In Appreciation of my Merseyside Bikes

Today I am going to waffle on about my collection of Merseyside bikes

Just over 2 years ago I decided I wanted a bike from my birth town which is Coventry , not to long afterwards I managed to pick up a W Pollard Specialite bike . This bike is still in my collection to this day and it’s a bike I have always enjoyed riding .

Single speed Pollard

It was not long afterwards that I saw a post on Cycle Chat about how somebody had bought an Ian May frameset in the mid to late 80’s as a present for himself at the end of a racing season and was planning on building that up for the following season . But as we all now not all the best plans happen his plans were sidelined by the arrival of children and family life in general .

He stored the frame away in his garage waiting for time to slow down so he could build it up this never happened to sometime in 2012 where he rediscovered the frame in his garage and started building it up using as much NOS period parts that he could gather without breaking the bank . And it was the following year I managed to purchase my first Merseyside bike an Ian May road bike

My First Ian May

It arrived with modern style shimano wheels but in my eyes these did not suit the look of the bike so were replaced with a pr of Mavic GL330 sprint rims laced on to a pr Edco Swiss made competition hubs and some Vittorio Tan walled tubs , apart from the addition of a Smp lite 209 saddle these have been the only changes I have made apart from replacing the bottom bracket for a newer cartridge style one . I should think this bike has covered less than 200 miles since I have had it and not a lot more since day 1 .

Earlier in 2014 myself and Iestyn Adams started a Facebook page titled “ In Appreciation of Ian May Cycles “ as very little was known about the man and his bikes , and it was just after this time that I managed to locate another Ian May frame that was sitting around unused , once a deal had been done the frame was built up to serve as my main long term day to day bike no matter what the weather , a bit silly when you realize no mudguard fittings were on the oval tubed frame . My local bike shop C E Adkins did the majority of build including lacing up a nice pr of large flanged hubs to some newer Wienmann rims .

My 2nd Ian May

The 3 rd of my 4 Merseyside bikes appeared not long after when a call from Tony Smith who had just bought a Soens badged bike but it was a shade too small for him but ideal for me . This arrived and was immediately but on commuting duties and has ridden itself in to the keeping section of my garage mainly down to the way it rides , it will never win a competition based on originality or good looks as it has taken a few knocks and nicks in its life which as far as I can tell is mid to late 1960’s . Its only shortfall is having 6 close ratio gears which make it less than ideal for hill work . Must admit I do keep thinking about adding a double crank set and a wider spread rear block but just have never got round to doing it .


The 4th and final Merseyside bike I own is one I picked up this week and subject of a blog I did earlier in the week . Its badged as a Jim Soens and nothing is known about its history or previous life , it has what looks to be 114466 stamped on the underside of the bottom bracket shell so I presume rightly or wrongly 1966 it is currently running using a 3 speed sturmey archer aw hub that looks to be date stamped 1963 . The orange paintwork looks to be original , not sure about the forks though but then they do fit in with the white panels , once I pull the forks out to clean and service the headset I can look for any numbers being stamped on them . My initial plan is to ride in as specification and see what happens , the rear drop outs look to be narrow 120mm style . Ideally I would like to fit some retro sprint 700 wheels but till I look and see what spare brake drop the centre pull brakes have and double check the rear oln measurement I am unsure . Yes the butterfly bars will go for sure , I have a nice pair of GB Maes drop bars that will be ideal for it . I am sure more ideas will come and go as time goes by but till I start using it i am not sure what plans are .

Jim Soens

There are loads more Merseyside bikes I could keep an eye out for i.e. Quinn’s , Walvales ,Lloyds to name a few but for time being the 4 I have will do .
The face book page mentioned above was changed earlier in the year to the ” In Appreciation of Merseyside Bikes” page and can be found here


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