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 .

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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 .

 

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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 .

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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 .

 

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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  .

 

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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 .

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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 .

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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 .

 

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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 .

 

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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 .

 

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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 .

 

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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 .

 

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Holdsworth Professional sl

 

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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 .

 

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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.

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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 .

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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 .

 

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Simoncini

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 .

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Simoncini

 

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 .

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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 .

 

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Simoncini

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 .

2 Bikes for sale

PLEASE NOTE THESE BIKE’S ARE IS IN WELLINGBOROUGH NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

First up is

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Turn of the century Terry Dolan 7005 triple butted Kinesis alloy framed road racing bike

56cm or 22″ square so suitable for 5ft 9″ upwards aprox with a standover height of 78cm of 30″

Nice condition wine red paintwork with lovely beefy chromed forks just a few storage related marks but no dents or cracks .

Mixed Shimano group set ie Ultrega sti units and rear mech whilst i believe fr mech is also an ultrega unit i cant be sure , rx 100 crank with mixed rings and RSX calipers . Gipiemme t-quattro 30s rims that really spin nice and freely , new Vittorio Rubino 700 x 23 tyres.

2 x bottle cage mounts but no cages or bottles , 45mm riser stem as forks were cut low , 90mm black angled stem with itm bars fitted. Acor seat ost that is free to move and adjust . Sell bossano saddle that is worn but comfy .

A good looking bike that is a treat to ride and own .

Asking £225 collected from NN8 Wellingborough post code or could be sent via a 2 – 3 day parcel force delivery for an extra £25

Next is

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Ribble alloy framed bike that gets good reviews no matter where you look , this was sold to me as a 56cm frame , although when measured from centre of crank to top of seat tube is 58 cm or 23″ and is 57 cm or 22 1/2″ along the top tube with a standover height of 81 cm or 32 ” and a head tube of 150 mm , so roughly ideal for around the 5ft 9″ and upwards area in the pictures its set for me at 5ft 10″

alloy 7005 frame with itm spider carbon bladed forks , red in colour with some age related marks but no dents or cracks . One previous owner who used it as his winter bike for the first couple of years then it got demoted to his spare winter bike and got hardly used for the last 8 years . I have covered aprox 125+ miles in the few weeks i have had it and its riding a lot better due to new 8 speed cassette and chain along with new gear cables and some tlc .

Gearing is all shimano components with yellow ” 105 ” flightdeck sti units with some crazing on the blades , sora chainset 52/39 with 170 mm arms and a sora front mechanism with a yellow “105” rear mechanism . Calipers are Tiagra units with half worn pads .

Wheels are unbranded shallow vee rims laced on to quando black hubs and spokes which run true enough ftted with a pr of continental duraskin tyres . Full length sks guards fitted the rear one looks to have had a repair and is fitted with a built in rear dynamo fed light unit (although no dynamo fitted ).

Std frame feature such as 2 sets of cage mounts , guard mounts fr & rr along with upper rear rack mounts , takes a 27.2 post which is free to move and adjust ok . stem is a 85mm at present with oversize bars .

Please note saddle , pedals , lights , garmin , waterproofs and under saddle bag are not included in sale . Pedals and a saddle will be included just not the ones in the pictures . And seat post will be a different one .

Asking £195 collected from NN8 Wellingborough postcode or could be sent via a 2 day parcel courier for an extra £25

Bridgestone Synergy Rb2 and its not a tyre

My latest purchase is a Bridgestone Synergy Rb2 circa mid 1980’s.

 

Bridgestone Synergy rb2

 

I have been keeping an eye out for one or an Rb1 which is its slightly better specified brother , I have not seen either come up for sale for ages

. This one popped up a few weeks back at slightly over my budget for a bike that I wouldn’t be able to see in the flesh before handing over the cash so any decision was based on half a dozen pictures and a handful of words from its seller .

Bridgestone Synergy Rb2

It didn’t look in bad condition in supplied pictures with just the normal amount of age related marks and associated wear and tear for a bike that is 20+ years old , all of its original equipment was still fitted which is always a bonus . So once we agreed an all in price that included carriage to me the deal was done and the excitement began.

Bridgestone Synergy rb2

 

There is always a bit of anticipation when receiving a bike sent via a courier as you never know how well the sender has packaged it up to help keep it undamaged during transit by the various transport companies and handlers . The seller was good to his word and packaged the bike with lots of large sized bubble wrap around all the components including the frame . So upon lifting the components out the box it was nice to see it all neatly wrapped up . Once out of the packing I placed the frame in my bike repair stand and started to rebuild it , which meant re fitting the front wheel , pedals , handlebars seat post and saddle .

Bridgestone Synergy rb2

I always like to re assemble the bike just to make sure there are no missing or unexpected damaged parts . The only thing that I noticed was the rear wheel was slightly out of true more than I would like but it should be an easy fix . Once a substitute rear wheel was slotted in place and the brakes were re set , I set off for a tentative ride around the cul de sac a few times just to give me an idea what or how the bike felt like . My initial reaction was good apart from a slightly sticky rear brake caliper or cable .

Bridgestone Synergy rb2

A few daily commutes were done with the bike to give me a better idea of what work was required to turn this into a useable bike , it also gave me time to dig out a set of red rimmed Veluta road wheels that have been hanging around for ages . A couple of early morning tinkering sessions soon had the following parts replaced; wheels and tyres , 130 mm stem swapped for a 90mm one , brake cables , brake calipers , chain and 28 – 12  cassette fitted , I also fitted a couple of bottle cages and a pump along with fitting one of my selle smp 209 lite saddles for comfort .

Bridgestone Synergy rb2

I also did some gentle polishing of the paintwork as I removed things to make it easier, this also helped with the general appearance of the bike as the original red and white paintwork was rather dull in places and soon came up with a bit of elbow grease. I have still got a lot of polishing to do but at least the bit that has been done has shown it should come up quite nicely .

Bridgestone Synergy rb2

 

So far I have done two days of commuting with all the mechanical changes done and it is a lot smoother to ride , it is my intention to try and get at least one or two 10+ mile loop rides done before I venture any further away from home on it .

Bridgestone Synergy rb2

 

The last two pictures were taken over the weekend where i used the bike for a nice 43 mile ride on the Saturday and a quick 23 miles on the Sunday its a fantastic bike and on these two rides my average speed was 1 mph higher than normal , ok i now the weather makes a bit of difference but so does a good bike .

 

All round Mercian joins the stable

When does an armchair become a racing car seat ?

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For my recently acquired Mercian it started to happen the moment I swapped the wide flat bars for a set of normal drop bars , this swap totally transformed this bike from being a very relaxed machine to one that has started to feel a bit more lively and responsive. The next stage would be to fit some narrower profile tyres of either 27” or 700c size . The actual geometry of the frame itself is more than likely the most limiting factor .

Mercian

As far as I was told by the original owner of this bike it was built to his specification by Mercian cycles of Derby at some point in the 1970’s . The things he specified were Prugnant professional lugs , a higher bottom bracket , increased brake drop , pump pegs on the drive side rear stay , top tube brake cable braze on’s are also offset to the drive side rather than being central , full rear stay wrap over , front wheel dynamo mount bracket and the fairly standard for the era lamp bracket boss on the drive side front fork blade .

Mercian Lucifer Baby Dynamo

Mercian Wrap over stay

His explanation for all these modifications was that he wanted a bike that he could use on weekend club rides , touring duties , road races and when need be any off roading that was required when out cycling . His reason for the pump pegs and top tube cable guides being offset to the drive side were so that when he carried the bike on his right shoulder he would not knock the pump of when lifting it up and the cable guides would not cause any cuts and lacerations to his hands when he was steadying the bike on his shoulder .

Mercian Rear Lamp

All the above modifications show how thoroughly this bike was thought about before any riding started and by listening to the previous owner it was used for loads of cycling and covered many a happy mile with him . At some point as far as I can tell the bike has been refinished as the Reynolds 531 decal clearly states renovated. When questioned the old boy had no recollection of this but when you get to 76 I feel you are allowed to forget some things . The condition of the paintwork is clearly a lot fresher than a 40+ year old bike would be if it had been used for most of its time .

Mercian 531 decal

A lot of the components date from the mid 1980’s i.e. the rear Suntour vx rear mechanism , Stronglight crankset and the lovely miche wheel hubs and the use of stainless spokes in both of the 27” wheels. A lot of the other added on bits are a lot earlier like the Simplex bottle cage , springring bell and the classically shaped Lucifer Baby dynamo and lighting set . The elderly gent told me how these were fitted to his previous bike a Maclean which sadly got destroyed when it was involved in a collision .

Mercian Spring Ring

So far the only work I have done is to swap the damaged and broken mudguards with a pair of much newer and better condition ones I had lying around in the garage. I then replaced the flat handlebar and stem set up for a set of alloy drops with a slightly shorter stem and a set of early Shimano 600 drilled brake levers and some new brake cables, some new pads are on order to be fitted once they arrive .

Mercian

At present I have covered just over 10 slow gentle commuting miles and once the brake pads have arrived and been fitted I will start using this bike on some longer and more arduous rides , then once I am happy with positioning of the bars I will be applying some black bar tape .

A memorable ride

It’s not every day I cycle past an ex nuclear weapon site , but I did on Saturday 18th March 2017. The best thing about it is I knew there was a disused World War 2 American aerodrome near to the village of Harrington , but what I didn’t know was until the early 1960’s it was an active base that housed Thor nuclear weapons that were the UK’s main nuclear deterrent at the time. I have cycled past the Harrington Airfield Memorial site on the Lamport to Harrington road many times but have never taken the time to actually stop and have a look at it like I did on this ride .

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I also added an extra 7 mile loop to one of my normal routes by turning right just as I entered the little hamlet of Orton that took me down to the A6 turning on the A14 by Rothwell once over the A14 I turned towards Harrington straight into a head wind and with a slight gradient the next couple of miles were a bit slower than the previous 15 miles had been .

harrington

 

Harrington was still asleep as I rode through but then most villages are at 6.45am on a Saturday morning. Once clear of the village I noticed a turning right to Kelmarsh and noted that as a loop for another day . I carried on across the A14 and noticed the turning off that would take you directly to the Carpetbagger Aviation Museum which is open between Easter and October according to the little sign outside .

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I carried on and joined my normal route just before the war memorial site where I stopped to have a look and take some pictures . Once back on the Terry Dolan bike I headed off towards Draughton and then Lamport , Scaldwell , Holcot , Moulton ,Overstone,Sywell ,Mears Ashby ,Earls Barton ,Great Doddington and back into Wellingborough .

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As mentioned earlier this ride was done on my recently acquired Kinesis tubed Terry Dolan from around the year 2000.  It looks like it has had an easyish life prior to me getting hold of it . It’s finished in a nice wine shade of red with a fantastic looking set of chunky alloy forks and a very free rolling set of Gipiemme Quattro wheels that have just been fitted with a new set of Vittorio Rubino tyres .

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Dolan

 

The longest ride I have done on this bike previously was just over 30 miles and I wanted to cover a minimum of 40 miles on this ride so I could get a true feeling of the bike and all of its components before deciding what its future will be . So far I feel it’s a very nice bike to ride and all its mixture of shimano components work well together to provide a very capable bike indeed . It’s a shame it hasn’t got proper mudguard mounting points but a set of clip ons do the job when its being used in dry to slightly damp conditions as I have enough other bikes fitted with full guards .

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Over the next couple of weeks weather permitting I would like to do at least one more 40+ mile ride on this machine then I will make decision on its future .