So, 30 years ago last weekend.....

IanS62

Retro Guru
The MountainBike Centre in Llanwrtyd Wells opened for business. I was just browsing and it suddenly struck me, and I'm kind of pissed that I forgot the anniversary. The weekend event was, I believe, the first organised mountainbike event in the UK. I made the arduous trip from Walthamstow with my Eclipse Canyon LTD, rode to Paddington and got the train on Good Friday to Swansea, just in time to miss the connecting train to Llanwrtyd and had to spend 4 hours mooching around in the wet for the next train. I was booked into the New Inn on the bridge, I'm now going to have to have a look if it's still there. I can't recall too many of those who were there, but I can recall Richard Ballantyne of course, Greg Oxenham from Bike UK, Norman Hillier, Darren Barber and Glenn Thompson from Covent Garden Cycles, various Overburys (Sujato, Matt, Ollie) and that's about all off to top of my head. Mind you, it was 30 years ago after all. Was anyone reading this there? I wish I had some pics, but if I do then they're probably still in my ex's loft somewhere! I still have the train ticket tho - handwritten by the ticket clerk at Walthamstow station :)

Ian Sheen
 

jaypee

Senior Retro Guru
Re:

Cool! No idea I'm afraid but I did once see a late 80s Bike branded 'eclipse' and I couldn't find anything about them at all. It was locked up for months at the station - clearly abandoned - and I hoped to persuade the guys there to let me have it but to no avail sadly. It was butted cromo with mountain LX so worth bothering with.
 

IanS62

Retro Guru
Hi Jay....

Eclipse were the company brand of Bike UK, a shop based in Villiers St, near Charing Cross in London in the mid-80's. Run by an Aussie called Greg, along with Dick and Anita (who later formed Apex Cycles in Clapham, which is still there), it was based under the arches in the old wine vaults. They had their own range of bikes, commuting and mountain. The original Canyons were built by Jeremy Torr (who build the Cleland Aventuras for Geoff Apps, and later the Rat), and then by Dave Clarke. 531, full XT, 531 bullmoose bars, ACS nylon rims (!), very early stuff. I bought mine in early '84, cost me £525, I still have the receipt! I did all the original Fat Tyre Five events on it, and the Wendover Bash, events like that. I think my ex still has all my old photos in the house, I must get them back off her....lots of nostalgia there!
 

jaypee

Senior Retro Guru
Re:

Interesting. I'm sure if you add "Cleland, Evans, 1984" to your subject heading - even just temporarily - you''ll get various people along who may even have known you back then.
 

danson67

Retrobike Rider
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A couple of years early for me...raced in the 1986 Man v Horse v Bike, though. I do have a few MBC relics, which I can retrieve tonight...

I stayed at Gordon Green's place, the Neuadd Arms...still there, although Gordon retired a few years ago.

IIRC the MountainBike Centre itself was over the bridge on the right, in the side street behind the first chapel. Seems to be full of builders on StreetView.

Honourable mention of Phil Westoby who set it up with some local help from Rhodri Thomas from his father's (?) excellent hardware shop (now the SPAR).

Sad that it never really became the Crested Butte/Durango/Marin County of the UK as they'd hoped.

All the best,
 

IanS62

Retro Guru
Hi Dan,

There's a few names there I recall. Gordon used to organise the original even before bikes were permitted, as I recall. We spent a few nights at the Neuadd!

I should have thought of giving StreetView a look, not sure I'd recognise anything now tho, it's been a good few years sinceI was last there. I did the MvH a few times too, the first time I blew up horribly about two miles from the finish and crawled over the line. That was the year Joe Murray and Jacqui Phelan raced there, I think. I later raced a Fisher Paragon there; it had huge mud clearances and Fisher Fattrax tyres, and I came about 12th, I think, as part of the Covent Garden Cycles team with Andy Pegg. Who did you race with, and more importantly, what bike were you on?!

As you say, it's a shame that the MBC never really took off as hoped. Richard Ballantyne was instrumental in the founding of it, and I know he was sad about it. I went to his funeral last May and saw lots of faces from the old times; Dick Crane was there, for one. Richard's Raleigh Midnight Express was taking guard at the wake, his son said that it was his favourite bicycle, which was saying something.

I really need to dig those photos out, don't I?
 

Chute55uk

Retrobike Rider
GT Fan
IanS62":2y3za6k5 said:
Hi Jay....

Eclipse were the company brand of Bike UK, a shop based in Villiers St, near Charing Cross in London in the mid-80's. Run by an Aussie called Greg, along with Dick and Anita (who later formed Apex Cycles in Clapham, which is still there), it was based under the arches in the old wine vaults. They had their own range of bikes, commuting and mountain. The original Canyons were built by Jeremy Torr (who build the Cleland Aventuras for Geoff Apps, and later the Rat), and then by Dave Clarke. 531, full XT, 531 bullmoose bars, ACS nylon rims (!), very early stuff. I bought mine in early '84, cost me £525, I still have the receipt! I did all the original Fat Tyre Five events on it, and the Wendover Bash, events like that. I think my ex still has all my old photos in the house, I must get them back off her....lots of nostalgia there!
and acton, clapham, and kings cross. I worked in the acton branch in 87-88 and sometimes in the clapham branch. I had an agreement with greg who also managed the fisher uk team that if I beat a team rider at the muddy fox dirty weekend in harrogate I could get a team ride.
The next race was walthamstow (as advertised in issue 1 of mbuk) and I was there wearing fisher strip on a procal ;)
sorry for the thread hijack.
 

danson67

Retrobike Rider
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Relics?:
My Red Kite Mountainbikes sweatshirt. IIRC they were an offshoot of the MBC, selling Overbury's built bikes. I bought the shirt from Steve Devine at the shop in 1986, but I don't recall ever seeing a bike badged up.
ce1a8fa4-35c0-4270-9f5f-3d3dab7641a6_zps2c3bd694.jpg


And an MBC mug...I won this for my 3rd place in the B-cat Fat Tyre Five race at Alexandra Palace, Easterish 1986?

580e4545-42c1-4c45-83d3-0f5c51fe6836_zpsf72503c5.jpg

f42d3157-439c-42fb-b04c-c10b4a81f5e7_zps9ffe63ed.jpg


On the MVH races, I only rode in '86: Overbury's Pioneer XC. I've got the results list somewhere..that'll have plenty of names on it:
scan0044.jpg


All the best,
 

GrahamJohnWallace

Retrobike Rider
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IanS62":1vgxu37r said:
The MountainBike Centre in Llanwrtyd Wells opened for business. I was just browsing and it suddenly struck me, and I'm kind of pissed that I forgot the anniversary....
Ian Sheen
Hi Ian, welcome to RetroBike.
I remember your name well but can't quite place you! Where you involved with 'Making Tracks'?

Back then, I used to ride either an F.W. Evans ATB with drop handlebars, or a Cleland Aventura which I hardly ever cleaned. Below is a photo of me BITD.


I checked some old copies of Bicycle Action magazine, who promoted the 'Fat Tyre Five' events and googled 'Llanwrtyd Wells MountainBike Centre", and discovered that you haven't in fact missed the 30th anniversary of the opening of the centre. Aparently it opened in 1985.(Incorporation date 28/02/1985)
http://companycheck.co.uk/company/01890713#

****This means that we have a year to organise an anniversary ride.****
:cool:
 

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