My bike History
I saw someone else post a blog on their bike history so thought I’d do one of my own, and it got a bit out of hand. I have borrowed and ridden a few others but these are the ones that have been mine. Some feel as special as children, some were big mistakes but all have played a part in my life. There are pictures of most and over time I will try and find better pictures for all. Enjoy.
1. 1976. Trike. SOLD
My first bike was a trike, it was blue and red and I remember very little else apart from that day my uncle said he might be able to fit an engine to it. He never did.
2. 1978. Green Raleigh with solid wheels. SOLD
My first two wheeler was a Raleigh but I don’t know the model. It was a total bucket of shite and I can still remember how hard it was to ride because unique amongst all the other bikes in our village it had SOLID tyres. I never got a puncture but boy was it hard work to keep up on, oh and as its only brake was a rod brake that if I remember right worked by putting pressure on the front tyre it didn’t stop that well either.
3. 1980. BSA Streaker. RETIRED
This was a racer, or it was to me at the time, 3 speed, not a Raleigh like everyone else owned but still a racer and I loved it. I did have the PI** ripped out of me though because the of name which according to my mates was Spanish for naked. Something had clearly been lost in translation.
4. 1984. Raleigh Winner. SOLD
It was mid BMX craze and I wanted a Raleigh Burner, but I got a Winner. 10 speed, big gears, fast as hell but heavy and not very maneuverable for chasing around the village so it didn’t get much love. I looked after it well but never went very far on it because I ended up going back to the Streaker. I swapped the dropped bars for some cow-horns, took the gears off, fitted pads and mushroom grips and built myself a BMX.
5. 1988. Raleigh Corsa. SOLD
My first proper racing bike. I’d Saved up for the Ritmo which was the model below in the very well thumbed catalogue but thanks to Phil Staples of Staples Cycles knocking a few quid off and my dad chucking a few quid in I came away with a much better machine. 12 speed, SLR brakes, STI gears, Biopace chain rings, 21mm tyres, but what was I going to do with it? This was the last complete new bike I ever bought and will always be the best bike I ever bought, I still get tingles thinking about it.
6. 1989. Peugeot PH12. VANDALISED
Once I’d worked out what the Corsa was for and turned myself into a cyclist I was told I next needed a winter bike. My uncle came to my rescue and donated me his old Peugeot. In its prime it had been state of the art, in fact it still was. The PH12 was a classic, aero tubes, internal cables, super light CLB brakes and the gear shifters mounted on top of the down tube. I stuck mudguards on it and thrashed it on and off road. Once I got a new winter bike it then was converted into my first fixed wheel or ‘Hack bike’ but a few weeks after I finished putting it together it was vandalised at Newark train station and was then for the trash.
7. 1990. Raleigh fixed wheel. STOLEN
This was my second fixed wheel Hack bike built up for smashing the trails and spinning the legs in winter. I bought the frame from Jason Duckworth, a solid Raleigh with good clearances for mudguards. This bike soon became my transport and would see me through University and then when I moved to London. Well before the fixed wheel craze hit the capital, it was the couriers and me riding fixed, it was the perfect urban bike, nothing to break or steel and bombproof. It was an extension of my body, I was never without it almost like a family member and when it was stolen from our flat one summer I think I actually grieved for it.
8. 1990. The Green bike. SOLD
My second winter bike after I converted the Peugeot to a fixed wheel was this monstrosity. I don’t remember where I bought this but it was a wreck and a bad purchase. There was something up with the rear of the frame and every time I started off, usually crossing a roundabout the back wheel would pull over and jam against the chain stay. I kept it for a while, used it mostly for getting to school and back and then sold it on.
9. 1990. Vitus 979. SOLD the frame.
A genuine pure racing lightweight French aluminum masterpiece. Not stiff but as light as hell, perfect for a skinny boy who liked going uphill. I bought the frame and all parts separate and once it was built it was my pride and joy. A beautiful machine that won a couple of races took me over my first mountains and was polished every day. I will ALWAYS regret selling the frame it is now a classic. Pictured here in hill climb mode.
10. 1991. Raleigh 501 winter bike. SOLD
Can’t remember where I bought this, all I know is I shouldn’t have because it was too small but it must have been cheap. I fitted mudguards and it was a decent quality winter bike but I think it only lasted two seasons.
11. 1991. Barron track bike. SOLD (No photo)
The time came when I needed a track bike and I bought one complete, second hand from Danny Elmore in Lincoln. Solid, lots of chrome, weighed a ton, had one gear, one set of wheels and it won a few races in the B cats at Nottingham track and later at Scunthorpe track. Nothing special but did the job.
12. 1993 Telfer. IN SERVICE
Once at university and blowing my first Student loan in one go I invested in a made to measure steel bike. I sold my Vitus as I was told it would just get softer with age and went for a custom built frame. I chose Rob Teller in the north-east to build it as I loved his bikes and his logo. I wanted Columbus ES oversized tubing because that is what Claudio Chiapucci had used on his Carrera frame in the 1992 Tour, I also liked the slightly chunky look. Alas it came back with standard ES tubing and the custom decal I’d hand cut for the seat tube had been placed upside down before painting which always bugged me. It was neat though, a nice bike but it was never quite right and I never loved it as much as that Vitus. It wasn’t as light, or fast and it brought me zero success. I still keep it at my parents, it has had new carbon forks, many sets of wheels so still works as my vintage bike.
13. 1993. Raleigh Record Ace winter bike. SOLD (No photo)
Can’t remember where I got it but this was too posh really for a winter bike. The mudguards never fitted right, it wasn’t built for them as it didn’t have brazed on eyes so I had to use those stupid chips and they never held tight. It was a fast winter bike though which I guess is what I was after, I put performance before practicality.
14. 1993. BMX. IN SERVICE
All my house mates had BMXs at Uni, it’s how we got around so I paid a boy in the street £15 for this. No idea where he got it from and that didn’t bother me at the time but I can guarantee you now it will have been stolen, we lived in a pretty rough part of Hull. We thought we were all pretty cool rocking up at Spiders night club on BMXs and riding home again slaughtered on cheap booze through the murky streets at 3am.
15. 1993. Home made bike. RETIRED
Set my self the challenge to build a bike in a day with just parts I could find in skips in Hull. I almost did it, just had to spend £1.66 on a bottom bracket axle. I actually did ride a ten mile TT on it once for a laugh. On the A1!
16. 2001. Condor fixed wheel. IN SERVICE
After the theft of my trusty Raleigh fixed wheel which had been my only bike in regular service for years whist I lived it up in London I replaced it with this. The frame was donated to me by a work colleague at Cycling Weekly and I scavenged all the parts I needed from the bins it the office bike shed. I was back on the road, back on fixed and this is still my commuter/winter hack bike today. It took me to work and back every day for 17 years through London Traffic, carried both my kids to school, and was my tool for countless hill reps up Swains Lane on a 69 inch gear. Now in Sheffield I have lowered the gear to 59 inches because it’s a little hillier.
17. 2003. Monoc Track/Street bike. RETIRED
As the fixed wheel craze hit London, all the fashionable types were getting cool ‘fixies’ and assimilating MY culture so I decide to take them on and build the ultimate street weapon. There had been a set of Spinergy Rev X wheels gathering dust for ages in the Cycling Weekly office, no one wanted them so they were the start point. I had a local machinist convert the rear hub and build a track axle for it, bought a chunky Monoc track frame and some beautiful components and bingo it was so hot it would stop traffic. It was too good to commute on though so after not having raced on a track for 10 years I took it down to Herne Hill to race it. I fell back in love with racing there and then but needed to get fit so quit work and flew out to Australia (there was a bit more to it than that).
18. 2003. Bianchi XL EV2. BROKE
To end 10 years of partying in London my wife and I went to live in Sydney for six months. I left my job at Cycling Weekly and took a bike with me so I could get fit again. All parts were donated by staff members, notably the frame (which was a bit small) from Luke Evans and the groupset and wheels by James Shrubsall. It was my first modern bike, my first with integrated gear and brake levers and I packed it in a box in the rain and unpacked it in the sun. After six months of reps around Centenary Park and the famous Saturday morning Coluzzi Run I was ready to come home and race again.
19. 2004. Rossin Revolution. SOLD
With fitness returning and with a month to go in Australia my Bianchi developed a crack in the down tube and I had to replace it. Funds were tight so basically I just had to buy something, anything. I rode over to Bates Bikes in Hurstville and as I waited they swapped all the parts over to this Rossin frame, the closest to what fitted and I could afford in stock. It was a bit big but it kept me riding and I posted it back to London where I sold it to fund my return to racing.
20. 2004. Time VX Edge. IN SERVICE
After much lusting I was lucky enough to invest in my dream bike, or as close as I could get to it. With help from Mike Hawkins at Cycling Weekly I got a good price on the frame and I now owned a beautiful carbon machine that I would race to death week in week out getting my first cat license and having the best fun. 16 years later the frame is as good as the day it was made although most components have been upgraded along the way I still use it, especially for trips abroad. The Zipp 303 wheels are still going strong, light as hell but only see action in hill climbs as there isn’t a great deal left of the braking surfaces.
21. 2004. Ribble winter bike. RETIRED (No photo)
For my return to racing I needed a new winter bike and what else would I get but a blue Ribble. I bought the frame, stuck on various old parts and I was away. Unresponsive, heavy, but with a basic class that all other winter bikes dream of.
22. 2007 Level track bike. IN SERVICE
Now was the time for another dream bike. My Mate Gordo was living in Tokyo so I convinced him to get in touch with the builder I wanted and to ask him to build me a Keirin track frame. What came back was the finest piece of craftsmanship I have ever owned. Utterly perfect. Not as fast as a modern carbon aero track bike but with a timeless class and it’s been thrashed around most the tracks in Britain now.
23. 2010 Condor Italia winter bike. IN SERVICE
I felt guilty replacing the Ribble when I upgraded it and bought a ‘nice’ winter bike. I went for a Condor Italia which rides like a comfy armchair and climbs like one too, but you know what they say, train heavy, race light! After a couple of years it had a custom respray thanks to Ben Spurrier and is a winter bike for life. I hope.
24. 2014 Time NX. IN SERVICE
My current weapon, my second Time built around the NX frame is now in its 7th season on its second pair of Zipp 202 wheels, still rocking 11 speed mechanical Campag and rim brakes. If anyone makes a beautiful bike again I may consider upgrading but I don’t really have any need to I’ll not go any faster and it’s still an amazing machine.