JOHN BARRY BROOKES

ME, CYCLING AND MY BIKES


Louison Bobet mont ventoux 1955 b

Louison Bobet -  Mont Ventoux 1955 (Marseille to Avignon 158 km)
the lady on the left is Louison's wife, Christiane

This photograph holds very special memories for me. It was during the summer of 1955 when, as a 12 year old lad, I picked up a copy of 'Cycling Weekly' from the newsagent for whom I delivered newspapers. It was a revelation. I saw photographs similar to the one above, depicting cyclists tackling the might of the French Alps and Pyrenees, and racing around France for 3 weeks! The Tour de France was instantly etched into my psyche. From that moment on, I anxiously awaited the weekly edition of CW, and my love of cycle racing was born, developing into a passion. Louison Bobet, three times winner of le Tour, became my hero.

When I was 14, my Dad bought me my first lightweight racing bike. It was a BSA 'Tour of Britain' model, built on a Reynolds 531 frame, and equipped with Benelux 4 speed gears. I loved it! There was, however, a problem. My family,  specifically my father and grand father, were staunch Salvationists, meaning that as I grew older I was expected, nay ordered, to attend the Salvation Army three times every Sunday; that's morning afternoon and evening. A serious consequence of this, as far as I was concerned, was the inability to ride my bike on a Sunday. Budding racing cyclist - not able to go cycling on Sundays?  Pretty disastrous, I think you will agree. So; during those years when I should have been enjoying club life, my 'training' was restricted initially to riding after school  and during school holidays. Subsequently it was to and from work, and in the evening.
 
At the age of 22 or 23, as  a married man and having left the Salvation Army, I joined a cycling club, the Elizabethan cc in Wolverhampton. During the one season I spent with the club, I rode four time trials, three road races and I participated in just one club run. My results were 'average', but I did collect the club's handicap shield at the end of the year. My first year as a club cyclist was also my last! Unfortunately, my wife objected to the time I was spending in training, so I offloaded all my equipment and gave up cycling. A few years later I offloaded my wife! Fortunately, I then met and married the woman with whom I still share my life.

It wasn't until about ten years ago that I renewed my interest in cycling. I bought two 531 frames and a load of gear on Ebay, and Vince Evans of the local Wrekinsport CC built the bikes for me. Over the next few years I accumulated a collection of eight vintage frames, gradually teaching myself the mechanical intricacies of bike building, but always relying on my good friend Paul Sydenham to put right the problems I inevitably managed to create! Then, in 2016, 2017 and this year, I went all 'modern' and you can see the results below. Recently, I discarded by sale or donation all my vintage bikes.

With regards to my actual cycling pursuits over these past few years, I have restricted myself to doing laps of the cycle track at Sundorne, and daily sessions on my turbo trainers. It has been over fifty years since I cycled on the road, and now I don't have the confidence to do so. By joining a club after all this time, perhaps I may be persuaded (or allowed!) to ride with a group of guys and gals who have the patience to guide and take care of a nervous 75 year old enthusiast! Only time will tell.


MY  STEVE GOFF FIXED GEAR TRACK BIKE




This is a photo of my Steve Goff track bike, taken before I purchased it
(new photo to follow soon)

REYNOLDS 853 MAIN TUBES AND FORKS - 53cm

and here are the components I have fitted to this lovely frame:

Campagnolo Record Pista chainset and bottom bracket.
(not the one shown in the photo)
Campagnolo Record vintage pedals and toe clips, with Christophe toe straps.
Mavic Open Pro rims on Shimano Dura Ace track hubs
(fitted with 16 tooth fixed cog)
Continental Gatorskin tyre on front; Continental Gatorhardshell tyre on rear.
Ritchey Pro handlebars (40 cm) and Ritchey stem (80 mm).
Diatech Goldfinger brake lever; Shimano Ultegra brake calliper.
Ritchey Comp seat post (31.6mm). Brooks Swallow saddle.
Gear size with current set-up: 81 inches (16 tooth cog).


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MY  CINELLI FIXED GEAR TRACK BIKE




This is the latest photo of my Cinelli track bike (taken 21st August 2018)


CINELLI VIGORELLI COLUMBUS ALUMINIUM FRAME WITH CARBON FORKS - 50cm .


The frame was purchased from Wiggle in 2017.
 
Miche Primato Chainset and bottom bracket.
(not the one shown in the photo)
Campagnolo Record vintage pedals and toe clips, with Christophe toe straps.
Mavic Open 4D rim on front, built on Shimano Dura Ace 7700 hub.
Halo Aerorage rim on rear with Miche Primato large flange, double sided track hub.
(fitted with 15 tooth fixed cog)
Continental Gatorskin tyre on front; Continental GP4000S 11 tyre on rear.
Ritchey handlebars (40 cm) and Ritchey stem (80 mm).
Diatech Goldfinger brake lever; Shimano Ultegra brake calliper.
Ritchey Comp seat post (31.6mm). Rolls San Marco saddle.
Gear size with current set-up: 86 inches (15 tooth cog).

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MY  RIBBLE ROAD BIKE

The frame was purchased on Ebay in August 2018

Reynolds 653 frame tubing - 50cm







Front wheel: Mavic MA40 on Shimano Dura Ace hub (this has replaced the one shown in the photo)
Rear wheel: Mavic Open Pro on Shimano 105 hub
Tyres: Continental Gatorskin clincher on front wheel; Michelin Power All Season clincher on rear wheel
Bottom bracket: Campagnolo Centaur
Chainset: Campagnolo Daytona with TA 42 tooth single chainring*
Pedals: Campagnolo Record vintage
Toe clips: Campagnolo
Toe Straps: Christophe
Rear mech: Shimano Ultegra
Bar end gear lever for rear mech: Shimano Ultegra 8 speed, running in either index or friction mode
Seatpost: Ritchey Comp
Saddle: Brooks Swallow
Headset: Campagnolo Record 1" threaded
Handlebars and stem: Cinelli vintage
Brake levers: Shimano aero vintage
Brake Callipers: Campagnolo Athena
Cables: Jagwire black
Chain: KMC 8 speed
Handlebar tape; BBB black