Woodrup Track frame hits the tarmac

Late in 2015 for some strange reason I took one look at this Woodrup track frame and decided that I would throw a low cheeky offer in and eventually this offer was accepted .

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On initial inspection I had thought that the original paint & chromework could be salvaged but it soon became clear to me that both were beyond that point .In January 2016 I contacted Lee Cooper cycles of Coventry re having it refinished if possible and left it with him for as long as he needed it .

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Roll forward to July 2018 and I finally decided to get this frame set out of hibernation and get it built up and back on the road , I have tried to go for period parts where poss and apart from the rear wheel rim I don’t think it’s turned out too bad in all fairness . Its running a 42 x 18 freewheel and a 17 tooth fixed sprocket on the other side , I have had to lose the original Cinelli pista bars as I could not find a stem of the right length and clamp size .

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After a few little niggles that were quickly sorted I started to use it for a couple of daily work commutes which went well enough , I then decided to use it for my Saturday am 2 hr ride so I could get a better feel for it , it managed fine and even climbed up a couple of local fairly steepish hills . I can’t say the 29 miles were trouble free as I was subject to a puncture 3 miles from home .

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My 4th Mercian

Well late in 2016 I set my yearly target at 4700 miles for 2017.

 

This works out at an average of 391.66 miles per month , with 20 days gone I have covered less than 170 miles and with a frost forecast for the next few nights it doesn’t stand a lot of chance of going up by much at all , as I don’t enjoy cycling with frost or ice on the roads .

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Dashboard showing temp

 

I can hear you all shouting and telling me to man up and ride no matter what , I don’t mind the rain and cold but just not riding when frosty , icy or snow is laying and that is it . Well it’s way too early to start worrying about a recovery plan to get my target back on track so will just carry on doing whatever miles I do and worry about it in November and December if I am still behind target .

 

 

The most annoying thing about it is that I have a couple of new to me bikes that I want to get out on and see what they ride like . One of them is a 1989 built to order Mercian King of Mercia road bike that I obtained from its original owner as he no longer felt it was the bike he wanted anymore . It was used regularly until 2005 and since then it has had very little if any use at all . The surprising thing about it is how immaculate a condition it still is in with just a couple of small areas that show a bit of wear .

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Mercian King of Mercia

 

The frame and fork stampings confirm that they are a matching pair , all the running gear is from the same era and is as per the original supply apart from the rear wheel which got destroyed at some point in 2005 when it was involved in an accident . The group set is Shimano 600 Tricolour set which still looks as good as the day it first hit the road and operates as smoothly as you would expect it to , it even has the aero seat post that are getting quite rare this day and age .

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Mercian King of Mercia

It also has a rather different stem fitted that has a screw on cap that you need to remove to enable adjustment to be made to either the height and angle of the bars , it’s the first time I have seen one of these stems never mind used one , it could be a bit shorter for my liking but it will be fine I should think .

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Mercian King of Mercia

 

The original owner had it built to a non-touring specification so limited clearance and no mudguard or rack mounting points with over bottom bracket cable guides and 2 sets of bottle cage mounts in Reynolds 653 tubing. Finished in a classy dark green paintwork with a browny gold seat tube that almost looks as good as new .

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Mercian king of Mercia

 

This is the 4 th Mercian I have owned over the years and each of them have been purchased from the original owners . So far this one has only covered about 10 miles in my ownership since being reassembled by my local family owned bike shop last week . Once the less frosty weather arrives I will be using this on the dry days seeing as no guards are fitted .

Green Mercian

I need to swap the pedals over to some Shimano spd clip in ones and then its ready to go as since these pictures were taken I have already swapped the saddle over to a Selle smp one as is normal for me , ok I am sure the purists will say it should have a Brooks b17 fitted instead .

Brooks Professional

When you look closely at the frame you can see why Mercian earn their reputation as one of the uk’s top framebuilders .

Experience’s Seen

Over the years what other people do to their bikes has never ceased to amaze me .

 

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Pollard

 

One of my more recent purchases has been converted from a geared set up to a single speed one. Once the rear quick release was unreleased it became apparent that the rear wheel hadn’t been spaced to suit rear wheel drop outs , so a quick undo of the cone locking nuts and the insertion of some washers and hey presto the wheel now sits nicely into the rear drop outs rather than wobbling about in there .

 

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Bromwich Mixte

 

Other things have been the insertion of coke can shims on seat posts when the correct sized ones are available off the shelf at your local bike shop. I have even seen electrical cable joining blocks holding two halves of a brake cable together which is a crazy thing to do when new cables are so cheap and readily available .

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Claud Butler Sierra

 

 

We won’t touch on the subject of tyres and the condition some of them have been in either, again you can pick up new decent quality tyres at what I think are reasonable prices . I know all the above add up pound note wise but I feel a few quid spent making a bike safer on the road and more presentable is definitely worthwhile . I don’t mind if it’s a bike that I know has been sat unused for a while , but when its one that is in use at the time of my enquiry then it’s a different thing in my eye .

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Continental TourRIDE

 

 

Unless I state otherwise all the bikes I sell are ridden by me for at least 100 miles to make sure that I am happy . I can put my hand on my heart and say there should be no issues with the bike for its new owner .

Dunelt 1950’s Road Bike

Some time back in 2012 I answered an advert for a 1950’s Gents Racing bike for sale at a bargain price.

 

Once I spoke to the elderly gentleman who was selling it we agreed a time for me to come over and view the bike .

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1950’s Dunelt

 

 

I was met by a gent in his late 80’s who was being told by all his family to give up cycling and was therefore selling his owned from new bike that he thought he bought sometime in the 1950’s with his first wage packet . He apologized for the fact that it no longer had a lot of its original parts fitted as he had worn them out over the years and had last replaced the vast majority in the late 70’s . He quite happily told me it was a Dunelt bike but was unsure of the exact model but he knew it was Reynolds 531 tubing as he paid a bit extra for this over the standard tubing .

 

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Dunelt

Working from memory the wheels were the concave weinmann units laced on to maillard hubs and a nice wide range cassette unit and a fairly modern crankset , but things like bars and stem were all original, looking at the pictures I founds on my one drive over the Christmas / new year period I would say they were later additions . Each time he overhauled it he also hand painted it a different colour bless him and couldn’t remember what the original colour was or if it was under all the recoats he had done .

 

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Dunelt

A quick ride around the block and an exchange of some hard earned cash and the machine was being loaded into the back of my car along with a box of bits and bobs that he had mainly used for keeping his pride and joy on the road including a very heavy wheel alignment jig .

 

After a couple of more short trips around the block it was time to change the tyres and brake cables and start putting some more miles on this great old bike , next job was to make it a bit lighter by removing the steel front and rear racks that were fitted . The bike was used mainly for my daily commuting miles and was also taken on holiday for some gentle rides along the seafront at Burnham On Sea .

 

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Dunelt

 

I had always felt it was rather a shame that such a great bike with nice detailing around the lugs and other areas didn’t have a nicer paint finish , so I made the rash decision to have it bead blasted and powder coated and then re assembled . My then local powder coater’s were only offering a very bright shade of orange for anything quicker than a 3 or 4 week turnaround so that is what I went with .

 

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Dunelt

Upon collection I was well impressed with the quality of the workmanship done and as instructed by them placed it up in the loft to harden up before getting it out again as and when required . During this hardening time I was offered a rather nice Mercian bike and to make ends meet I decided to sell the Dunelt to offset the cost of the Mercian a bit , so it was reluctantly sold via e bay and never to be seen again .

 

If i hadn’t been looking at my newly re discovered one drive it would never have crossed my mind at all , and looking at the detailing again I hope somebody has built it up and enjoyed riding it as much as I and the original owner did all those years ago .

 

To this day I keep an eye out for another Dunelt but they don’t crop up very often and are mainly ladies town bikes .

Why not use an 80 – 90’s Mtb as your commuter

In my mind late 80’s and early 90’s MTBs make ideal commuting bikes for loads of various reasons .

 

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Giant Terrago

 

A lot of them were available with good quality tubesets ie various grades of Tange and Reynolds spring to mind straight away never mind early 4130 cro mo that came along a bit later . All of these should provide a decent quality ride .

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Most of them won’t have heavy suspension either which I always feel to be totally pointless unless you are hurtling down a bumpy dirt track instead of just trundling along a paved cycle path on your way to the office .

 

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Giant Terrago

 

The majority will have at least 18 speeds and there is a good bet that the small “ Granny Ring ” won’t have seen any or had very little useage in its life time and if you are lucky they will be paddle controlled rather than twist gripped . A lot of them came with tried and tested shimano running gear as well .

 

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R.E.W Reynolds

 

The first modification to make is to throw the big fat knobbly tyres away and fit some more road friendly tyres that won’t howl once you reach a certain speed like the big open treaded knobbly ones will do . The other advantage of road friendly tyres is that they are a lot easier to keep rolling along than a set of knobbly’s. The vast if not all will be running on 26” wheels so loads of choice should new rims be required .

Marin

 

Another strong point is the Cantilever braking systems are normally fairly strong in standard format never mind with the adoption of some newer style brake pads like Kool stop. Okay they won’t give you the stopping power of a set of modern disc brakes but they will do the job well enough with some general servicing and up keep .

Marin Bear Valley

 

Most of the other items like seat posts, stems and bars will be alloy items not steel so again a lot lighter than their steel cousins . Some makers also did some of these components with nice colours rather than the plain old alloy or black finish . People like Girvin offered a quill stem with some suspension built in as well , these are quite sort after today .

 

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Girvin Flex Stem

 

So all in all there is no need to go and buy a brand new bike just for commuting just keep an eye out for local sales of decent quality 80 & 90’s Mtb’s and save yourself some money as well.

2016 So far

 

It’s no wonder my garage is full when I look at the list below of what I have bought during 2016 , the only good thing is that 65% have also been sold during 2016 along with a few others I purchased in 2015 .

 

The ones that I have not sold are either in use or in the  “awaiting work” corner of the garage . As can be seen in the list below it’s been a diverse year for sure, quite a few out and out touring style bikes and a few non road bikes just for a bit of variety and a fair few more modern than normal machines as well .

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Giant Terrago

A few of them have been a pleasure to own and ride, others have been just a means to an end so to speak , whilst some have been a real disappointment . The biggest disappointment must have been the Planet X pro carbon. It had all the reasons to be a long term keeper for sure but it ended up spending less than 2 weeks in the garage before being sold on due to the amount of noise it emitted as I rode along on anything less than billiard table smooth tarmac and as we all know there are not that many smooth roads in the United Kingdom .

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Wester Ross

The highlights for 2016 are harder to decide, it was certainly a pleasurable thing to have owned and ridden one of the 477 Wester Ross’ ever made. Other notable bikes have to include the 1950’s Pollard which was a real delight to own for a few months before selling it on to a friend of the Pollard family who now has the largest collection of Pollards . The Simoncini that arrived in June is another high point in the year , having been looking for one for a few years it was nice to finally get one just a shame it was a bit on the larger side of rideable but for the moment it’s in the keeping section and I keep thinking about updating the gearing system to include sti’s .

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Simoncini

The bike that I think I have done the most miles on in 2016 is either my long term keeper red Ian May or the Ian May that turned up in June both of which have covered close to 500+ miles each . Whereas the Carrera Virtuoso that turned up in November only did 1 lap of the cul de sac i.e. less than a mile before being sold  .

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So with less than 15 days to go before the end of 2016 I doubt there will be any or many more arrivals but you never know ……

 

January =  Peugeot savoie, Genesis flyer and Peugeot Professional

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Peugeot Professional

Febuary = Wester Ross and  Raleigh royal

 

March = 1950’s Raleigh Roadster

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Raleigh Roadster

April  = Pollard & Webster by Lee cooper frameset

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Pollard

May = No New Arrivals

 

June = Simoncini & Ian May

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Ian May 4th

July = Mans & Ladies Bromwich & Sigma

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Bromwich Mixte

August = R.E.W Reynolds & Giant terrago mtb

 

September = Pennine , Lee cooper frame & Lomas

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G.E.R Lomas

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Pennine Italia

 

October = Specialized allez , Planet x pro carbon & Puch Mirage

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Planet x Pro Carbon

November =  Claud Butler Odeyssey , Trek 1.1, Carrera Virtuoso ,Genesis cdf & Trek 400

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Genesis cdf

December =  Neutron frameset & GT Outpost Trail mtb

28 bikes in and 18 of them sold

A French wind blows in

Today was the first time I have used the recently acquired Puch Mistral se for any more than a quick ride around the block .

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Puch Mistral se

 

It’s been a long time getting ready for use for various reasons the main one being the ongoing struggle to remove the crankset off the bottom bracket on the drive side. It refused to budge using an extractor and ended up stripping the threads on the crankset in the process , after trying a small bearing puller it was still stuck fast . I ended up removing the bottom bracket and taking that side out whilst still attached to the shaft .

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Puch Mistral se

 

Even now after having copious amounts of release spray left to soak it has not been parted from the shaft . It was annoying that I couldn’t re use the original Shimano Golden Arrow crankset as the rest of the groupset is complete even down to the hubs . This was all original equipment according to what I can find on the internet . The original fitment Weinmann 906 tubular wheelset  has also not been re used and has been replaced by a later set of Shimano Exage hubs that are laced to a set of Campagnola Berlin rims .

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Puch Mistral se

 

The original decals are all intact along with the pearlescent white paintwork which is in very nice clean condition and has had a very light polish to try and bring the paintwork back to life . The tubing is Reynolds 501 main tubes with Puch’s own 2500 material forks so all in all a fairly quality frameset right down to the slotted design on the underside of the bottom bracket shell .

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Puch Mistral se

The bike came to me with original white bar tape and moth eaten brown brake lever hoods still in place , unfortunately the hoods fell apart the moment I touched them whilst renewing the brake cables . The genuine gear cables had a nice layer of service rust so these were replaced with some nice stainless ones, the original Shimano brake pads were also replaced at the same time . The original chain has  suffered with years of no use and is awaiting replacement .

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Puch Mistral se

The initial test ride around the local roads went well and felt quite responsive with a nice stiff feeling frame . I am looking forward to watching the test miles go by on this classic machine . It might be kept as my winter road bike if I can graft a set of full guards on with some P clips as no eye fittings are included on the frame .