cycling in the sixties

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cycling in the sixties

Postby 531colin » 14 Jan 2019, 4:54pm

Who remembers cycling in the sixties?
West Kent CTC was my introduction to "club" cycling in about 1963.
I started reminiscing because people now can't believe that I cycle without padded shorts/padded underwear/what have you.
I don't remember it coming up in conversation, but I think in the sixties touring cyclists wore ordinary shorts and regular underwear. I certainly did, and still do. I went from "playing out" on my bike as a kid to riding to school to hostelling, riding with the club and to work and night school.
You could get touring shorts with a double seat, but that was so they didn't wear out, it wasn't for comfort. Racing cyclists wore tight (wool?) shorts with a chamois crotch (wash-leather).
I started with whatever I could cobble together from second-hand clubman's bikes from a decade or more earlier. Steel rims, sidepull brakes, cottered single chainset, 5 gears of the pre-parallelogram type. It cracks me up when people talk about austerity these days, when half the population are obese and more than half expect to travel everywhere in a car which can comfortably seat 5 adults. I remember going to the sweet shop with my ration book, and patching inner tubes by the roadside because you only had one spare tube.
By the time I had been at work for a year or two, I bought myself a made to measure 531 bike with cantilever brakes and a double clanger, although still cottered. The old bike was relegated to a fixed-wheel hack for work.
I think the best properly new thing "in my time" is clipless pedals. There have been some useful developments in other bits of the machine*, and lots of shiny frippery. Modern materials are wonderful, but I miss the way we would all stop and put our capes on (or off) at the same time.

*better tyres, alloy box section rims, stainless spokes, better brakes, really low gears, LED lights

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Re: cycling in the sixties

Postby Mick F » 14 Jan 2019, 5:07pm

531colin wrote:Who remembers cycling in the sixties?
I've been cycling since the early/mid 50s.
Never been part of the "cycling scene" at all, even now and no interest. I joined the CTC for the insurance - nothing else.

I didn't buy cycling-specific clothing or shoes until the late 80s, and even then it wasn't much. First thing was a yellow plastic cape.
First helmet was 2005, and last one (third) hasn't been worn for years.
Cycling shoes, I've had four pairs, two pairs of which are still in regular use.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: cycling in the sixties

Postby thirdcrank » 14 Jan 2019, 5:12pm

... I remember going to the sweet shop with my ration book ...

That ended in 1953

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Re: cycling in the sixties

Postby tatanab » 14 Jan 2019, 5:27pm

I started club riding (CTC) in 1968 aged 16. I had been solo riding for some years before that, primarily as an excuse to get out of the house on a Sunday. It was 2 or 3 years before I got my first 531 frame or a cotterless chainset, all passed down through the local riders.

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Re: cycling in the sixties

Postby mjr » 14 Jan 2019, 5:37pm

531colin wrote:Who remembers cycling in the sixties?

I wasn't about in the sixties. Therefore, it must have been terribly dull for all of you. ;-)

531colin wrote:Modern materials are wonderful, but I miss the way we would all stop and put our capes on (or off) at the same time.

If they won't stop while people add/remove waterproofs, isn't that just more club cyclists being antisocial ****s now? Or do you mean modern materials are giving off fumes which make them so or something?
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Re: cycling in the sixties

Postby brynpoeth » 14 Jan 2019, 6:01pm

531colin wrote:..
Modern materials are wonderful, but I miss the way we would all stop and put our capes on (or off) at the same time

Plus One, like synchronised swimming, riding in pairs, calling 'oil up!', stopping for tea
I think it had to do with discipline and military service, plusminus

I cycled as a child in the 1960s, started cycling "properly" 1973
Hope we have members with memories of cycling in the 1950s & 1940s too
Last edited by brynpoeth on 14 Jan 2019, 6:03pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: cycling in the sixties

Postby rjb » 14 Jan 2019, 6:02pm

thirdcrank wrote:
... I remember going to the sweet shop with my ration book ...

That ended in 1953

I remember going to the butcher with mine.

I was a schoolboy in the 1960's and couldn't afford proper cycling clothing. I rode around in jeans in the winter, bottoms tucked in my socks. When I bought my first pair of woolen cycle shorts I spent a whole ride in the rain with one hand holding them up. :oops: Next ride I used braces like everyone else. :lol:
I had an oilskin Cape too. No-one explained to me about the thumb loops. First wet ride my fellow teenagers suggested they were to loop around the brake levers. All was well until I came to a tight corner and couldn't get around, ending up over the pavement and through a hedge into someone's garden. :lol:
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Re: cycling in the sixties

Postby Hobbs1951 » 14 Jan 2019, 6:11pm

Joined the CTC in the late 1970s, we had a cycle touring club at school (featured in the CTC magazine, but just after I'd left). My first superbike was a Roberts which I still have (never had a pretend racer) - took a while to save for all the components though.

First pair of cycling specific shorts were black wool with a chamois insert and a pocket on the right buttock !

I ride occasionally with a few old-timer friends and they still shout oil up when required !


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Re: cycling in the sixties

Postby Paulatic » 14 Jan 2019, 6:21pm

I used to go out with Stockton Wheelers in the early fifties. Probably rode with the Taylor brothers but I’ve no recollection as I was a baby in a sidecar. :lol:
Joined BCF in 1964 but lived too far away to cycle with any groups.
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Re: cycling in the sixties

Postby merseymouth » 14 Jan 2019, 6:37pm

Hi all, Tatanab & I still both have 1950's tricycles, with xposed cables, clips & straps, friction gears and nice 5/6 speed blocks on our Diff Higgins'.
Who needs more? TTFN MM

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Re: cycling in the sixties

Postby ambodach » 14 Jan 2019, 7:21pm

Cannot remember exactly when I started but certainly cycled to school in the late 1940’s. Single speed dropped bar clunkers but all there was at the time. Went hosteling and bivvying in the 1950’s with those bikes and got a Flying Scot in 1955 which I still have. Clothing was what we wore anyway. No specialist gear. The world of cycling has certainly changed.

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Re: cycling in the sixties

Postby Oldjohnw » 14 Jan 2019, 8:57pm

Started as a boy in mid50s, second hand bike from the 1940s. I had a bike with the old lever and rod brakes. Proper bike in early 60s - I can't remember the make but it was second hand with 3 sturmey archer gears. I had a second-hand Raleigh, again with sturmey archer gears by the mid 60s and started long rides around Northumberland, up to 80 miles.

I started work in 1968 and soon bought a second hand 10(?) speed JRJ which I had for the next 15 years or so until it was stolen.

I have purchased three items of cycling clothing: a cape 50 years ago and more recently a pair of padded underwear plus a yellow waterproof, and several pairs of cycling gloves. And a helmet 18 years ago.

Cycling and recycling

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Re: cycling in the sixties

Postby fausto copy » 14 Jan 2019, 10:40pm

My Grandad built me a bike from left over parts from one of my Uncle's old machines.
It had a rod front brake and (I've since found out) a Resilion rear brake.
No gears, just a plain freewheel and some weird semi-drop handlebars.

I rode everywhere on it in the mid-60's and at one point it even sported an Esso tiger's tail 8)
I remember going to Chester with a mate once and seeing a real bike shop for the first time.
I just had enough pocket money to buy a handlebar-fitting drinks bottle and rack.

Never knew there was proper cycle clothing as everyone I knew were simply ordinary (!) cyclists.
Unless of course you mean a gaberdine mac and flat cap all the factory workers wore. :lol:


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Re: cycling in the sixties

Postby al_yrpal » 14 Jan 2019, 11:35pm

Got my first 24" sit up and beg in 1950, and a 21" frame Rivetts road bike in 1954 for passing the 11+. Joined the CTC and the Hainault RC in 1956, did my 100 in 8 in 1957 and some massed starts. Gave up cycling in 1960 when I discovered motorbikes cars and girls. Resumed cycling seriously in 2006 when diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. So I mostly missed the 60s. A Dad by 68... Love off road but getting a bit ancient for it. Fall off hurt myself and lie there unfound.

Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. CTC gone but not forgotten!

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Re: cycling in the sixties

Postby bikepacker » 15 Jan 2019, 11:29am

According to my mother (I was too young to remember) I did my first solo bike tour at the age of 4 that would be in 1947. Since then I have never been without a bike to ride so that mean I have so far been cycling for 71 years. And hope to go on for many more.
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