I wanted a new bike, a racing bike with dropped handlebars and derailleur gears. I think a new one would have cost about £30. I repeatedly appealed to Daddy for funds but he firmly said ‘no way’ and so I agreed with Mr Weal, owner of the bicycle shop, to make one under his guidance in his shop and pay for it as my funds permitted.
I remember that the bright red 531 tubing frame cost £9. Making the wheels seemed to take forever. First I bought the hubs, then the rims, spokes and nipples but with Mr Weal’s tools and equipment and his tuition and the checking of my workmanship, the bike gradually took shape and there came that proud day when I rode it home. It was a good bike with a top speed of about 100 km/h downhill. I raced it for ten years over 40 and 80 km distances and twice it did the Manchester – Chiddingfold overnight run of 350 km. In the time trials from Milford to Hindhead return, it used to take about 40 minutes to go up and then 10 minutes to come down the 20 km circuit riding fixed wheel.