ADVENTURES ON TWO WHEELS- BACK IN THE DREAMTIME.

Way back in 1976 I took some time off work to ride a bicycle around England and part of Wales.  As a boy, like every other kid, I rode a push everywhere and read about bikes and bike racing, especially the Tour de France.

Somewhere along the line I read about a bloke named Monty Young who had a bike shop called Condor Cycles, just out of London. Monty made bikes to measure, loved using Reynolds 531 tubing on his touring bikes and was strongly committed to Campagnolo equipment for fit out.

As a consequence, on arriving in London I headed straight to Condor Cycles, met Monty, got measured and waited patiently until my orange coloured Condor Cycles fully equipped by Campag was ready to roll.

I’ll save writing about the great cycle tour of England and Wales to another day but suffice to say that my Condor committed me to top line bicycle ownership that still exists today.

A blog or so ago I mentioned having three racing bikes stored away here at Cassa Creakingbones that had been joined by a friend’s collection of similar style bikes for safe keeping.

Storing his great bikes next to mine took my thoughts back to the days when I was a member of the Sydney Cycling Club, trained every day of the week by riding my bike to work in the City, did laps of Sydney’s Centennial Park with other club members  before and after work and either raced or toured on weekends.

Now being committed to cycling and having a commitment to top line equipment meant having a bike for every occasion.

This meant one for general training, one for criterium racing, one for general road races, one for touring, and one for the ‘ mine’s better than yours’ category.

Now I should mention that SWMBO was equally into cycling and  possessed a similar number of machines.

Oh, and I should mention that we also added two mountain bikes to our collection but our love affair with them was short lived. That’s another story for another time.

Our garage had no room for our motor vehicle as we had thirteen, not a typo, thirteen fully equipped bikes hanging there. Mine on one side, SWMBO’s on the other.

Now each bike required its own special range of wheels and tyres, tailored for different events so we had at least ten spare wheels on hand, just in case. Then of course there were the Campagnolo spare parts, specialised tools, lycra outfits, special shoes, eventually a range of helmets and every gadget you could possibly imagine.

Now way back then it was difficult to find decent wet weather gear so SWMBO decided to go into the manufacturing of wet weather bicycle clothing.

If I remember correctly, at the time I was researching bicycle tyre life and a range of other cycling issues so  we registered the business name, ‘ Australian Bicycle Research Centre’.

We didn’t stay in business long but that too is a story for another time.

Here’s an image of my side of the garage:

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THE PINK FRAME BELONGS TO SWMBO
My BICYCLES002
HANGING SAFELY OUT OF THE WAY

Now as I wrote, different bicycles brands and styles suite different purposes and here are some examples from my collection:BICYCLES001 COPY 2

A LADIES TOP LINE COLUMBUS TUBE CAMPAG EQUIPPED CINELLI.

This beautiful pink Cinelli was given to SWMBO by the owner of one of Sydney’s biggest bike shops in appreciation of the exclusive clothing she supplied to his store. He also gave her a made to measure pink lycra outfit to wear when out on the bike.

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ONE OF A KIND

Now for riding in criteriums I chose a short wheelbase Alan aluminium frame with all tubes glued and screwed into the lugs. Campag equipped of course.

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LIGHT, RIGID, FAST AND EXTREMELY MANOEUVERABLE.

Then came my first Colnago, a beautiful Italian cycle constructed from double butted Columbus tubing. A superb road racing machine:

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COLNAGO, WHAT A RIDE.

Later on I added a Colnago Master to my collection. It actually was supplied with colour matched cycling shoes. Talk about ‘mine’s better than yours’.  Sadly I can’t find a photo of the great bike.

There I added a Gios Turino to the collection, a versatile machine, suitable for some criterium circuits but also for general road racing.

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A GREAT ALL ROUNDER.

For touring, nothing matched my tailor made Condor. It had bar end shifters, wide range gearing, oversized cranks to allow greater pedal pressure, Brooks leather saddle, front and rear racks and, shocking for a purist, mudguards. Unheard of for a top the range bicycle. REYNOLDS 531 double butted tubing of course and all Campagnolo running gear.

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MY BELOVED CONDOR.

My overall commitment is to Colnago frames but as I’ve said, I was prepared to ride other brands for special events. Not so SWMBO.

SWMBO is a rusted on fan of Cinelli, a prestigious Italian bicycle. Campagnolo  Super record equipped of course. Here is another of her Cinellis, a specialised road racing machine  which remains in her possession:

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SWMBO’S SECOND CINELLI.

We put our cycles to good use, enjoyed our time with the Sydney Cycling Club, spent time on the Committee and represented the club in races here and there.

I raced in the Goulburn to Liverpool Cycle classic and other races around the State from 1982 through to 1988. Was I successful? Never . One one occasion in a two day event, I actually finished in 6th place but no one from the club saw me finish. They were all waiting for the last stragglers to cross the line, my usual finishing space.

Over the years SWMBO and I did some great tours and they will be the subject of some later writings.

Hoo roo for now

 

 

 

 

BACK IN THE DREAM TIME – ANOTHER NOSTALGIA TRIP.

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.

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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:

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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.