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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:46 am 
King of the Skip Monkeys
King of the Skip Monkeys
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Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2007 4:34 pm
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Location: Moomin Valley
With information generously provided by Harry Lavery, heres a little bit of history that started with a £12 rusty frame purchase:



Hi, this is the story I sent to Sustrans they wanted a story from friends and workers of norman fay for publicity for the ride . Hope you like it .

This is my story................


I started working for Norman back in 1974. My first job was to make the carriers that fitted on the touring bikes. I was then shown how to cut and machine the tubes and stays for the frames, then Norman taught me how to braze them up using the jigs. He had jigs for everything , there were so many variations of frames that they all needed different jigs. We got some very strange requests. One costumer wanted hoops on his seat stay to accommodate a poker. This was mainly for protection against wild animals. All the jigs were made by Norman mostly at his garage at home. After I had completed the frames they were shot blasted and then sent downstairs to the paint shop to be sprayed. The bikes were very special because Norman used race technology to make a super fast lightweight and very comfortable touring bike.
We had enquiries from all over the world. We sent many bikes and frames to America we even sent one to Japan. Back in 1974 or 1975 two of our bikes were entered into a race at Disney World in America. One came in first and the other came in third. One touring bike we made was for a local lad. When the bike was complete CYCLING magazine 1/3/1975 took the bike away and did a full page write up with pictures. When the bike was returned the lad who the bike was made for had lost his job and could not afford it so the bike was put up for sale. At the same time a steel hulled sailing vessel with sails came into the Tyne. It was skippered by an Australian lady. She came into Norman's shop looking for a touring bike and bought the aforementioned bike. She wanted a bike to go touring wherever she went in the world with her sailing ship. We also made a bike for someone who lived in Lapland. One guy got as far a India and his bike was attacked by locals. He sent us an update about the bikes travels. We got many postcards and letters from all over the world. One day two girls from America came to the shop. One of them wanted to see where her 'little normy' bike had been made.
Norman was well known in the cycle world and was always very popular at cycle events. If anyone came into the shop with a problem and could no longer get the parts for their bike Norman would make the part at home in his garage. He could never be beaten.
Then one day because we exported bikes a government official came with the offer of help and huge grants etc. He came into my workshop and spent about half a day with us. I showed him what all the jigs were for and showed him how we made our bikes. He was like a little boy at the funfair because he had not seen anything like this before. He could not wait to tell his superior as to what he saw and told us we would be getting a lot of help and support. Shortly after that momentous day Health and Safety Officers walked through the door and to put it mildly they were alarmed at what they saw. They went around putting 'do not use' stickers on everything. They stopped us using the oven that we used to cure the painted frames. They stopped us using the spray booths and the oxy acetylene welding torches. Norman was served with all sorts of writs. I was told that if I continued to do certain tasks or operate certain machines I could be prosecuted. I could no longer work in the workshop because there was no fire escape. After they had gone I went down to see Norman. He was totally devastated. All this came about because we were exporting bikes and the government wanted to help us. To make the necessary improvements plans had to be drawn up and subjected to the planning department / fire department / health and safety / insurance etc etc. None of them could agree and plans went backwards and forwards and round and round in circles. Norman called them all together at his shop so they could face each other and hope come to some sort of solution. There were twelve people and myself in our tiny little workshop. They all eyed over the plans and gave their opinions and objections. The conclusion was to close the workshop down. Hence production came to a halt. I lost my dream job 6 weeks before I got married. Norman moved to other premises and tried to start up again but it was the same old story. One step forward and two steps back due to local government interference.
Even today I still get emails and phone calls from people with Norman Fay bikes or frames .

HARRY LAVERY..............





Image

Image


Attachments:
Norman Fay brochure 3.jpg
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:51 am 
King of the Skip Monkeys
King of the Skip Monkeys
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Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2007 4:34 pm
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Location: Moomin Valley
and some more:


Image

and details of the memorial ride:

http://www.velovision.co.uk/cgi-bin/sho ... rynum=1010


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:27 am 
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
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Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 4:16 pm
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Location: brigg, home of the gypsies
good old health and safety.

cheers LGf good reading


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:53 pm 
Old School Grand Master

Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:55 pm
Posts: 8222
Location: New Forest, UK
Thanks - a really interesting read.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:25 pm 
rider | rBoTM Winner
rider | rBoTM Winner
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Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:42 pm
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Location: Wakefield, Yorkshire
Blinkin' jobsworths!

Good read though, are you going on the memorial ride?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 6:26 pm 
King of the Skip Monkeys
King of the Skip Monkeys
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Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2007 4:34 pm
Posts: 26184
Location: Moomin Valley
Old Ned wrote:
Blinkin' jobsworths!

Good read though, are you going on the memorial ride?


will try.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:32 am 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:26 pm
Posts: 86
Location: Lincolnshire
Sad to read about the demise of Norman Fay's business, and his later death on his bike.

I've just acquired one of his bikes, 76XX - pics once I've cleaned it up a bit. It's a nicely built super strong touring machine, presumably built in 1976. Given it's pretty much completely original, I'll leave the paint as it is, even though the paint is a bit thin, and limit attention to taking out the rust spots and retouching. Needs new tyres and wheels rebuilt, other than that not much wrong with it that some elbow grease won't fix.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:57 am 
Newbie

Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:10 pm
Posts: 4
Thought I would contribute some of my knowledge and experience on this thread. I first met Norman when he had a shop in South Eldon St , I always admired the shiny bicycles in the window. Norman later moved to Dean Rd in the town and by this time I had began racing with a local club ( Tyne Road club ) . I was buying a lot of kit and clothing etc at the shop and got to know Norman and his family , even helping in the shop , cleaning and testing bikes , doing small repairs. I later joined a sponsored club ( Sunderlamd Clarion ) and I had one if not the last frame to be built. It was a bobby dazzler , Ishiwata 015 tubing , incredibly light ( lighter than 753 ) , silbrazed. I later , to my regret sold it to a local lad ( Barry Robinson ) and bought a flying gate tt frame. Normans frames had many unique innovations and ideas. Only 101 frames were made but I managed to find one on eBay , it is from 1979 so also a later frame. A lot of Normans frames were made by Harry Lavery , a time served pipe fitter . Just recently a sculpture in memory of Norman was unveiled at Tyne Dock in the town. Several memorial rides have taken place.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:57 pm 
King of the Skip Monkeys
King of the Skip Monkeys
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Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2007 4:34 pm
Posts: 26184
Location: Moomin Valley
Hi Sean

Thanks for the contribution.

I am still using mine daily after a rebuild for the winter. Its a bit battered and had been in a garden for some 20 years.

Image


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:02 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:10 pm
Posts: 4
Hello lgf , my is running as well but I have only used it a few times. I also have a pinnorello dogme and my old bike feels ancient so I only use it on special rides.You can see it on flickr , secla 2009 . Best Wishes , Sean.


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