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DK’s ‘The Bicycle Book – the definitive visual history’

Le Tour de France starts in a few hours. Which reminds me that, last autumn, Prof. Lessing and I were called in by Dorling Kindersley to help them finish off this book: DK’s ‘The Bicycle Book – the definitive visual history’
It’s worth every penny for the super pictures of a huge range of bicycles old and new from around the world. Fabulous value at £20 RRP.

Bicycle Book

New content on K-series Sturmey hubs

If you go to the section of this website that provides detailed information on how to repair old Sturmey-Archer hubs, you’ll find new content on the K-series 3-speeds of the 1920s and 1930s. Not all the material is explicitly about repairing the hubs but it may prove useful and interesting to some readers.

There is now an 18-page PDF file (zoomable and easily printed) that includes all the following content:

  • The late great Jim Gill’s description of the type K hub and the changes made to it during its production run (2 pages).
  • A cutaway drawing of the 1922-1933 model.
  • Jim’s simplified instructions for dismantling and re-assembling the type K.
  • Jim’s analysis of the type K’s “no intermediate gear” feature, which went AWOL in 1935.
  • Jim’s tabulated analysis of 20 type K hubs manufactured between c.1925 and 1937 (2 pages).
  • S-A’s 1925 parts list and exploded diagram of the type K .
  • S-A’s 1935 exploded diagrams and parts lists for the type K, type KS and type KSW hubs (5 pages).
  • S-A’s 1937 exploded diagrams and parts lists for the type K, type KS and type KSW hubs (5 pages).

Go to the Cycling tab above, click on Gears and scroll down the list to “How to repair old Sturmey-Archer hubs”. Or just click on this link:

Update 22 June 2016: I’ve also added material on the K-series brake hubs (KB, KC and KT) and on S-A’s 1930s drum brakes (BF, BR, BFT and BRT).

Major new cycle history interview

Interested in the history of Raleigh, Sturmey-Archer, Brooks, Pashley or Moulton? Or maybe in the wider development and changes the British cycle industry has undergone in the last 50 years? Then this interview, which I recorded on 23rd March 2016, is for you.

John Macnaughtan spent 48 years at Raleigh and Sturmey-Archer. Early in his career, he was sent to Raleigh South Africa and he soon became Director of Raleigh Industries East Africa. Later, with David Duffield, he set up Raleigh Australia. John joined Sturmey-Archer in 1977 and became Sales and Marketing Director in 1981. After the sale of Sturmey-Archer to Sun Race, he became Managing Director of Raleigh International. He was instrumental in saving the Brooks saddle company and became a co-owner of Pashley. Today, he spends much of his time at Bradford-on-Avon, dealing with the export of Moulton bicycles.

The interview, in two parts and full of unique insights and recollections, is now on the Veteran-Cycle Club YouTube channel.
Part 1: John Macnaughtan interview Part 1
Part 2: John Macnaughtan interview Part 2

2016-03-21 John Macnaughtan.jpg

New hub and bracket gear tables

You may have seen elsewhere on this site (in the comments on John Allen’s hub gear table in the Gears section) that Wiel van den Broek has created some very useful Excel spreadsheets for gearing choices involving hub gears and bracket gears. You can enter the tyre format, chainwheel and sprocket sizes and instantly compare the results given by different gears.

The gears covered range some more than 100 years old to others that are in current production. There is a metric- and an inch-chart, both of which you can download from these links:

Metric (development):

Inches (equivalent diameter of direct-drive cranked wheel):

Many thanks to Wiel for creating these spreadsheets.



The End of the Hydes of Hyde End

For the full and most up-to-date version of my article on the recusant Hydes of Berkshire, see the 10-page PDF file here: Hydes

News about the Sturmey-Archer Story supplement

It’s amazing to think that 28 years have passed since my book The Sturmey-Archer Story was published. You can still buy it from the Veteran-Cycle Club’s sales officer (email: or from Dorothy Pinkerton (telephone: +44 (0)121 350 0685). Remarkably, the price has hardly changed, despite decades of inflation.

Whether you are a new purchaser of the book or bought it years ago, don’t forget to read the free supplement. It contains a host of information, some of which is not available elsewhere:

  • Product developments by Sturmey-Archer and its competitors in the period between publication of the book and the closure of Sturmey-Archer’s British operations.
  • How Sturmey-Archer ceased to be a British company and became Taiwanese.
  • The auctioneer’s detailed list of Sturmey-Archer plant sold off when the British factory closed.
  • Additional information about the period covered by the book.
  • Corrections.

The supplement is available free of charge on this website by clicking on the Cycling tab above and following the drop-down link to Gears. But if you want a printer-friendly version, so that you can print out a tidy 26-page A4 version, click here: S-A Story supplement

You can also save the supplement as a PDF file to read on your desktop computer, tablet or phone by right-clicking the link above and ‘saving link as’.


Descended from gunner Andrew Kenneally and his wife Annie, née Gill?

Annie Gill was a half-sister of William Gill, the explorer and intelligence officer. Born about 1864 in India, in 1886 she married Andrew Kenneally, an Irish soldier born in Galway about 1859. The couple lived in India until 1899 but by 1901 were living in Dover. Andrew was a gunner in the Royal Artillery but became a general labourer on retiring from the army. Andrew was my great-grandfather Charles Fisher’s best man and Annie was one of my great-great aunts and a daughter of my great-great grandfather Robert Gill.

If you are descended from Andrew and Annie, I’d be very interested to hear from you. Email me at:

I’m particularly interested in hearing from Neil Barber and Michael-John Wright, both of whom appear to be descended from Andrew and Annie Kenneally.



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