Back in the day Bicylces were made from the finest grade Sheffield Steel and spare iron girders, that were found lying around in Staffordshire. They came in two colours, cheifly chosen to prevent them being seen by the Luftwaffe. Black for night use, and green so you could lie them down in a field during the day without them being seen.
To assist with night time camouflage, the lights did not use batteries, but a dynamo built into the hub your front wheel. The faster you went the brighter the light got. Well that was the theory. The reality was that the bike was so heavy, and the magnets in the hub so strong, speed was never an option and the light flickered barely brighter than a candle.
You might think that in those harsh times, with limited fuel supplies, the government would be encouraging cycling, but no the fella with the big cigar and the whisky tumbler, decreed that all wheels should be coated in a flaky chrome plate. The result? Dirt gripped the wheels and rust seeped through. To prevent the wheel from turning to dust you would spend hours cleaning the rim and spokes with a Brillo pad.
Modern times has seen the use of cables, and even hydraulics, for braking systems. For the classic bike, these systems would have been unreliable. So to ensure reliability, and to add some more weight, and keep the lights dim, steel tubing was used to link the levers to the calipers. Naturally they were chrome plated to keep you busy.
SOME HAVE SAID THAT THE LAST TIME I CAME OUT BIKES WERE LIKE THIS!
So whats brings me back? Shameful plugging.
On 7th April 2013, Bubbles Bembridge has organised a Cycling Jolly to raise money for the Florence Nightingale Hospice Stoke Mandeville. The ride will go from the Paddington Basin in London, and meander along the canal towpath for 50miles until you reach the Brownlow Bridge, before peddling a short distance back to the pub for some well earned refreshment. There are posters up in the pub that give more information, however you can sign up here by following the link below. The cost of entry is £15 and does not include your transport to London. If you’re really keen you could get up at 4.00 am and cycle there!
Now whilst I’m here I thought I’d save Hegs a bit of work this week and publish a ride so here it is:
Sunday 10 March 2012 ride.
Well that’s it from me for another 6 months, I’m off to polish my carbon fibre forks.
P.S. Don’t forget tickets go on sale for the Ivinghoe Festival Weekend this Saturday morning at all good outlets including the town hall.