Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Local Bike Shop

Do you use your local bike shop?
Or are you a devotee of those vast emporiums which inhabit the internet and sell at highly competitive prices?
Perhaps, like me, you use them both but in so doing am I leaching the life blood and history away from our Local Bike Shops?
Readers of this blog will know that I am both a novice to cycling, an Old Age Pensioner,  not very competitive and a real beginner at cycling mechanics. I am good at finding cake stops on rides and love to talk about the world of  cycling, both past and present. And so I thought I would post a series of articles on the Local Bike Shops of Derby and its surrounding areas.

Most, if not all, of the cycle shop proprietors are keen cyclists themselves and many have turned their hobby into their livelihood. Ralph Wyld was a fine example of this and in each of the three years prior to the 1928 Olympiad in Amsterdam, he with his three brothers won the National Team Pursuit. The brothers were however split up for the Olympics itself where the Wyld brothers Harry, Lew and Percy were joined by Monty Southall and won the Bronze Medal in the 4000 metres Team Pursuit

Ralph started Ralph Wyld Cycles at 61 Nottingham Road, Derby in 1928 and his brothers also helped him out there. Five years later in 1933 the business moved up the road to 95 Nottingham Road and continued trading there until 1995 when it closed.

It is thought that the site was a Carpet Shop following its life as Ralph Cycles but now it has become a Sandwich Shop.

I was not interested in cycling in those days but a friend who was provided the following reminiscence

" When I went there regularly for my bits it was Ralph who was serving - a benevolent and slightly balding man of light build who treated me, as a very young cyclist, with respect and was ever ready to give cycling tips. He was stooped around the shoulders - probably from working on bikes :-)  The shop was old fashioned even then, and that was 50 years ago,  and contained lots of wooden drawers full of mystery and had bike bits like wheels and frames hanging on the walls. He must have had the odd ready built bicycle but I do not remember any. The shop was a labour of love and all the cyclists loved him. I remember Ralph dying but I cannot remember who served after..I think the shop was later sold.

Ralph was born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire on 7.June.1907 and died, aged 64 years in 1972. The shop continued trading for another 23 years but I dont know whether it stayed in the family or was sold.

This article has been all about a local bike shop of yesteryear. The next one will hopefully cover Birkins  Cycles, a new kid on the block

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Mobile Mechanic

I am not sure whether every cyclist used to be a Boy Scout, but their motto of " Be Prepared " is something that all cyclists should adopt. In the case of cyclists this often boils down to the stuff they carry with them in case of the need for urgent repairs on the road. Whether or not they know how to ACTUALLY  use this kit is another matter entirely. And it is this which started me thinking when I misplaced my Multi-Tool the other week and was in need of a replacement. The modern tool is really a mechanics wonderland

Allen keys  of every size, tyre levers,flat and phillips screwdrivers, spanners and even a chain splitting tool; a cornucopia of instruments. And of course with this wide range of Allen Keys I could even remove and maintain the pedals. You never know, the next generation of multi-tools may even allow me to re-program my Shimano  Ultegra Di2 Electronic Gear Change System.   Perhaps.
Of course there is a minor downside of having this mobile workshop, it is heavy and we all know that weight kills especially when climbing hills.
But it was not always like this, though cyclists have always loved toys as shown by this travelling tool kit from Mafic.

Tyre levers were missing from this kit so had to be purchased separately as shown in this early tool manufactured by  Terrys

But compared to the vast array of tools for the mobile mechanic available today, some of us remember the first ever multi tool, and this set contained something all the others still miss....a pair of spoons which doubled as a musical instrument or essential when eating strawberries and icecream.

My lightweight cycling friends carry lightweight kit and one of the best I have seen are these, though I have my doubts over the life expectancy of those plastic tyre levers which double as a case.

My eldest son however has embarked on a plan which eschews all this modern paraphernalia and relies upon an Oyster Card, a £10 note and a mobile phone plus a bunch of flowers to a hopefully helpful wife .

Have you got any essential kit ? New or vintage?  Post a photo in the comment section below

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

An Unfortunate Interlude

I have done very little cycling this year so far and hence the Blog has suffered too.
The reasons are many including needing a boat, not a bike, an increase in the number of grandchildren, injuries to legs and shoulder, but mainly due to downright laziness.

Last year I had a major project, to get fit to ride in the inaugral London100 and the training and fundraising for this dominated my life. It also included an attempt to capture in a few photographs, my cycling year and I published these in an earlier post.

But now I am re-energized!

And this years Blog Posts will have a different theme.

The other day I lost my multi-tool and in enquiring about  a suitable replacement I got involved about how tools had changed over the years. And then onto "Cycle Shops We Had Known" in Derby(shire).
Now those who follow my blog will know that I have only been cycling since I retired , about 6 years ago now, and so my personal knowledge is limited.  However, one of the great things about the OAP Tea Shop Tours thst I regularly embark upon is that they give us plenty of time to chat. So, with the help of a couple of old time cyclists to help with the research, this Years blog will aim to show the history of Derby Cycle Shops both present and extinct

Watch this space!

Research commences this morning where I am meeting my Research Staff.
Where are we meeting?
Why, in a Cake Shop of course