In this 90 mile ‘potter’ we learn about a British Spring, and all the beauties it contains. Charlie and his best friend Tom Idle spent the whole day criss crossing the lanes of Cheshire, enduring the blanketing heat haze with stoicism (I write in the winter time), but soaking up all that could be seen. Charlie never does anything by half, in addition to describing their wonderings, we are treated to all the detail of the Spring vegetation, and why not?
How Charlie avoided a Lady Cyclists’ Rally, rendered assistance to someone else’s buckled wheel, and found a new and useful teaplace. Oh, and avoided also the musical goings-on of the Wigan Wheelers. That’s all the penance one needs for missing out on the Lady Cyclists’ Rally.
The specification of a bicycle in 1925 was still quite basic. Fixed wheel, no gears, mudguards a fairly recent innovation, Brooks saddles (who else!), drop handlebars if you were riding a ‘lightweight racer’, and just the one brake operating on the front wheel.
Braking, via the fixed wheel at the back, was compromised by the lack of toe clips to pull up on the downward sweep of the pedal – and as for the tyres, well, they had an inclination to puncture at the drop of a hat. Wheel bearings and bottom bracket sets were all very basic compared to even 30 years later, but the good old cotter pins lasted well into much more modern times. But in 1925 you could buy a pair of stout cycling shoes for less than £1.
The January edition of ‘Cycling World‘ (on sale at most W H Smith branches) has really done Charlie Chadwick proud. A six page spread which includes reproducing Charlie’s entertaining story set in the Lake District titled ‘In Festive Mood’ describing a New Year We.R.7 break in Patterdale in 1928.
Quite apart from an informed review of our first Charlie Chadwick volume, there is a full page biography of Charlie including his nineteen fifties passport photograph in a very striking suit (also reproduced here), a mode of dress I would never associate with Charlie.
The New Year holiday at Patterdale reads just like the clubrun/hostel weekends I remember so well from my youth, and all the antics they get up to in just a few days in the Lakes makes very good reading. That is Charlie’s gift to us – the ability to bring the past to life in a way that we can relate to.