Friday Night, 24 April 1925
To the New Bike
You are a beauty! I have tried you out, and what a difference I have found from the old faithful. You are as light as a feather and jump forward at the slightest touch of the pedal. At first, I felt little advantage, but now, after a few weeks, I find out what I have been missing. Truthfully speaking, you are a revelation to me in ease and smooth, free running, and incidentally a credit to your maker. As I now write (June 1 – five weeks after taking delivery) I am looking back over the rides you have given me, and I find such places as incomparable Dovedale, bleak Moel Famau, the sylvan beauty of Nant-y-Garth, the cyclist’s shrine, Meriden, and all its associations have already been made into past rides. Five Sunday runs, and four of them centuries – and all of them covered in hitherto unknown ease.
I have not got you for an ornament, for I intend to get as much out of you as I can – and you will not always look clean and neat, for the kind of riding that Tom Idle and I do makes that impossible. Anyhow, let’s see how you go on, and how you stand the rough tracks, river-beds, sewers – and all that is not a road !
The present specification is as follows:
Maker F H Grubb Brampton fittings
Frame 22” inch ‘A’ quality tubing, disc adjusting bracket, rear forkend forward opening, straight, tapered chain and seat stays, front forks ‘D’ to round, slotted, wheelbase 44” inches.
Wheels 26” x 1” and a quarter, Dunlop steel rims, Brampton ‘Superb’ hubs, Grubb wing nuts.
Tyres Constrictor ‘Python’ Speeds
Saddle Brooks B10 no.1 (Changed, first B17 – narrower, then B70, now B19 champion)
Chainwheel and Cranks Williams best quality 5 screw 46 teeth, 6.5 inch cranks.
Pedals Stonehouse no. 43
Chain Brampton, changed to Renold
Brake Front only, Bowden calliper – 2nd quality.
Handlebars Continentals 18 inch with Y drop, adjustable clip, changed to Marsh 15 inch
Mudguards Bluemels ‘Noweight’, stay fitting, extra
Gear 63” and 66.4” changed to 59.8” and 63”, both fixed.
The above advert, which must mirror Charlie’s, was copied from the Cycling magazine of 1926, all saved by Charlie.
Saturday, April 25 Arley
I thought I would give the bike a trial run this afternoon, (I only received it last night), and decided to try it on some well known roads, therefore I made a start along the ‘beaten, well worn track’ via Atherton and Butts Bridge. The first thing that struck me was the difference on setts. Instead of gliding comfortably over them, I was bounced and jogged unmercifully – the narrow tyres and smaller wheels accounting for it. I seemed to find very little difference in the going, except that I could pedal away downhill at any speed without fear of the chain jumping off, but on tarmac roads I was surprised at the smoothness of the transmission. The saddle is not comfortable, but the handlebars are fine. From Glazebury, I crossed Chat Moss to Glazebrook and Cadishead, then crossing Warburton Bridge, entered Cheshire. The long drag from Heatley to Broomedge was quite easy, but I put that down mostly to the lower gear I was using (59.8, a drop from 62.4), and from High Legh, I quite forgot that I was riding a real lightweight (except for the saddle which was in itself a constant reminder!), owing to the change in the countryside.
When I last rode, Spring was only just showing itself, now it was in full splendour, the gardens were full of beautiful flowers, daffodils, narcissi, tulips, and a host of others; in the hedgerows bloomed the primrose and violets; the woods were a carpet of hyacinths; the fields studded with buttercups and daisies; and in the orchards were an abundance of sweet smelling blossom. Arley Green was greener than ever, the mere was quiet and sunlit, the old water mill was to me older and more mellowed than usual. I had tea in an old world cottage at Arley, then pottered through the park and along shady roads to Tabley. I took a peep at Rostherne, Cheshire’s prettiest mere, joined the winding road to Ashley – then reached the border of commercialisation at Bowden – or was it Hale? The ride home was uninteresting then – I had passed the bounds of Spring.
This sudden conversion from Winter to Spring, from a bare, cold countryside to a warm, sun laden atmosphere, to Green tendrils and riotous blossoms has almost made those stay at home Sunday’s worthwhile. And the new bike does run easier! 58 miles