Alan Reed, RIP

I am sad to report that ex-Raleigh employee Alan Reed died recently following a fall. He started working for the company straight from school in 1943 and I had the great pleasure of meeting him about 10 years ago, when I was researching my book Raleigh: past and presence of an iconic bicycle brand. His reminiscences and several photos that he provided feature in that volume. He also appears briefly in the oft-repeated BBC4 documentary about Raleigh entitled Pedalling Dreams, which was produced by Testimony Films. My wife and I regularly exchanged Christmas cards with Alan and his wife Sheila, who survives him. Shelia’s uncle was Lord Mayor of Nottingham and accompanied Viscount Montgomery at the opening of Raleigh’s No. 2 factory in 1957.

Alan started at Raleigh when he was just 14 years old and two years later he was reaming out the bottom brackets of military folding bicycles. He later worked in the export department for some years and spent the rest of his working life in various roles as part of ‘the Raleigh family’. His enthusiasm and pride in his work was striking. He was particularly proud of meeting distinguished visitors to the factory: he met Princess Margaret when she visited in 1976 and chatted with Prince Charles during a works visit three years later.

Alan’s daughter Jane Alsop tells me that the funeral service will be held on Monday the 16th September 2019 at 12:30 at the Trent Valley Crematorium, Derby Road, Aston-on-Trent, Derby, DE72 2AF. This will be followed by a wake at the Harrington Arms, 392 Tamworth Road, Long Eaton, Nottingham NG10 3AU.

Donations, if desired, should be made to either Blind Veterans UK or Children’s Air Ambulance will be collected on the day or can be forwarded to the funeral directors. All enquiries to Kinton and Daughter, Family Funeral Directors, Castle Donington, 01332 390861.

It was a pleasure knowing Alan and we offer our condolences to his family and friends.

Tony Hadland

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

Economically upcycling a 1978 BSA (Raleigh) 20 folder

In a recent post I described a 1974 Raleigh 20 FE, in near original condition, that had been in the same ownership for 40 years. The husband of the FE’s owner also had a 20, which was a folding version, badged as a BSA 20, and made in 1978. I rescued both bikes from an almost certain final trip to the local tip. I sold the FE on eBay for less than its replacement lamp cost me. I didn’t mind though, as I needed the space and it saved the bike from a prematurely ignoble end. As for the BSA 20 folder, I decided to keep it and refurbish it.

My aim was not the ultimate ‘hot 20’, which could cost quite a lot of money. Instead I decided to upgrade the less desirable old components, mostly with items from eBay or the spares box, plus a few from St John Street Cycles or Amazon Market Place dealers. The following annotated photo sequence shows the end result, a very rideable hack which, because of its colour scheme, I call Cappuccino.

The 1974 Raleigh 20 FE, described in a previous post, weighed a hefty 37 lb (almost 17 kg) in orignal form but without its rear bag. (That, however, is a pound and half less than my grandson’s modern but relatively inexpensive mountain bike!) The BSA folder weighed 32 lb (about 14.5 kg) in its original form but after the modifications described below, it weighs 30 lb (about 13.6 kg) without bag, despite having the addition of a rear carrier. Further weight savings could be made by replacing the original wheels with new ones having alloy rims, alloy hubs and narrower tyres, and by replacing the handlebars and stem with alloy equivalents.

A general view of Capucciono, complete with the Carradice handlebar bag which, via Klickfix fixings, gets used on several of my bikes.

Above: A general view of Cappuccino, complete with the Carradice handlebar bag which, via Klickfix fixings, gets used on several of my bikes.

Another view of the bike, this time from the left side.

Another view of the bike, this time from the left side.

The handlebar cluster and related components. I decided to keep the original steel stem and handlebars, as they are in fine condition, are nicely rigid and allow lots of adjustment, both verically and fore and aft. The Carradice bag (great for day rides) is easily detachable via a Klickfix bracket on the handlebars and has a handy shoulder strap. The ergonomic handlebar grips (cheap but adequate copies inspired by Ergon) make a big difference to comfort. The Tetro brake levers are also a huge improvement on the cheap steel originals, having far superior leverage, adjustable reach and cable adjustment.

I decided to keep the original steel stem and handlebars, as they are in fine condition, are nicely rigid and allow lots of adjustment, both vertically and fore and aft. The Carradice bag (great for day rides) is easily detachable via a Klickfix bracket on the handlebars and has a handy shoulder strap. The ergonomic handlebar grips (cheap but adequate copies inspired by Ergon) make a big difference to comfort. The Tektro brake levers are also a huge improvement on the cheap steel originals, having far superior leverage, adjustable reach and cable adjustment.

A rider's-eye view of the handlebar cluster, showing the Klickfix bracket, the Sturmey-Archer 3-speed trigger and a bell, tcuked away by the bag bracket. This set-up enables the bike to be stood upside for maintenance, supported well by the handlebar grip extensions and saddle.

A rider’s-eye view of the handlebar cluster, showing the Klickfix bracket, the Sturmey-Archer 3-speed trigger and a bell, tucked away to the left of the bag bracket. This set-up enables the bike to be stood upside for maintenance, with stable three-point support via the handlebar grip forward extensions and saddle.

A view of the handlebar cluster with the bag removed, showing the front of the Klickfix mount.

A view of the handlebar cluster with the bag removed, showing the front of the Klickfix mount.

I decided to ditch the chainset and bottom bracket axle and bearings, replacing them with a cotterless assembly. The chainset was an inexpesnive item from eBay but nonetheless has a proper detachable chainwheel. This enabled me to move the chainwehel to the left hand of teh spider, to get a better chainline. The chainwheel was sold as being for 1/8-inch chain but actually works fine with older style 3/32-inch chains. Also in shot is a MKS all-metal folding pedal, which repalced the very heavy solid bearing original pedals.

I decided to ditch the chainset and bottom bracket axle and bearings, and replace them with a cotterless assembly. The chainset was an inexpensive unused item from eBay but nonetheless has a proper detachable chainwheel. This enabled me to move the chainwheel to the left hand of the spider, which was very important to get a reasonable chain line. The chainwheel was sold as being for 1/8-inch chain but actually works fine with older style 3/32-inch chains (e.g. for 6-, 7- or 8-speed derailleurs). Also in shot is an MKS all-metal folding pedal, which replaced the very heavy solid bearing original pedals and enables the width of the bike to be usefully reduced very easily for transit or storage. I dispensed with the hockey stick chainguard and its mounting bracket, filing off the sharp corners of what was left of the fixing point on the strut behind the chainwheel.

Raleigh 20s and their badge-engineered brethren have ultra-wide (78mm) bottom bracket shells and are Raleigh-threaded. This is very limiting when it comes to converting to a cotterless set-up, especially at a reasonable price. I reduced the width of the bottom bracket shell, on the chainwheel side, by 5mm. This enabled me to fit a relatively inexpensive Oxford 73mm-wide threadless bottom bracket cartridge.

Raleigh 20s and their badge-engineered brethren have ultra-wide (78mm) bottom bracket shells and are Raleigh-threaded. This is very limiting when it comes to converting to a cotterless set-up, especially at a reasonable price. So I reduced the width of the bottom bracket shell, on the chainwheel side, by 5mm. This enabled me to fit a relatively inexpensive Oxford 73mm-wide threadless bottom bracket cartridge. The letters and numbers stamped onto the bottom bracket are not a serial number but the postcode of the previous owner.

This shot clearly shows how the chainstays of the Raleigh 20 series were flattened and wrapped around the bottom bracket shell (to which they were brazed) before continuing forward to form bracing struts, brazed to teh underside of teh main beam.

This shot clearly shows how the chain stays of the Raleigh 20 series were flattened and wrapped around the bottom bracket shell (to which they were brazed) before continuing forward to form bracing struts, brazed to the underside of the main beam.

A wider view of teh same area.

A wider view of the same area. Note the struts, which join the main beam below the frame hinge on the right of the picture.

Another view of the MKS folding pedal.

Another view of the MKS folding pedal and surrounding area. Note the frame hinge on the left and the TI ‘made in Britain’ sticker at the base of the seat tube.

A similar view but showing the pedal in folded mode. The difference may not sem much but a pair of such pedals can reduce the stored width of the bike by about 5 inches (12.5 cm)

A similar view but showing the pedal in folded mode. The difference may not seem much but a pair of such pedals can reduce the stored width of the bike by about 5 inches (12.5 cm).

Another view of the folded pedal, with the frame hinge at top left.

Another view of the folded pedal, with the frame hinge at top left.

The wheels are in very good condition, the original Sturmey-Archer rims being true and almost perfect cosmetically. The front hub and rear hubs are also fine and the spoke tension is OK. So rather than spend a small fortune on new 451 wheels, I decided to keep the originals and just fit new inner tubes and new Schwalbe Kevlar-protected whitewall tyres. Yes, steel wheels have porrer wet weather braking but I don't intend riding this bike much in the rain. Also, I upgraded the brakes, about which more below.

The wheels are in very good condition, the original Sturmey-Archer rims being true and almost perfect cosmetically. The front hub and rear hubs are also fine and the spoke tension is OK. So rather than spend a small fortune on new 451 wheels, I decided to keep the originals and just fit new inner tubes and new Schwalbe Kevlar-protected whitewall tyres. Yes, steel wheels have poorer wet weather braking but I don’t intend riding this bike much in the rain. Also, I upgraded the brakes, about which more below.

This bike did not have a carrier (rack) but I found this original Swiss-made Pletscher on eBay. This carrier was fitted to quite a few Raleigh 20s and fitted perfectly. It has a sprung parcel clip and I have added a couple of old-style toe-clip straps, which are often handy for securing items of luggage (such as a rolled up jacket).

This bike did not have a carrier (rack) but I found this original Swiss-made Pletscher on eBay. This model of carrier was original equipment on some Raleigh 20s and fitted perfectly. It has a sprung parcel clip and I have added a couple of old-style toe-clip straps – often handy for securing items of luggage (such as a rolled up jacket).

Another view of the carrier.

Another view of the carrier.

And yet another shot of teh carrier, but this time including the new longer and alloy mico-adjust seat pillar. This replaced the original steel seat post, which, for no good reason, was slightly shorter than the standard Raleigh 20 item. The saddle is quite a nice one from the spares box.

And yet another shot of the carrier, but this time including the new longer and alloy micro-adjust seat pillar. This replaced the original steel seat post, which, for no good reason, was slightly shorter than the standard Raleigh 20 item, and which had an old-style steel saddle clip. The saddle now fitted is quite a nice one from the spares box. The original, supplied with the bike, was a very cheap vinyl-covered mattress saddle, with no main chassis springs – unlike the relatively plush Brooks item fitted to the FE described in a previous post.

Another view of the saddle and seat pillar.

Another view of the saddle and seat pillar. Also in shot is the Sturmey-Archer AW wide-ratio 3-speed hub. As can be seen, this was made in the days when they still fitted a lubrication point, so it’s easy to add a few drops of oil from time to time. The AW is a very efficient hub but the original gearing of Raleigh 20s is on the high side. So, although I kept the same number of teeth on the chainwheel (46), I fitted a larger rear sprocket (17 tooth). This lowers the top gear to 71-inches, a great gear for pootling along at a reasonable speed, without hunting between top and middle gear. Middle gear is now reduced to 54-inch, fine for many moderate slopes. Low gear drops to 40-inch, enabling easier hill climbing. For most people, reducing the gearing in this way is one of the easiest and most worthwhile upgrades you can make to a Raleigh 20 or derivative.

The original pressed steel callipers are not great, so i replaced them with these

The original pressed steel calipers are not great (poor leverage and flexible arms), so I replaced them with these Tektro R365 dual-pivot brakes. The leverage at the caliper is much better (aided also by better brake lever leverage), they are quick-release and incorporate adjusters for brake block clearance and cable tension. As the brake fixing bolt that passes through the fork crown is retained by a threaded sleeve (rather than a standard nut) it is necessary to enlarge the hole through back of the crown slightly. Also, these calipers fouled the forward extension of the original mudguard. This was easily resolved by trimming back the mudguard. Visible in this picture, against the lower steering bearing, is the chrome-plated stop that prevents the forks being reversed. I took the opportunity of fitting new balls to the lower steering bearing. (The upper bearing is solid nylon, which damps the otherwise rather light steering. It can be replaced with a ball bearing unit, if desired.)

Despite the long reach of these brakes, the fixing hole for the rear brake calliper needed to be elongated downwards by a few millimetres to get the brake blocks low enough to avoid the risk of them rubbing on the tyre sidewall during braking. Slightly longer brake arms would avoid this problem.

Despite the long reach of these brakes, the fixing hole for the rear brake caliper needed to be elongated downwards by a few millimetres to get the brake blocks low enough to avoid the risk of them rubbing on the tyre sidewall during braking. Slightly longer brake arms would avoid this problem.

A Motorised Raleigh 20

Here’s something you don’t see everyday. It’s a UK street-legal moped based on a Raleigh 20 and was created by consulting engineer Chris Sawyer. It has a Cyclemaster engine and front suspension. Apparently it works quite well and it demonstrates the rigidity of the folding version of the bike. Many thanks to Chris for permitting use of his photo.

The folding Raleigh 20 converted into a moped by Chris Sawyer
The folding Raleigh 20 converted into a moped by Chris Sawyer

A New Class of Cyclists: Banham’s Bicycle and the Two-wheeled World it didn’t Create

Bruce D Epperson is, among other things, an eminent American cycle historian. His paper ‘A New Class of Cyclist: Banham’s Bicycle and the Two-wheeled World it didn’t Create’ should be compulsory reading for anybody studying the history of cycling in the United Kingdom in the 1960s and 1970s. It appeared in the journal Mobilities, Volume 8, Issue 2, 2013.

Here’s the abstract:

While not uncommon for innovator and innovation to merge into a single identity, it is more unusual for this to occur between object and critic. But it did happen in the 1960’s with a novel small-wheeled bicycle, the Moulton, and the British architecture and design critic Reyner Banham. Banham believed the Moulton would give rise to a new generation of middle-class urban radical cyclists who would eventually come to rely on bicycles for their transport needs. While this did not happen, the Moulton’s attention-getting technology did lead to a revived market in bicycles among young, newly affluent consumers who bought small-wheeled utility bicycles as fashion statements and status symbols.

The article is particular relevant to those interested in the history of Moulton bicycles, the Raleigh cycle company and the Raleigh 20 series of small-wheelers – Raleigh’s biggest selling product line in the mid 1970s.

The article can be purchased online here from the publisher, Taylor & Francis:
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/17450101.2012.659467#.VRKlAGbEigc

Web of Science provides more information about the article, including contact details for the author:
http://cel.webofknowledge.com/InboundService.do?product=CEL&SID=Y2fRMQ6UGNkDsTUOM53&UT=WOS%3A000317828900005&SrcApp=literatum&action=retrieve&Init=Yes&SrcAuth=atyponcel&Func=Frame&customersID=atyponcel&IsProductCode=Yes&mode=FullRecord

 

Tony

 

75 years later, Steve takes on Tommy’s challenge

My good pal Dave Minter tells me that Steve Abraham, a friend of his, is going for the Tommy Godwin annual mileage record. What’s that?

In 1939, Tommy Godwin from Stoke-on-Trent cycled 75,065 miles (120,805 km) in one year – more than anyone anywhere before or since. That’s an average of more than 205 miles a day, every day of the year. Tommy did it on a Raleigh with initially a 3-speed Sturmey-Archer hub gear and later one of the then very new 4-speed Sturmey hubs. Tommy used another recent Raleigh/Sturmey innovation, a Dynohub, to power his lights. Forget your carbon fibre – the bike was steel and so was the man. There’s more about him here: http://www.tommygodwin.com/the-challenge/

Dave Minter reckons Steve Abraham is the only rider in the UK capable of breaking Tommy’s 75 year old record. You can read more about Steve’s plans here: http://road.cc/content/news/137018-audax-uk-ace-steve-abraham-aims-tommy-godwins-unbreakable-year-record-2015

As Steve will have to take a year off work to make this attempt, he could do with financial support. Every little helps and I’ve just sent him a little donation myself. To find out more, visit his own record attempt website: http://www.oneyeartimetrial.org.uk where you can donate via PayPal and find out more about his plans.

Raleigh: Past & Presence of an Iconic Bicycle Brand

Front cover dust jacket of 'Raleigh' by Tony Hadland

Raleigh Past and Presence of an Iconic Bicycle Brand by Tony Hadland, with contributions by Eric Kwiatkowski, Scotford Lawrence and Paul Whatley, was published in autumn 2011 by Cycle Publishing / Van der Plas Publications of San Francisco. It is the most comprehensive and thoroughly researched history of the Raleigh bicycle brand yet published and involved about 5,000 hours of research.
The author has been writing thoroughly researched books on the history of bicycle technology since 1980. All his books have been produced independently of the companies covered. His primary concern has always been for accuracy, not for financial gain. He has therefore always made it a practice to publish, free of charge, update sheets including additional information and corrections. Below is the first such update sheet for this book.

Additional information and corrections

Page 8, column 3, line 8: ‘Harry Davey’ not ‘Harvey Davey’.

Page 12, column 2, line 21: California became part of the USA two years before (not after) Frank Bowden’s birth.

Page 12, column 2, line 28: Although transcriptions of the 1891 census (e.g. as published by Find My Past) list Harold Bowden as born in 1881, he was actually born 9 July 1880.

Page 13, column 3, paragraph 2, last line: We now know from contemporary press advertising that the company was operational by May 1885.

Page 14, Fig. 1.7: Since the book was published, Colin Kirsch has acquired a Raleigh that slightly pre-dates the Brooklands machine.

Page 139, Fig. 23.1: Should read ‘The 1946 Lenton Sports…’

Page 145: Fig. 23.17: Should read ‘showing 1961 BSA Goldens.’

Page 146: Fig. 23.21: Should read ‘1961’ not ‘1950’.

Page 148, column 3, paragraph 1: Replace last two sentences with ‘This was then the most powerful TV transmitter in the world and covered Nottingham but, in this era of austerity, very few people owned television sets.’

Page 149: Fig. 24.5: Should read ‘Reg Harris beating Arie van Vliet at the 1954 World Championship finals.’

Page 199, column 1, after paragraph 1: Paul Whatley points out that the Raleigh versions, which also first appeared in 1961, were the Gran Sport (which featured for the first time a Campagnolo gear), the Sprite and the Blue Streak. All three used the same 72 x 72 degree non-531 frame. A revamped Raleigh headbadge was also seen on these bicycles. The forks lacked the traditional chromed thimbles and had a normal straight cut fork crown. This new range was first shown at the 1960 Earls Court show and continued until the end of 1964.

Page 235, after column 1: Here is some additional information, provided by Paul Whatley, about Raleigh Lightweights of the 1960s. The Gran Sport, Sprite and Blue Streak were dropped at the end of 1964, to be replaced by the Raleigh Record, Rapide, Rapier and Royale, in that descending price order. There was a 531 double-butted Record frame, which sold for £18. The Raleigh Record did not use this quality frame, but a cheaper version, the whole bike selling for £38. This range, with a few minor alterations, lasted until 1968. In that year, the Raleigh Ruberg replaced the Record, selling for a similar price, while Raleigh offered a 531 frameset at around £20. The Rapier and Royale continued in production, as possibly did the Rapide, until 1970-71. Several professional teams used the 531 Record and Ruberg framesets at this time, the Ruberg equipping a German professional team. Carlton was left to produce the sportier adult models for the first years of the 1970s, until the rise of the Raleigh professional team in the later 1970s.

Page 243, Fig. 37.3: After ‘Bernard Hinault’ insert ‘(centre) and Joop Zoetemelk (right)…’

Page 261, Fig. 38.39: Should read ‘Mike Mullett working on a wheel at the Skol 73 six-day races, with Jan LeGrand in the background.’

Page 264, column 3, last two paragraphs: Delete, including continuation of last paragraph into column 1 of page 265.

Page 319, Fig. 45.10: Should read ‘Sturmey-Archer advertisement stating that 1907 and 1908 Tour de France winner Lucien Petit-Breton used their three-speed hub gear in the 1913 race.’

Page 366, column 4, line 23: Should read ‘Drinkwater, Dave, 82, 169’

Tony Hadland
14 March 2016