50 Miles on a Holdsworth

Last Saturday I was up and out of the house by 5.16 am with the intention of riding down and across to the market town of Olney and then making a decision on which route home I was going to take .


Olney Town Sign


My chosen bike was the Holdsworth Professional sl that I recently acquired , which has been fitted with a selle smp saddle which I find very comfy indeed .  The furthest I have ridden this bike is 23 miles . I set off going through the town centre and towards Little Irchester so that I covered those busy roads before the vast majority of people were even awake .



Holdsworth Professional sl

The outward bound route in my mind took in the following Villages Irchester , Poddington ,Hinwick ,Odell ,Harrold ,Carlton,Turvey where I cross over the A428 heading towards Newton Blossomville and then on to Emberton and the A509 . It was here that I decided to carry on and turn left towards Milton Keynes and then take the right turn towards Filgrave and Tyringham .



St Peters Church just passed Tyringham marked the first proper stop of the ride where I actually got off the bike for more than few seconds to take a picture . Once back on the bike and over the Great Ouse it was a right turn on to the B526 road and onwards to Gayhurst , Stoke Goldingotn, Eakley ,Horton ,Hackleton this is another stretch of road that I always enjoy riding along in the opposite direction but today I was going well and so was the bike as my average speed over this stretch was quite often nudging 20+ mph and it’s mainly upwards albeit only slightly .



St Peters Tyringham


At the Preston Deanery cross roads I turned right and headed for Great Houghton before a quick run on the A428 to Little Houghton and then onwards to Billing Aquadrome and along and up to Ecton where I crossed over the A4500 on to Ecton lane past all the nice big houses that exist on this road . At the end I turned right heading for home and I started to realize that I wasn’t going to be far from hitting the 50 mile mark at the end of the ride so I decided to go home via Mears Ashby once I had gone past Sywell Aerodrome . Mears Ashby is one of those lovely little villages that seem to be a plenty in Northamptonshire  .



Turvey Village Square

As I went down the Mad Mile my Garmin was reading 45 miles and with less than 2 miles to go it was going to leave me just short of the 50 mark so once I entered Wellingborough I rode down Shelley Road , along Northampton road around the town centre and up Park Street along to Broad Green where I was still only showing 48 miles so I headed up the Kettering road and turned right along Kilborn Road and then around the estate where we live a couple of times to take me up to 50.17 miles in total .


All in all a great ride on a fantastic bike at a higher than average speed and all completed in just over 3 hours in good weather on damp roads when I started out and by the time I got home they were drying out nicely .

Holdsworth Professional Sl

Sometimes when you look at a picture of a bike, no matter how good or bad the picture is, you get a sense that hopefully the bike is a good one and worth chasing .



Holdsworth Professional sl

This happened to me a few weeks ago when I was looking through Gumtree ads and spotted an advert for a Holdsworth bike leant up against a hedge. Some of the bike in the question was lost in the hedge , but from what I could see and from some of the other pictures showed this was a quality bike waiting to be ridden again .



Holdsworth Professional sl


Contact was made with the seller and all was going well , then communication stopped . In the meantime I had mentioned said bike to a fellow bike enthusiast who agreed with my thoughts . A few days later he messaged me saying that he had been in contact with the seller and had made arrangements to view the bike a couple of days later. If I was still interested he would pick it up on my behalf and then we would arrange to get it to me . We arranged a meet up and the bike was duly swapped over to my ownership , my first look at it confirmed my initial thoughts .



Holdsworth Professional sl

The frame was very light and lived up to its Reynolds 531 Super Light stickering and had that certain ring when tapped with your fingernail , the bottom bracket was also drilled for lightness and the seat cluster included a very nicely done set of fastback stays and with no lower stay bridge it was most certainly a classy frame indeed . From what I can make out this model of the Holdsworth Professional Sl only existed in 1992 before it went to normal rear stays , solid bottom bracket and non-drilled rear dropouts .



Holdsworth Professional sl


It arrived with a very rough looking set of tubs and sprint wheels complete with a racing 7 speed block and some aero bars that had some weird twist grip gear shifters mounted and wired up although these were not functioning. All of these were removed and consigned to my parts storage and at the same time I fitted a nice set of six speed Campagnola hubbed and Mavic rimmed wheels which duly slotted in and fitted the chromed and drilled rear dropouts nicely . The next change was to fit some sleek aero style down tube shifters and some new brake & gear cables to see what worked or not . The first thing I found out was that the Mavic rear mechanism would foul against the biggest rear cog when I tried to select it . Upon investigation it was apparent the rear mech had some issues so was duly swapped to make room for a less pretty Shimano 105 unit and hey presto all 12 gears were selectable .



Holdsworth Professional sl



Holdsworth Professional sl

Now that was sorted test miles could continue and a couple more days of commuting were done without any issues . A couple of days of damp weather delayed its inaugural double figure ride . But I can happily say a nice gentle 24 miles were completed around the local lanes last weekend and the bike impressed me a lot with its quality of ride and the way it picked up speed so easily and it even climbed the couple of gentle hills with ease .



Holdsworth Professional sl


All in all I am more than impressed with this bike , and soon as time allows I will start giving it a better clean rather than just the wipe down with a wet wipe that it has had so far .

Italian Beauty

You quite often hear people say how Italian made products have a lot more flair than many other European products.



I have had limited experience of Italian cars over the years and have always found them either to be built for people with small feet or clients buy them to look at rather than drive . This experience is from working at a combined Alfa Romeo and Fiat dealership approximately 13 years ago , so things might have changed since then .


My experience of Italian  made bikes has previously been based on a couple of Olmo’s that I have owned over the years. I found them very lively to ride and they always seem to bring the hooligan out of you in your style of riding .


About 18 months ago I managed to get hold of a Simoncini road bike that looked like it had led a relatively easy life . After using it quite a bit straight after I purchased it , it has been tucked up in our garage awaiting its turn to get back out and play on the asphalt which happened on Bank Holiday Monday. It also received a different set of wheels from the set it was stored with as I felt that the set it came with never really fitted with the rest of the running gear , so they have been swapped for a set of Rigida shallow vee rims laced to a set of small flange miche hubs that has a 7 speed cassette fitted to match the Shimano 7 speed indexed gear leavers . I was tempted to upgrade the whole running gear for a much more modern 2 x 10 system but the jury are still out on that for one reason or another .




Its first ride out in 2017 happened in the afternoon of 1st May, initially it was only going to be a gentle 6 mile ride to make sure no other work was required but as it seemed to be going so well I pressed on and ended up covering 20 miles in total , ok I know it’s not far, but its far enough to get a feel of a bike and to check out how its running .




The most amazing thing is that my average speed for the first part of the journey from the top side of Wellingborough across to Wollaston via Mears Ashby and Grendon was a whopping 17+ mph , I normally only see those kind of speeds descending hills . The return journey was marginally slower as I came home via Wellingborough town centre and the main A509 .


The Deddaiciai Zero Uno tube set is fantastic for ironing out the bumps and lumps of British roads and has all the stiffness I will ever need , it also makes a nice change from the more normal Reynolds or Columbus tube sets offered by many top bike makers . The Simoncini original paintwork is still in fantastic condition and I still like the mainly white and red colour scheme a lot more than I expected to do when I first picked it up .




My aim is to do quite a few miles on this fantastic Italian stallion during 2017 as it seems such a shame not to use and enjoy the experience of riding such a nice bike more . At some point I might upgrade the gearing to a 2 x 10 set up but at the moment the 2 x 7 set up is fine although a slightly ratio set wouldn’t go amiss on the rear cassette . And some better tyres will find their way on to the Rigida rims as well once I make a decision re the gearing .