That Harry Hall’s been torturing me rotten, not least because I’ve been reading a book about Tom Simpson, and it turns out Harry Hall was his chief mechanic on the British Tour de France team and one of the people who put poor Tom back on his bike shortly before he died of amphetamine-assisted heatstroke. Also, I happened to see Stafford’s answer to that bicycle in town the other day:
Well I’ve only gone and bought another bicycle, haven’t I? My fiancée wasn’t terribly impressed and has told me it is absolutely, positively the LAST bicycle I am allowed to buy. *titters*
So my ‘fleet’ is now complete, and I’ve finally got a name for Bike #2, so let’s look at them all:
1987 BSA 3-speed light roadster, known as Crichton after the film The Honourable Crichton. Original cost £30, and updated with various bits including a second-hand Brooks B66 saddle and Carradice saddle bag. Fully operational and has gone over 600 miles so far this year.
1980 BSA Tour of Britain, currently in bits awaiting repainting. Original cost £50. Now called Bikey McBikeface in honour of the online poll where the great British public decided to blow a raspberry to all concerned by voting to name a new polar exploration vessel Boaty McBoatface. With the new addition (see below) I may have to reasses what manner of bike I want to build with this. Possibly a balloon-tyred path racer, or just a stripped down three-speed.
And now the new addition:
1982 BSA Prima, serial number WL2001140. Bought for £60. To be known as Major Tom in honour of Tom Simpson (I considered General Bradley in honour of Wiggo, but Major Tom’s got a better ring). Reynolds 531 frame (cro-moly fork), quick-release 700c wheels with almost new tyres and perfectly serviceable rims for once! Weinmann 500 brakes and Suntour derailleur, 10 gears on down tube shifters.
I’ve had a good look and this is an excellent bicycle. The pedals came off easily, the steerer and seat posts were both nicely greased and the front and rear derailleurs are both pretty well adjusted. I think this bike’s been sitting for quite a while though, because everything (especially the cassette) gives the impression of oil and grease that has simply dried out over time. The mudguards are junk and have been removed – they aren’t original and it’s such a nice bike I’m going to do a sympathetic restoration, while flicking metaphorical V-signs at those who would like nothing better than to turn this into some God-awful Fixie. Job number one is a deep clean, followed by a new chain and some new bar tape. After that I’ll have to find a new saddle, and possibly a slightly longer seat post.
So what have I bought this for? In a word, distance. My two trips to Aston Marina have convinced me that Crichton’s range is about 5 miles before it starts to get uncomfortable. There’s simply not enough of a range of hand positions, and in addition it’s heavy and has not got the most aerodynamic of riding positions which after a while makes it rather hard work. So Major Tom is for longer rides that are beyond that range, and hopefully I’ll be able to expand my horizons a bit.