[CR] Letter From Britain


Example: Framebuilders:Brian Baylis

From: "Mick Butler" <pariscyclesuk@hotmail.com>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR] Letter From Britain
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2004 17:15:45 +0000


Hello all, Got up early this morning and went for a ride with my autistic son before he goes back to boarding school. It was a real raw morning with a hoar frost and a light dusting of snow. Bitterly cold wind but wonderfully sunny. Took in a few of the local villages. The villages where I live are very picturesque just like a Patterson drawing. Thatched rooves and quaint pubs. Mark was on his BMX and I astride my trusted 1964 George Elrick. For the benefit of this letter equipped with gears. Don't want to get into an argument over fixed gears but it is really equipped with a 64" fixed! After leaving Houghton (pronounced Howtun) followed the tarmacked towpath down to St.Ives. Flushed a few muntjack deer out of the thickets and startled a few jays. Every now again through the trees you could see the church spire in St.Ives glinting in the early morning sunlight. The spire has quite a story about it. During the 1914-18 war it was hit by a biplane and the unlucky pilot was killed outright. He had been giving a lift back to an airman who lived in St.Ives from a nearby aerodrome he had just landed his passenger in a field next to the church, when he took of straight away and crashed into the spire. There is now a pub next to the church called the "Aviator". Great pint of Charlie Wells Bombardier sold here. St. Ives is very pretty town next to the river Ouse and is very historic with a medieval bridge complete with gaol. Has strong connections with Oliver Cromwell. Someone else who didn't like our monarch. We beat you to it. Okay I hear you say where is the classic bicycle content in this letter? Well today is market day in St.Ives and there is a very good cheap cycling stall which I regularly use. Nearby there is a bike parking area and what was chained up to the fence a Grandex a stonking Grandex. A very rare beast indeed. The bike was in terrible condition but it was still fitted with its TC Sturmey. For those of you who are not familiar with this exotic breed it has a curved seat tube not unlike a Hobbs USWB Blue Ribband tandem. Grandex were made in St. Albans Hertfordshire in the late 1940's. Made in either lugged or lugless styles. There is also another make of frame very similar called an "Alpex". The alpex is also a short wheelbase machine with a curved set tube plus curved chain stays. Another rarity made by an engineering firm in South London I think. Similar date of manufacture. Anyway back to the Grandex saga there is me with my autistic son who can't speak and whose wondering why all the fuss, I am at the near orgasmic stage over this very tatty bike, trying to scrounge a pen off every passersby to enable me to write a note to the owner. Letter finally written and securely fixed to the bars. One can only wait in hope. There were a lot of queer bent frames made around this period mainly in the London area. The reason for these unorthodox designs was that you could instantly recognize what the riders were racing on in the cycling press. You have to remember cycling was a strictly amateur sport and you were not allowed to advertise in any shape or form. You were for the high jump if your photo appeared in cycling with your maker's transfers clearly visible. My Grandfather was a fine etcher and re-toucher at Temple Press the printers and publishers of Cycling. One of his jobs was to paint out the the transfers on the pictures before printing. That is why you can rarely tell the make of the machine they are riding in the photographs in this or other magazines of this period. This RTTC ban lasted well into the 60's. Hence the instantly recognizable unorthodox frame designs. Not against the rules to have transfers on your frame just don't get your picture into print. Deemed as blatant advertising and professionalism an instant racing ban. Inevitably a few photos got through mainly due to drunk printers,tight deadlines or printing schedules Mick Butler Huntingdon UK.