The story of the restoration of a 1950s classic bicycle for a Land's End – John O'Groats charity ride in aid of Alzheimer's Society
Well, she’s now built up and nearly complete – 14 months early. I had thought it would take much longer to track down the right sort of old components and get everything working, but it has turned out to be less problematic than I feared.
I took advantage of the dry weather and light traffic last week and used her for commuting. So the old girl has done her first 50 miles in her new clothes – and done it beautifully, too. There’s still a touch of the greyhound in her.
I’m not sure the old rider did so well. As I expected, the Simplex front gear shifter is pretty difficult to use – it’s hard to make a gear change without getting tied up in your own ankles – hence the “suicide” label, I guess. It gets better with practice, but gear changes need much more forward planning than is the case with modern gears. Unfortunately hills sometimes appear in front of you without a lot of notice…
There remain quite a few details to attend to, but this marks the end of the main build phase, so I now have to think about a training programme and route planning.