‘Crichton’ is a BSA 3-speed dated 1987, named after the central character in the film The Admirable Crichton. I bought him from a guy in Cannock for £30. At that point he was quite forlorn with dead tyres, rusty kinked wheel rims and a torn saddle. Since then I’ve gradually restored him a bit at a time, not being too fussy about being precisely period-correct but preserving the character of the bicycle. I’ve ridden over 2,000 miles on this bicycle since I bought it.
2. Major Tom
Major Tom is a BSA ‘Prima’ 10-speed road bike made in 1982, the same year I was born. His name refers to both Tom Simpson and the character in David Bowie’s song Space Oddity. I bought this from someone in Derby for £60, which was a remarkable bargain for a Reynolds 531 framed bicycle. After a deep clean the underlying components were perfectly good and everything on this bike bar lights is intended to be period correct. I rode Tom at the Eroica Britannia in 2017.
Goldfinger is a 1986/7 BSA folding 3-speed, bought for £30, again from Cannock. The bike was in pretty good condition when I bought it apart from the brakes and tyres, and the seatpost was far too short. It’s useful when I need to stuff a bike in the back of my car. The name is obviously inspired by the colour, and because “fold-ginger” didn’t sound quite right. Unbelievably, physics–defyingly heavy.
4. Bikey McBikeface
A 1980 BSA Tour of Britain, and the second bike I bought. It wasn’t a very good purchase, unrideable and with a slightly bent frame. This build never went anywhere, but the frame and fork are useful for truing wheels.
5. Flash Harry
brand new, custom build. Sort of a three-speed GTi. The frame is a New-Old Stock 1985 frame that was sitting about upstairs at Henry Burton’s bike shop, I’ve built up a hub-gear 5-speed rear wheel and a dynamo hub front wheel. Still a work in progress…
1989 Peugeot “Le Tour”, with the same branding as a kid’s bike I had back when I was a kid. It’s a very low-end bike, so I’ve built it up as a winter/beater road bike so Major Tom can be returned to a purer road bike trim. It has 23mm tyres on some new rims, and I’ve swapped the Sachs-Huret drivetrain for SunTour aR.