Orange is the Colour For Me

For some unknown reason I have a weakness for orange coloured road bikes.



Not sure why, because if I was asked I would normally say red is my favourite colour.



I can just about remember owning a Holdsworth road bike in the team colours of orange and blue when I was a teenager. Please do not ask what model it was as I would not know , I vaguely remember it having a Reynolds sticker of some sort on it .



Up to date this is only the fourth orange coloured bike I have owned as you don’t see too many around that fall within my budget . The Holdsworth was my first one, the second was my R.E.W Reynolds of Northampton that I owned approximately 6 years ago , I bought it as a 3 speed sturmey arched equipped bike that was converted to a single speed bike and sold to somebody in Brighton if I remember rightly a few months later .



Next along was one of my all-time favourite bikes I have ever owned a mid-90’s BH road bike which I think looked a million dollars , rode very well and never missed a beat in all the times and miles I rode it . For some strange reason I decided to sell it about 5 years ago to a lucky Oxfordshire cyclist .

B H Stevlo


Last week I spotted this G.E.R Lomas of Oxford road bike and straight away I liked the look of it. So I made the normal enquiries making sure


G.E.R Lomas

that the seat post was free to adjust up and down ok and I also asked if the wheel rims were steel or alloy ? The seller replied yes to the seat post  and that the rims were steel ones which deflated me a bit , but I decided I would make an offer and see what happens . The seller accepted the offer and a collection date and time was agreed . Upon collection before handing the cash over I checked that the seat post was actually free good job I did as the seller then admitted that he hadn’t checked it earlier when I asked him ! Thankfully it was and my payment was handed over and the bike was mine to take home and enjoy .



G.E.R. Lomas


On my first day time inspection I couldn’t help but notice how bright and clean the 27” wheel rims were and upon closer inspection I could see they were clearly marked up as Rigida and Alloy. The brake track didn’t look like they had covered many miles at all, the front hub looks to be a Strongy item whilst the rear is an Atom flip flop unit , tyres are Schwalbe which seem to be in good shape and not very old .



G.E.R Lomas


The gearing is a mix of Silstar ,Suntour and Shimano components but it all seems to work well enough in the 12 miles I have ridden it so far . The brakes are Weinmann centre pull units fitted with Koolstop grey brake pads to improve braking performance . The cables need replacing and the rear pads need to be reset to try and cure the squealing they omit when applied .  I also noticed that the Weinmann brake levers still had the beige hoods and blade covers fitted which is quite rare these days .



G.E.R Lomas

There are no signs of what tubing was used in the construction of the frame but the seat post seems to measure 27.1 which should be either 27 or 27.2 mm when checked more accurately with post removed from the frame and cleaned up.  That points to Reynolds 531 which is what I was hoping for . The stem is a GB unit with slightly rusty quill bolt , no idea on the bars yet as I need to remove the red sponge tubes , rather hoping they will be GB Maes units .



G.E.R Lomas


The paintwork should polish up nicely and the few marks all add to the character of the bike .I am looking forward to getting some miles in on this bike and apart from replacing the brake cables and cleaning the pads up and servicing the bottom bracket and headset bearings the only other thing I want to do is replace the guards with either a set of black or white blumel guards .

As i sit here doing this blog i have just remembered i had not mentioned two other orange bikes one being the below Soens of Liverpool road bike shown before any work was carried out  and the other was a nice Pollard

Jim Soens


Winter Bike waffles

As winter approaches I always find it very interesting how people often discuss on the various cycling forums how they need a specific bike for winter use .

Some of these discussions centre around people buying brand new bikes that have mudguard mounting points front and rear , others want the option of having wider tyres fitted whereas others want disc brakes, the list goes on and on .


To me the idea of a winter bike is no different to any other retro road bike I ride throughout the year apart from being able to fit full length guards front and rear to help me try and keep as dry as possible when it’s raining  whilst I am out riding . Whilst my old faithful Marin Bear Valley is up to the job of doing the daily commutes, it would not be my first choice of bike for doing a few more miles on , mainly down to the gearing fitted which normally means I end up with my legs doing a silly cadence speed without actually obtaining a good average mph figure .

 Marin Bear Valley

Over the last few years I have tended to keep one bike with guards fitted front and rear at all times. Last years machine was the blue Soen’s road bike and the year before it the Pollard specialite. The current bike this year is the blue R.E.W. Reynolds machine which seems to be relishing the job of being ridden in all conditions .


Some people tend to look at cyclo cross bikes as the answer for their winter commuting bikes and I must admit on paper they do look ideal , i.e. large clearances so wider tyres can be fitted and they are normally geared somewhere between a road bike and a mountain bike and a lot of the newer ones are being supplied with disc brakes for good all round braking performance and other ones are often fitted with cantilever or vee brakes due to extra clearance required for wider tyres .


A lot of people also tend to replace their road bikes half way through the season for the latest models and retain their previous bike for when the winter comes round, then adapt it as best as possible for winter use by fitting clip on guards like sks race blades. Other people go and buy an older style steel bike just to do their winter commuting on and then sell it on once the winter months have gone thus saving their Sunday best bike for the dry weather as much as possible,  we can all get caught mid ride by a rain shower that appears out of the blue .

 Ridley xbow

At the moment I have no intention of selling the blue R.E.W , as it was always earmarked to be my winter commuter , waiting in the wings I have a slightly scruffy Raleigh type 8806 frameset that was originally sold as a winter training frame . My intention for this is to build it up as a cheap single speed bike that would be ideal in the winter months ahead as there are less moving components to go wrong or get affected by the winter weather .


So if anybody fancies a project act quick as once the Lee Cooper “Bromwich” is finished I will be starting on the build process with most of the parts left over from the sale of my Aende time trial frame that I had built in single speed mode .

 Raleigh Type 8806

Enjoy your winter riding.

Sales Frustration

Why do I get so frustrated every so often?


I shall tell you why…… , on a regular basis I get an e mail from an on line division of a well-known Cycle shop based in the UK.

I don’t always go through the special offers but quite often I do just to see what is on offer.

So today when the e mail notification turned up in my in box I clicked the link to see what deals they had on Guards. The 3 sets that fitted the bill for colour and size were surprise surprise non stock items …it’s no wonder they were so cheap as nobody would be able to take advantage of such a good offer . This seems to be the norm for this web site .

Now I could do a website offering bits and bobs cheap and then mark them all out of stock when customers want to order them but that seems totally the wrong way to do business to me , but loads of retailers get away with it all the time .

So for today only I am offering a brand new “ What’s it Flopper” for the remarkable special price of £1.99 and that is an amazing 48% saving off the normal retail price , but be quick as stock is very very limited !!!

A quick Review

Well after commuting for the last 3 days on a Claud Butler Legend Hybrid/Trekking bike instead of my normal choice ie a retro road bike , I can honestly say I have quite enjoyed the experience .

Claud Butler Legand

Day one’s ride was hard going on first commute mainly down to the excess of other cycle/footpath users, as I left home at about the same time as the local school children did to get in to school for 8.45am along with associated parents and dog walkers. The 3 other commutes on Monday were better as there were a lot less people about on the paths . I found myself leaning forward on to the handlebars instead of relaxing and enjoying the ride . The only issue with the bike was an irritating clicking noise coming from around the crankset/bottom bracket area and an occasional vibration rattle coming from the front mud guards .

Claud Butler Legand

The clicking noise turned out to be a small sticky red plastic label that was attached between the outer ring of the crankset and the chain guard , upon removal of said label it quite plainly said “ Remove before use” so a few years afterwards it was safely removed and so was an irritating clicking noise . The mud guard vibration was also sorted by tightening the left hand front stay , both of these issues made Tuesdays commuting a lot more pleasurable plus the fact I left home slightly earlier to avoid all the foot traffic .

Along with a slight rotation of the handlebars which moved the bars forward a few cm’s but just enough to feel the difference Tuesdays commuting was quite pleasurable as I was more relaxed in my riding position and overall manner . I even found myself riding in a cruising style rather than an aggressive manner .

The return to work ride after dinner on Tuesday gave me my first scalping of another commuter on an old BSO Mtb complete with red rusty chain that squeaked and squawked with every rotation of the crank , I felt like stopping him and advising him to apply some lubrication every so often to his chain but decided in the end not to bother as he seemed more than happy .

An early morning session on Wednesday with a couple of wet wipes has removed a lot of the dust and cobwebs that the bike was covered in when I first got the bike. Not sure that it will help but at least it looks cleaner as I ride along for people to admire . I also swapped the factory fitted saddle for my spare Selle smp comfort saddle for a more cushioned ride .

Claud Butler Legand 008

If I was keeping this bike what changes would I make? I think the only change would be to replace the 700c x 42 “Camel” branded tyres for some better quality 700 x 32c tyres so that the bike would roll along with a bit less drag from the existing tyres which would also help with the overall riding experience . All in all it’s a nice easy to ride basic commuting bike that seems to be well made and although it looks HUGE, it is not that heavy as the frame is 6061 grade Alloy .

I am not sure if I will see the end of the week out using this bike or whether I will revert back to one of my retro roadies tomorrow. I have not decided , but it has made me realize it has been very nice using a nice clean modern bike rather than one of my normal retro older style road bikes

Jim Soens

For Sale Latest Offering

A very lightly used Claud Butler legand that I have taken in exchange on a road bike i sold .

Claud Butler Legand
21″ sized frame very upright style , Trekking Geometry . Alloy 7005 tubing with suntour suspension fr forks .

Full shimano gear set with thumb control 24 speed Acera brifters all operational , Shimano TX71 alloy cranks . tektro alloy V brakes for extra stopping power . Alloy 700c rimmed wheels with quick release , original tyres with some cracking to side walls .

Claud Butler Legand

Alloy adjustable quill style stem with riser style bars for comfort , suspension seat post and Selle Bassano cushioned saddle .

Claud Butler Legand

As can be seen in pics it needs a dusting due to the little amount of use it has seen .

Rear pannier rack , fulll fr and rr guards make this an excellent touring or commuting bike .

Claud Butler Legand

Asking £115 collected from Wellingborough NN8 Postcode


Is it me or are there a shortage of smaller sized Vintage road bikes ?

All I have seen for sale over the last few weeks on the internet, that I like the look of have either been 23” or 58cm sized frames or above.

For whatever reason I know from experience that I can normally get away with just being able to ride up to 23.5” or 59cm sized framed bikes more so if 27” wheeled machines .

My 2nd Ian May

My buying and selling of a bike is normally limited to retro road bikes from the 70’s & 80’s with the occasional newer machine joining the stock list , so that limits my choice for fresh stock to start with never mind being limited to size restrictions as well .

In an ideal world I think a 21.5” or 22.5” framed bike would be best for me , out of my current collection of bikes both of my Soens fall in to that size area and I find both of those machine extremely comfy and pleasurable to ride . The inch difference can make a huge difference in level of comfort for the rider , some people are always saying to me buy smaller sized frames and bring saddle stem up to compensate along with a longer stem to push the bars away to help with the reach issue . These are both true and I have tried them both a couple of times and yes it does work , but sometimes they can make the bike look a bit silly .


I can understand why bikes built to an individual customers needs are a lot more expensive when compared to an off the peg machine. However, I am guessing that the extra costs are offset in terms of comfort level in riding a bike that is built to suit rather than riding a bike that is adjusted to suit . I would also think that a lot of these made to measure machines change hands a lot cheaper than on the 2nd hand market than they should do as well . It must be nice being able to specify what levels of equipment you want fitted never mind choosing colour schemes .

Roy Thame

Ok most new off the peg bikes offer a couple of choices in colour schemes and associated finishing kit , firms like Trek offer the choice of being able to customize a complete bike build but only on a limited range of top end models . I have had a couple of plays on the Trek systems, and boy, you can have some weird colour schemes that would certainly make your bike more individual .It wasn’t long ago that the only choice you had on tyres were black or tan side walls and tread pattern was always black across the complete area. Whereas now you can have complete coloured tyres or just coloured side walls , loads of different styles of handlebar tape and coloured saddles which can all make your bike more individual than the one next door.

The Difference

I tend to ride the same basic route and depending on the actual distance I am setting out to do depends on where I either turn off or carry straight on .

Somebody asked me over the weekend to time my Sunday am 13 mile ride to see if I was quicker or slower than normal due to the bike I was using !

My intended mount was my Motobecane Super Mirage , normal time for this ride is approx 50 – 52 mins which I am more than happy with no matter which bike I ride along this route . I set off at 06.45 am by the cooker digital display and upon return it was reading 07.37 am so 52 mins for ride is about right .

I actually thought it would be a bit of a slower ride due to the following reasons: bike was equipped with big clunky flat pedals so no cages or clips , a lot wider and more padded saddle than I normally ride with , down tube mounted non indexed gear levers and riding into a head wind for 2 of the last 3 miles and I was riding a semi gas pipe frame rather than a nice Reynolds 531 or Columbus tubed frameset so had an extra 1 or 2kg’s to push around .

Motobecane Mirage

I was surprised in one respect but must admit not in others as I have ridden the same route for over a year now using a variety of bikes from single speed machines to 21+ geared bikes and always seem to be about the same time . One day I will have to try out a carbon fandango machine to see how much quicker I would actually be .

BH Carbon Road Bike

All of my rides are done with no tracking or gps equipped devices hence why I check the cooker clock before and after my ride , I must admit one bike does have a trip recorder fitted but purely for checking distance compared to what Google map says for same route . I also try and ride at a pace that I am comfortable with rather than going hell for leather . The same goes for my attire no lycra in sight .

Soon I shall be able to get my Sunday best Ian May out and give that a blast round and see what happens , now I am not expecting it to be much if any quicker at all but let’s just say it will be a nice ride that should be able to put a smile on my face , as do most of my rides . My cycling is done for exercise and a bit of relaxation from the day to day stresses of normal life .

My First Ian May