[CR] Dawes dilemma.............a different view

(Example: Framebuilders:Masi)

From: "Alan" <gosley@accesswave.ca>
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 2010 00:04:56 -0400
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Subject: [CR] Dawes dilemma.............a different view


I have read the Dawes submissions with interest.

You see I have a nice 531 Dawes in my garage here in Nova Scotia, but it's upstairs in the attic and I can't remember what model it is. To me it is a "gash bike" no, it's not a snob thing, and it's not a matter of keeping up with the "Joneses" It is a product of Time & Place !

As a lad of 11 i joined Clifton CC in York England, riding a "gas tubing" Carlton my Dad gave me. Back then York had 3 enthusiast shops Arnold Elsegood who had built Minister frames for 20 years, Another shop that was on it's way out that if my memory serves me built Temple Cycles and Wally Hargreaves who built his own brand of bikes ( although some said they were private label Bob Jacksons ) Pete Smith and the rest of the Clifton CC British Best All Rounder time trail team rode "Wallys".

Each local club and area in the UK had builders that catered to that club. I spent half my life riding and the other half at Wally's shop. Back then the average bloke could not afford a Jag, holidays were 40 miles from home in a caravan by the seaside. We didn't have a phone. You could however afford to have a frame built for you ! My parents gave me a Hargreaves for passing my 11plus to grammer school. it was 1964 and a handbuilt 531 frame with Campag ends, 3/4 chrome & Nervex Pro lugs cost 19 pounds 10 shillings ( I think my dad made about 20 quid a week at that time ) sure, I could have got an off the rack frame from the Worthy catalogue .................. A Holdsworth, Claud or a Freddie Grubb......................... or a Continental frame from Ron Kit But why would you ???? These were standard built frames and for a few pounds more you could have a local custom frame in your own colour scheme.

Growing up I had a Raleigh kid's bike from the Raleigh shop, or you could go to a shop like Curry's or Halford's and buy a Dawes or a BSA, but these weren't serious bike shops and sold only fully built mass produced bikes. I don't remember anyone in the club buying a fully built bike ever ! It was the 60's and everyone wanted to be different, I don't remember anyone in the club riding a european frame either . Although I do remember a new Cinelli track frame in Wally's shop for 10 or 12 quid ! ( I also remember it was starting to show a little rust ) My dad had ridden in Clifton, he rode a Bates BAR & and a Fenton Super ( built in York ) in the late 40s and early 50s. members of the Clifton team rode Raleigh Record Aces but I don't remember Quality frames from the large manufactures in the 60s

In 1966 I emigrated to Canada with my family and my bike, I was 14. No one was cycling in Nova Scotia, and it wasn't until 1968 when a team was formed for the 1969 Canada Games that cycling began to take hold here. The difference was that the nearest custom builder was Marinoni in Montreal 800 miles away. Baggio in Montreal distributed Mercier & Torpado, Shields distributed Peugeot, so these were the brands used at that time, other than a few old British frames that had been in peoples basements. Later Norco and Miele distributed some nice frames, and we had a custom frame builder here Tamarak.

So as a Canadian I have a totally different view of quality mass produced bikes from what I was used to as a teenager growing up in the UK It was a magical time that unless you were there could seem like British snobbery !

Cheers! Alan Gosley Old Canadian Brit !