Weekend ahead

Well it’s nearly the weekend and hopefully that will mean a couple of longer early morning rides.



Now the big question is which bike to use . This week has seen my old Marin Bear valley out on some commuting miles. No matter what I use this bike for it always seems to make me smile.


On the other hand it could be another couple of trips out on the yellow and red TEC machine instead.

1950’s Pollard Confirmed

I am sure a few of my blog readers will have already seen my Facebook post on Racing Bike Biggs682 facebook page about how my Pollard has been confirmed as either a 1954 or 1955 built machine .





Also confirmed was that it has Oscar Egg lugs, seat stays that are tapered at both ends, a frame number in the correct place and the right number of digits and like the vast majority of Pollards it was built with Reynolds 531 tubing . I was never in doubt it was a genuine Pollard but just wanted to get it direct from the horse’s mouth if possible so I contacted what I hoped was a gentleman that bought an ex Vic Clarke Pollard frameset from me a few years ago who is also in contact with Eddie Pollard, the son of William Pollard .


Pollard Fastback

Luckily enough my contact hadn’t changed his e mail address etc etc and he received my e mail and came back asking for some pictures showing the headstock and saddle clamp areas . Once these were forwarded to him he responded within 24 hours confirming the above and stated that it was well worth restoring . Now this puts me in a quandary as I don’t mind riding a bike that has loads of patina and shows its knocks and bruises with pride .



Sadly over the years a lot of the original parts have been replaced with newer ones and some of these were removed when I started its recommissioning a few months ago . When I picked it up it had a Custom crankset and a mixed set of wheels ie a 27” clincher type front wheel and a 700c tub and sprint rear wheel , these were replaced by a set of modern 27” alloy rimmed wheels and I managed to obtain a single Sugino crankset that was more in keeping than the Custom crank was .




I also swapped the original very short stem and bars over for a nice set of G.B Maes bars and a lugged stem to give me a better position on the bike , the original brake levers have been re fitted along with new cables . The only other original part as far as I am aware of is the domed Reynolds alloy seat post that looks to carry a 1951 date code .



So far I have ridden approx 120 miles on this set up and it rides nice enough but a fine tune here and there wouldn’t go amiss to aid smoothness , I wouldn’t mind keeping an eye out for a wider ratio rear cassette in either 5 or 6 speeds just to make hill climbing slightly easier than present .

I doubt very much that I will repaint the frame and rebuild with correct period parts as I don’t personally like that idea much as the time trying to track period parts down can be awfully long winded and then is it worth it in the long run .

Bikes and York

We spent a week in York not long ago on holiday so no cycling was involved .



York Minster

It’s a place none of us had been to before so we were unsure what to expect as we normally take seaside holidays , so having a week in an inland city was something new to all of us .


Although it was a family holiday I still find myself looking at any bikes I see and boy did I see a few in York. The vast majority would be what I call Dutch style bikes, then a good mix of mountain and hybrid machines with the occasional road bike and there was an even spread between newer and retro styles with a lot of the older retro bikes having been converted to either single or fixed gear .



Single speed Peugeot

I have a couple of single speed bikes in my collection and find them very easy to use especially for commuting duties where the majority of the route is fairly flat, once you start throwing in the odd hill or two I think the majority of cyclists would prefer to have a few extra gears to choose from .

lee Cooper

A single speed or fixed gear bike has a much less complicated drive chain ie two gears and a chain plus sometimes a tensioner whereas a multi geared bike can have a minimum of 3 gears , at least 1 mechanism and a chain never mind the complication of gear change levers . So they have far less bits to go wrong and wear out.


A lot of the bikes spotted in York were parked in one of the many parking areas scattered around the City , some of these machine looked in daily use whilst quite a few of them didn’t look like they had moved much in at least a couple of months . Most of the roads we used seemed to either have a dedicated cycle lane or shared access with buses and taxis . It looked a lot busier than my local inner town area so not ideal cycling in for sure and not something I would fancy doing too often . A lot of people seem to use the shared paths along the side of the river Ouse to get in and out of the city centre area .



Bike parking in York

In a  City like York the use of a single speed bike certainly makes a lot of sense to me as you don’t have to worry what gear you are in as you jostle with the traffic. As it’s a fairly flat place with no major hills to negotiate the choice of one or more extra gears would help, you also don’t have to worry about the mechanisms getting knocked about when padlocking your bike up to whatever you lean it up against .



Bike Parking In York

It also made me think how many of the bikes I spotted were peoples only bike or were they just their day to day workhorse whilst the Sunday best bike sits tucked away and only goes out to play in ideal conditions rather than having to be ridden no matter what the weather or terrain is .



Bike Parking in York

We did also spot on a couple of occasions York’s answer to the the Boris bikes and these looked to be available to hire from the main railway station for a fee starting at £10 for 2 hours along with a deposit and a picture id .

A good friend of mine asked me “Do you test your bikes after you have done repairs on them ?”



Simple reply is yes I do, no matter what work I have done , my normal routine after acquiring a new bike to me is if it’s safe to ride then give it a gentle ride around the block and try and do an evaluation of what work is required .
I normally start with replacing the inner and outer brake cables where required along with gear cables , tyres , inner tubes , brake pads along with overhauling the bottom bracket and headsets and hub rearing and any truing up of wheels if required . 


Continantal TourRIDE

As the majority of bikes I sell come to me after not being used for a few years there are not many that don’t need all the above doing just to make them safe to ride never mind anything else . Once the work has been done the testing process begins with a couple of gentle loops of a 1.5 mile circuit any required adjustments or further repairs are done and the testing process continues . Once I am happy on these short loops I do slightly longer loops till I feel confident enough to tackle one of my normal 12 miles loops after a couple of these have been completed without any issues the bike then moves across in to my riding fleet where it will be used for any number of 25+ mile rides till I have covered at least 75 – 100 miles without any reliability issues .



During the above process I also make the decision if the bike is to be a keeper or not, if not it is given another clean and then put up for sale .
So as you can see the vast majority of bikes I sell really are ready for the next adventure with their new owner , some bikes are sold as projects for other people who enjoy tinkering with bikes to do what they want to .

W & E Pollard

My Latest Pollard Find

Sometime during the evening of January the 22nd 2016 I sent a private message to a fellow forum member on retrobike in response to the following thread .


” Hello forum, I have for sale a Pollard racing bike – I believe it is a 60’s bike but I am not an expert. The bike was my fathers, but due to him going in a home I am having to clear his home. I believe frame,handlebars,brakes&leaver and wheels are original, but running gear not. The frame has a small dent in the top tube. I have taken a few pictures, but unfortunately can’t upload the picture. I have no idea what it’s worth, so PM if you would like further details, regards – ”


Being a Coventry kid I always keep an eye out for any Pollards that come up for sale and usually watch as the selling price goes skyward . I was lucky enough in this case to get in first . On receipt of a picture I was still interested and committed to the seller that I would take it as long as we could agree a fair price which we did without too much trouble .



The only issue if there was one, was the collection, but luckily the seller was based just outside Warwick and was prepared to hold on to it for me . Eventually the day came for me to go and collect the said bike , when I first saw it in the flesh I was more than happy, ok it had a few years worth of dirt and dust laying over the frame and the pair of mixed wheels it came with but underneath all of this I could see a nice bike with loads of history , I questioned the seller re its history but he only said it was his fathers race machine that had served him well through out its use .



Once home I could have a proper look around it and ok there was an awful lot of wear and tear related marking and scuffs but overall I could still see the nice bike trying to get out from underneath . My first job was to try and remove the saddle and seat post which came out quite easily compared to some others , next up was to slot a pr of wheels in the frame so I could manoeuvre it around easily . Once this was done it was wheeled away to its resting position in my garage till its turn came to be worked on .



Its turn emerged in mid June 2016 where my first job was to strip and service the bottom bracket closely followed by the headset , over the years most of the original equipment had been replaced by various parts from various years . The Sugino bottom bracket came apart easily enough and had very little sign of use so a quick clean and some fresh grease was all that was required . The headset also showed little wear and tear but void of any grease and all the bearings needed washing to remove the dried up coating they had . Whilst the fork was out I checked for any  number stampings but none were found .



I was kindly donated a rather nice 48 tooth Sugino single crankset so that i could run a 1 x 6 gear system using the sachs huret rear mechanism and Campagnola down tube shifter .All the above were treated to a gentle clean along with a new Clarkes chain .


Next up were the Shimano Tourney brake calipers that seemed in fine fettle and just needed a dusting and some new brake pads and operating cables . It was at this time that I decided to ditch the original 22 mm GB Maes Stratalite bars and chromed stem for a slightly longer lugged stem with a set of later GB Maes bars but kept the original GB Super hood brake levers .


Next up was to clean up the original seat post which to my amazment was a Domed top Reynolds hiduminium item complete with a date stamp 9 – 51 which came as a surprise to me because I still thought this was a 60’s machine , but I was ignoring the head stock grease nipple and the gear cable roller guide and grease nipple on the bottom bracket shell .


Once all the above was done it was time to try it in the work stand,  it worked ok so I fitted a set of pedals and a nice Wrights leather saddle and went for a gentle ride up and down the cul de sac just to get an idea of what else was required work wise .The only thing that became apparent was the need for a slightly longer bottom bracket spindle which I duly replaced . Once this was dome the drive line was much easier to turn .So off we went for a 1.5 mile test ride so I could try some comfort related adjustments to the saddle and bars position .



Whilst looking around the garage I found a nice set of Bluemels Club sport guards that I thought would look good so on they went and after a little time they were on and adjusted so they didn’t rub or rattle too much .



Seeing as the weather was forecast to be damp most of the day I thought today would be a good day to get some commuting miles under this bikes tyres and after 8.5 miles I can report all went well and it rode nice and smoothly indeed , oh and I also discovered a 4 digit stamping on the seat post clamp area which makes this a genuine Pollard bike rather than a bought in frameset that was fitted with Pollard decals .



Pollard No 3 Arrives


This week saw the arrival of my third W & E Pollard bike and at present the second one I own .


Pollard No 3

When I saw it advertised it was obvious that it was going to be a project rather than a get on and ride bike . So upon unwrappingit  I was not surprised at its condition just a bit shocked that the seller overlooked to mention the small dents on the top tube that were immediately apparent .



A quick inspection revealed a list of nice components and extras that were worth more than I paid for the complete bike . The Carradice saddle bag contained a small selection of vintage tools ie a Campagnola ” peanut ” spanner and allen key along with 2 Brooks stamped spanners and a collection of old puncture repair kit tins .


Pollard Tools

The Brooks professional saddle does not look in bad shape and a few coats of leather treatment will certainly help , the saddle frame has a date stamp of 67 B so that makes it made in February 1967 according to me .

The large flanged Normandy hubs are date stamped weeks 47 & 48 of year 1980 ,the rear is a flip flop hub just a shame the rims are rusty old steel ones they might clean up but in all fairness I have just secured a pair of modern 27″ wheels at a fair price so these will be used instead .The brake calipers are Universal Mod 61 type which seem to have been around till the mid 70’s at least . So as can be seen a right mixture of components from different era’s .


W & E Pollard


The parts I like the best are the original Shimano Dura Ace crankset and the glorious Il Primo Di Lusso stem and matching bars which have some really nice detail etched on to them, just a shame I cant get our camera to focus on it very well .


Pollard Dura ace

A couple of hours tinkering has seen the crankset have a nice hot soapy bath and it has come up nice and clean , whilst the crankset was off I stripped and cleaned out the bottom bracket which in all fairness surprised me as I didn’t expect the cups to come out very easily .


W & E Pollard

So there we are, at the moment it’s got a long way to go, but a few more hours and it will be closer  and then I can start to use it and carry on the cleaning as I go along .