Angus/s Bike

Since the weather has improved I’ve been riding an old 1940’s Dawes super galaxy racer round town. This is a bike with a strong lineage going back to before the Provo’s time. My friend Wendy’s dad Norman Shillinglaw was an amateur champion cylist with Gala CC. He emigrated to Canada in the early 1990’s and had to sell most of his bikes before he went. I was luck to get one of his Dawes touring bikes. It was stolen last year, I was completely gutted and could hardly bear to tell Wendy as her dad had recently died and there was a real sense of connection to him through the lost bike.

It turned out that he had kept one last bike in Canada and it had come home to Scotland in bits in a cardboard box and was lying in a garage in Kilbarchan. Wendy wanted me to have it, so I picked it the box and took it unopened to Joe at Gear Cycles in Glasgow and we found a 65 year old English Leatheries seat and the original frame and wheels of a single speed track racer from the same period. Norman had found it in the coal cellar at the back of his uncle’s house in a village near Durham and had done it up 40 years ago. Joe put on new forks, as the huge bend at the end of the old forks (which gave it the look of a pre-war original from the Tour de France) made it really wobbly to ride! He also put on a set of Campagnola gears and new brakes as we weren’t too purist when it came to safety.

So I feel like I’m riding a piece of living history with this bike, it’s a hybrid of different people’s attention and care from over the years, but most important is the fact that its still going. If any of the white bikes survive that long it will be testament to either good manufacture or luck!