Singled out

On Monday and Tuesday this week I reunited myself with my single speed Pollard and it made me realise again why people like single speed bikes .



Pollard Single Speed

It has also made me think that I need to get my early 1970’s Woodrup track frame out of the loft and get it built up soon . It’s been sat in our loft space since being refinished earlier in the year so frame wise it’s all ready to go . My plan was always to build this up with a fixed gear and this has not changed . I have a 42 toothed crankset ready to be fitted along with the original Campagnola Pista bottom bracket that I removed from the frame when it went away for refinishing .




I have a donor rear hub that is currently laced on to a sprint rim and I also have a clincher rim to replace it so I will need to get that built up. Unfortunately I don’t have a matching front wheel so I will run odd wheels but both will be 700c size . When the frame was refinished I had the original rear brake bridge replaced with one that allows me to fit a brake caliper so at least now I can fit front and rear brake calipers .


Once this is built up it will mean that I have 3 single speed bikes in my fleet as I also have a Lee Cooper framed one and with the possibility of another Lee Cooper frame due soon .


This will be my second dabble into riding fixed gear the first was a few years ago , so a few short test rides will be required to get me in to the swing of things before I go blazing off into the sunset on it .


Bromwich Mixte

Mrs B is ready for test miles and rides .

Since acquiring the pair of Bromwich bikes which have spent their whole life together I have carried out the following work on the ladies mixte bike: cleaned and re greased the bottom bracket , headset and front wheel bearings , replaced all the brake and gear inner and outer cables and swapped the original 27 x 1 “1/4 tyres for a pr of more useable ones .


Bromwich Mixte

So far a couple of short test rides around the cul de sac have been completed so will start doing a few longer loops around the local estate roads and if all goes ok will use it a few times on my daily commutes .

I have always thought that Ladies mixte style frames have a certain quaint look about them compared to the more common ladies loop frames that you see around .  And strangely enough I think they look better with flat or swept back bars rather than drop bars .


Bromwich Mixte

This one has a very nice and simple set up ie only 5 speed , steel wheels with the rear hub being a flip flop item, crank but does have alloy bars , stem and seat pin . The paintwork has quite a bit of age related patina but nothing nasty at all, some of the decals have suffered over the years but they are there . The green is a nice bright shade and certainly stands out from the crowd of normal colours you see .


Bromwich Mixte

There is a certain style to the twin bars that run between the headstock and seat tube and on to the rear drop outs , from the exit points on the headstock lug and the support lugs where they pass either side of the seat tube . I often wonder if this makes a mixte frame more stable compared to a conventional ladies frame , I understand the’re not as strong as a gents frame with a conventional cross bar .


Bromwich Mixte

I am also surprised that you don’t see more of them being used by cyclist’s of either sex who suffer with getting there leg over a conventional cross bar down to either medical or age related issues . The main reason I don’t use them is that they are quite a bit shorter in reach than a man’s bike and when fitted with a longer stem to increase the reach they seem to lose some of their chic look to me , which is a shame .

My local bike shop mechanic always tells me that the mixte design enables a sack of potatoes to be rested on the two tubes !!! Not sure how true that actually is and can you imagine riding a bike with an extra 25kg rested on the frame that low down !!

Mr and Mrs Bromwich

When I was told about this pair of Tom Bromwich bikes I was on my way up the A14 quicker than you can say Cantona for England Manager .



I collected both genuine late 78/9 machines from the original owners son in law . The only difference is that the mans is a 21 1/2″whilst the ladies is a 20″ sized frame . Both are in clean original condition . Chromed steel rims with a flip flop hub , 26.4 dia post so poss Reynolds tubing , nicklin cranks , huret mechanism and levers . Gents frame no is 2409 whilst the ladies is 432 .



As soon as I got them home I pumped up the tyres and just had to take them both for a little ride, they are both very smooth considering they have not been used for 10+ years .



Initial inspection revealed both machine would need all bearings to be stripped and cleaned with some fresh grease , the wheel rims will need a gentle bit of work with the wire wool to remove the light rusting and I should think new tyres will be required as the side walls are cracked .



Well, work started yesterday 23/07/16 on the ladies bike by stripping the bottom bracket down which all came apart an awful lot easier than I expected especially with my 50p car boot spanner , neither of the cups were seized and both came out easily and revealed a nice TDC 69 crank spindle with traces of dirty grease in the cups and on the bearings as to be expected. They look like they will clean up nicely .




Next job is to clean up the Nicklin crank and then refit the whole lot and move on to the headset . Before doing the wheel bearings and finishing off with some new cables and tyres if required .

Year to date update

Well it’s June 2016 already and we are fast approaching the half way point in the year , so I thought I would add up all my monthly miles so far and see how I am doing against my yearly target of 4000 miles .

At the end of May 2016 I have recorded a total of 1717 miles which gives me a monthly average of 343 miles with an all time high of 551 recorded in the month of May 2016 . All these miles have been done on steel framed bikes without a touch of alloy or carbon in sight , some have been done on a single speed bike whilst others have been done on a bike equipped with a 4 speed sturmey archer rear hub and the remainder have been done on various multi speed bikes .


Raleigh Roadster

Most of these miles have been completed on early morning rides either on a Saturday or Sunday whilst the vast majority of people are still tucked up in bed asleep . On average about 35 miles per week are covered going back and forwards to work via the local cycle paths . Most of my leisure rides are around the 30 mile length as I try not be out for more than 2 hours at a time so as not to eat in to family time .


Harry Quinn

 I am trying to build up to a 50 mile sunrise or sunset ride which is obviously going to take longer than my normal 2 hour riding time , I have almost finalised my route for this ride, I just have a couple of small changes and trials to do first . Once this route is finalised I will do a test ride to make sure it’s enjoyable and has the right feel to it .


From memory the following bikes have been used to cover these miles , mid 90’s Marin Bear Valley , 1950’S Raleigh Roadster , 1984 Wester Ross , 90’s Ian May , 60’s Harry Quinn , 90’s Dawes Galaxy Tour and a Lee Cooper that is only a couple of years old . So as you can see a real mixture of bikes but all steel framed . In the nest week or two a 80’s Peugoet 531 Super Competition will start doing some test miles along with a tidy Tony Butterworth road bike as I try to ensure all of my bikes get used rather than just being garage queens.


During some of these rides the following Gearbest products have been used


My Cycling Bucket List

How many of us have a bucket list ?

I keep thinking how I ought to have one just for my cycling activities , so here is my first go at what would be on there .

To complete a 50 mile ride that takes in either the sunrise or sunset

To own a nice original 50’s or 60’s road bike that can be used rather than just for looking at

R.E.W Reynolds

To do more of my own fettling and be less reliant on my local bike shop

R.E.W Reynolds bb1

To try and do on average 330 miles a month that will take me close to 4000 mile a year target

To do at least 2 rides of over 3 miles in total with my partner on our tandem per month

To keep supplying good quality retro road bikes to fellow cyclist’s


Wester Ross

To continue my search for nice Coventry and Merseyside built bikes that can join my ever expanding collection

lee Cooper

To have a new steel frame built to order for myself

To cycle in a foreign country

To compete in at least 1 sportive using a retro bike

To help and encourage others to use a bike for commuting on

So as you can see there is enough on there to be getting on with for the time being , but the most important thing is to keep on enjoying my tinkering and cycling activities on retro road bikes .

Action Camera’s

A few months ago I purchased a Garmin Virb action camera . And I must admit at times I nearly sent it straight back to the retailer I got it from as I really struggled with it at first .


Garmin virb

Now a few months down the line I feel it’s only fair to do a review on what I think to it and offer advise to those who are looking to purchase a similar action camera as others are available although I have not used them .


The first mistake I made was to run the camera on the underside of the the handlebars to keep it out of the way , but what I didn’t realise was that this would mean all my recordings would be filmed upside down , so when you play it back you either have to turn your monitor upside down or stand on your head to watch it the right way around . So to get round this I bought one of the universal mounts like this on the below link to GearBest’s site one  and then with the Garmin mount hey presto .


Garmin Virb

Once this was fitted I no longer had to do headstands just so I could rewatch my recordings . One of my other mistakes was to not realise that you need a memory card as well so one of those was purchased. So if you are working on a budget don’t forget to add enough to cover a mount kit and a memory card .


Ian May

There are loads of makes to choose from , the most popular ones seem to be Garmin and GoPro but just a quick look on Chinese firm GearBest’s web site shows there are loads more that are suitable with prices ranging from £35 to over £150 , so almost anyone should be able to find one that fits their budget . See link to the section offered .

B H Stevlo

I also think when using an action camera to record your cycling activities one looking forward and another looking behind you would not go amiss , and at the price GearBest charge its certainly do-able on a budget .


Review of Basecamp cycle lamp model bc-403

I was approached by Chinese Company, Gearbest,  a couple of weeks ago to do some reviews of the cycling bits they offer .

At first I was a bit sceptical, some people would say that’s just me but let’s be honest it’s not every day you get approached by an International Company to review some products .

One of the first things they asked me to review was a Basecamp BC-403 Cycle lamp. I had a quick look on line at the product and thought the dimensions quoted had to be wrong ie 3.90 x 2.4 x 3.20 cm for the light unit so imagine my surprise when opening the box it arrived in, it was actually that small . I was messaged on the 24/03/16 that both items were both in stock and ready for dispatch by DHL and that they would be delivered by 30/03/16 , sure enough the goods duly arrived on the 30/03/16 .


Basecamp cycle lamp model bc-403

Once I opened the package and looked at the light unit the more I realized this really was a small neat package and made all my other front lights look absolutely humongous , it also looks quite smart as well , machined from Aluminum Alloy with a nice push button on the rear to control the 4 modes with a series of green warning lights .


It has a rating of 1800 lumens via a Cree – l2 led unit with an 8 metre width of irradiation now what that means in the real world I don’t know  untiI I strap it via the supplied rubber rings that hoop around the built in loops on to one of my bikes and ride it in the dark and then I can report back .


The battery pack comes complete with a built in lead that joins up nice and snugly to the power lead on the rear of the light unit, it also comes with a carrying pouch which has a built in strap to enable you to attach it to your bike at the given location . The output of this power pack is rated at 6400 mA in total , again it will be interesting to see what the means in terms of how long it lasts in normal usage on the various modes . It also comes with a 2 pin charger plug and lead to recharge the power pack as and when required . The only down side is that the charging plug is not a uk standard item but luckily an old fashioned shaver adapter does the job .


I have mounted the lamp on the underside of the handlebars on my Lee Cooper single speed bike and have run the power feed along the top tube to the battery pack which I have managed to squeeze in my small saddle bag to help protect it from the elements .