagnolo Super Record Group Sets, Cinelli bars and stems, rolling on Mavic rims fitted with Clemont single tyres.
Later on my wife made the switch to Cinelli fames after Clarence Street Cycling in Sydney concluded she would be a great cycling ambassador for the shop. They even kitted her out with a taylor made pink lycra cycling suit. Very swish indeed.
Then, in a further act of generosity, the store owner presented her with a rare Cinelli ladies frame cycle, in pink of course, kitted out with full Campag Super record.
Of course that led to the purchase of two Cinelli Road bikes, both fitted with all the top notch Campagnolo Gear and all the other top shelf items to go with such magnificent frame sets.
Over thirty years has passed since those heady cycling days. My wife still has her two beautiful Cinelli road bikes. No longer ridden but still kept in 1st class condition.
I sold off my magnificent cycle collection to help fund my move into motorcycles where I no longer get puffed up hill.
Now I have only one road bike left, a British Raleigh in Reynolds 653 tubing, all Campag Super Record of course, Mavic Rims and Clemont 6 tyres.
We still dream of our days on the bikes, the friends we made, the crashes we had, the races we enjoyed but never got placed and the fun we had on those wheels.
Neither of us have ridden for more than 20 years and it’s far too late now to regain our road legs.
Let me finish with one further image:
Here is yours truly crossing the finish line in a country race called the Sundowner Classic. It is a two stage road race, over two days of course, covering well over 100miles.
Am I the winner in front of the crowd of five people?
Not a chance, bone motherless last. At least I finished the race.
Hoo roo for now.