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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:18 am 
MacRetro rider
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Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:39 pm
Posts: 170
Location: SE Scotland
Charlie, it was you who put me in touch with Richard Grant. Hello, by the way. The internet. How wonderful that all this stuff can arise from the murky depths of our brains, filing cabinets, shoeboxes ... I've still got some of your letters too, in storage at the moment, buried deep. But they will out, eventually. ANYWAY, GREAT TO BE IN TOUCH AGAIN!


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 Post subject: 1979, and all that
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:36 am 
MacRetro rider
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Me again, with photos of my 1979 machine which I forgot to add to my last posting. It may or may not be co-incidence, but during 1978 and 79, I was hawking my frame designs around all the framebuilders I could find. All, and I can't remember if this includes Jacksons, said quite catagorically that it is quite impossible to build a bicycle frame with a sloping top-tube.
Yep, me too, I couldn't understand it either ... but nor could I get them to build my effing frames!

Well, you would be able to see my attachment, if I can get it to work. So far, it's looking somewhat doubtful.

I'll try again ...

Ah, it's too big.
I'll sort that out and post it another time.
Cheerio Folks




Anyone there? Hello?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:50 am 
Retro Guru
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I can't be the only one feeling a bit humbled here surely?! I mean, my god.....without these guys here, things would have been a hell of a lot different. Bloody hell, wow!!!!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:04 am 
MacRetro rider
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Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:39 pm
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Location: SE Scotland
Back then bicycles did not ride on anything rougher than, say, well it's difficult to define terrain but, well . . .
I was just a little astonished when I went on my first Rough Stuff Fellowship ride, and after seemingly miles and miles of roads (boring, boring), we eventually turned off the road. My heart leapt, time for some fun.


They all got off their bikes and started pushing them!

When I rode my bike on the 'rough' they looked at me as if I were balmy.

A few miles of rough, and back on the road again.

Hmmmm . . . . . thanks for your words


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:30 am 
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Location: California
The irony here is the fact that Geoff and I have never to my knowledge met face to face.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:37 am 
MacRetro rider
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Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:39 pm
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Location: SE Scotland
Now,

OK ~ I've been photoshopping, and I can now reveal a picture of the bike I designed in 1976/77, but couldn't get made until 1979.
Just look at that back end! But I can't take all the blame for that; I remember how the framebuilder would not bend chainstays, under any circumstances.
However, getting him to do the sloping top tube was a major breakthrough for me.

Next time I'll post what the Range Rider looked like by 1980 with a different frame builder, one Billy Whitcomb (nothing to do with the south London frame builders)


Attachments:
1979rangeriderweb_179 small.jpg
1979rangeriderweb_179 small.jpg [ 165.96 KiB | Viewed 2269 times ]
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:51 am 
Mr Darcy
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Great thread and very interesting.

This is an area of historical biking that is less well known. Please keep this going! :)


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 Post subject: 1979 and all that
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:39 am 
MacRetro rider
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Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:39 pm
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Location: SE Scotland
Sorry about that picture; it's so big that it means we all have to scroll along to extract the full juicy content of each posting.

Hmmm... can anything be done about that?

Anyway, a bit more about the how it was back then. I just re-read my posting about the RSF, and realise I could have been more explicit...
The attitude amongst cyclists, and therefore the entire trade, all shops, magazines, clubs, everything cycling, was that riding off-road was, at best, a necessary evil. Even the RSF would wax lyrical about the experience of finding themselves somewhere remote, but if the ride experience was ever mentioned, it was to say how difficult or inconvenient it was.
The idea of seeking out and delighting in riding rough terrain was utterly alien to all the cyclists I met and talked to. You can imagine how alone that made me feel. It is true that, from time to time I would be joined by friends, but enjoable though this was, they were not cyclists, nor did they have suitable machines; it was a bit limiting to have friends along for the ride.
For several years I competed in Motor Cycle Observed Trials, and when not competing, I'd be off for highly illegal jaunts in the hills. Although these were some very memorable two-wheeled experiences; they were also not good for the image of motorcycling. In that densly populated area of the country, it's not easy avoid being seen. I could have crawed into a hole when I discovered that permission to use land for a kosher competitive event had been withdrawn because of illegal riding. I felt I'd let my club down (I didn't own up, by the way).
I'd always had in the back of my head the idea of riding a bicycle off-road; indeed it was the only machine I could ride until I could afford a motorbike ~ parents didn't buy their offspring motorbikes in those days, like they do now. And I took that part of the overall activity as seriously and the powered side, and thus thought at length about designs, components, geometry, weight bias etc,etc,etc. My dream was to be able to go off for a jaunt, be out all day, not make a lot of noise, not have the bike fall on top of me, as my motorbike occasionally would, having me trapped for quite a long time; and that sort of thing generally.
Anyway, I'd talk about this proclivity to my motorcycle chums, and, well it was like with the cyclists; it was utterly alien to them, the idea of being without a motor.
So, that's how it was then. Cycling as it is now was just totally inconceivable then ~ but I had my own fantasies about machines, the capabilities of those machines, and fantasies that it would be really popular.
I occasionally voiced these fantasies, which made me very unpopular.

Ah well, there are a few more very personal and rambling thoughts about the birth of the mountain bike scene in the UK.

Just one more ... I remember discussing with other MTBers once, after the movement had been going for about ten years (about 1993/4), we were saying that there will be youngsters taking up the sport now who would think it had always been like this.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:19 am 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 5:54 pm
Posts: 19
Location: Hyde, Cheshire
Hey Charlie - I just had a look at your website & realised why your ID on here is Repack Rider! (suffering from newbie-itus - only found this site a few days ago :oops: :lol: )

My Dad bought me your book in 1988 at the British Motorshow of all places & i'm gutted to say its no longer around. I had a Raleigh Mustang at the time - first mountain bike in our street don'tya know. Heheh, I thought it was the mutts nuts even if it did weigh a ton & have steel rims almost as wide as the tyres. It was a great read though and reminising sat here, I wish I could grab it from the bookshelf & have another look!

And Geoff, great bike & a fascinating history. I''m surprised the concept of such a machine hasn't already found a market in the same way Pashleys bikes do for a small segment of the marketplace. It looks like a discerning machine well suited to those who don't wish to rush anywhere - but get literally 'wherever' if that makes any sense. A lot of function rather than fashion.


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 Post subject: Re: 1979 and all that
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:31 am 
North Wales Deputy AEC
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GeoffApps wrote:

Ah well, there are a few more very personal and rambling thoughts about the birth of the mountain bike scene in the UK.

Just one more ... I remember discussing with other MTBers once, after the movement had been going for about ten years (about 1993/4), we were saying that there will be youngsters taking up the sport now who would think it had always been like this.


If Retrobike is to have any lasting gravitas and sense of purpose, it is in our duty of care for our sport to research, document and preserve these precious folk roots - men of Retrobike, go to work!

Mr K


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