I'd also add to Johns remarks that a great deal of British clubmen probably chose to ride fixed gear during the 60s.......they certainly did in my first club [Featherstone road club] and that was as late as 69......a typical Sunday club run would see the majority of riders turn up on their track bikes, even if it was into the hills.
My first ever clubrun was to Edwinstowe in Nottinghamshire, where we visited 'Robin Hoods tree' [the major oak] which is reputed to be where the legendry outlaw would hide inside the tree!! ....I myself climbed inside, though it would be impossible to do so now [much bigger than I was, and the tree is screened off] The bike I rode was my Uppadine, 65" fixed..........so I'd agree with John in saying 5 speed would have been a luxory!
Bridgwater Somerset UK
>Date: 06/02/2010 22:39
>Subj: Re: [CR] Dawes Red Feather bike
>Kurt Sperry wrote:
>> What's up with so many English bikes not fitting front derailleurs?
>>> A "Red Feather" Dawes on UK eBay.
>>> or http://tinyurl.com/yl8fzes
>This particular Dawes is from the 1960s. I remember in the 1950s that
>front derailleurs were a rarity on English lightweights, especially
>entry level machines. They were reserved for out and out racing bikes
>used in stage races. Back then it was quite an achievement to manage to
>buy a lightweight bike, let alone outfit it with all the bells and
>whistles. Don't go by what you saw in the bike boom years in America.
>Also, back then the majority of English racing was time trials, which
>were usually over flat, straight roads and 5 gears were plenty.
>John Betmanis Woodstock, Ontario Canada