June 16, 2013

My Bike

This is my most prized possession. It took just over a year from finding the right frame to it’s maiden voyage.

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It took about 6 months just to find the right frame, sale and this is what we had to start with. It was hand built by a guy called Charlie Betty who only built about 50 frames, this all from British steel, gerontologist under the name of Lynx Cycles in Stafford.

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Then became the task of searching for all the right parts to fit it, taking into consideration the unique measurements. The fact that it was built in ’85, making my bike as old as me, also ment some ebay hunting was required.

The first challenge was getting eyelets welded onto the frame to take mudguards, as well as having screw holes drilled to take a rear pannier and water bottle holder. Next was to get it sprayed the perfect mint green colour, but keeping the original chrome details intact (see below for my detailed drawing I sent to the people who were spraying it).

One of the hardest challenges was tracking down the decals. This involved emails, phone calls, chasing, and finally Charlie Betty’s phone number. So I gave him a call, and had a lovely chat with him. At the time (February 2012) he was 95 and still riding 60 miles a week and told me “yeah, I think I’ve got a few in my shed”. A few days later I received the most wonder hand written letter from charlie, with the decals and instructions on how to apply them.

charlie letter

Then came the chalenge for Luke to built it. Fitting the hub took it’s time, but most tedious were the cantilever breaks. As the frame is older, the mounts are positioned higher than new frames, meaning modern breaks didn’t fit, so it was back to ebay to find a NOS (new old stock) set of cantilever breaks.

Skip forward to May 2012 and it is finally finished, and I couldn’t be happier. Mint green, shiny chrome, and tan leather, perfection in my eyes. So here are (quite a few) highlights of the finished article.

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It’s been a year, and it’s still just as beautiful. Despite shattering two bar ends and having to replace my stolen saddle (the perils of living in london – despite 3 locks) I feel amazing every time I get in the saddle and push down on the pedals.

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