Early daysMy first proper bike was built by Tom Board. I still remember his reaction when I insisted on a 26 1/2'' frame: What a stupid idea, you need a 25''!
But I got my way, nearly, he put an extra cross-bar in the middle of it 'to strengthen' this gate of a frame. I soon found out that he had been right (of course) and I got him to make me my first racing frame of 25'', which I then kitted out with Campag Super Record.
What a joy to ride a proper bike! I immediately got hooked started to go on long rides and soon after joined my first cycling club, the Lea Valley.
This was probably in 84 or 85. This was also the time I rode the Paris-Roubaix randonnee for the first time. Don't know how I finished in 8 1/2 hours but this was probably due to ignorance winning over experience.
Here I am riding the Eastway league (white and blue jersey, on the left), or possibly one of the weekend races.A rare picture of Paddington track, sadly no more! Apparently it was about to get an overhaul, new surface etc. to bring it up to international standard, when the local residents objected, presumably with visions of raucous cycle race supporters keeping them awake at night! My last race there was a 20 k points race where a large part of the bunch ended up in ambulances. The surface was a bit bumpy!
Sonic Cycles was bornwhen I decided to learn to build frames to measure. In those days steel was still the top material for this purpose, even though it seems to be making a comeback.
Previously I tought myself to build wheels and maintain my racing machine, having become fed up with relying on bike shops. My bike needed to be in top condition for the races.
The first year frame building was very successful, making about 50 frames.
Soon after that I met Stuart who was planning to open a bike shop in central London and we thought it a great idea to team up. From punctures to frame repairs, all on the premises! Amazingly he's still there and Bikefix still one of the more unusual bikeshops out there.Then cheap but light aluminium frames flooded the market and fewer people realised how good steel frames were compared with mass produced aluminium frames. Then carbon fibre became more common, still mostly manufactured by big companies. As I had already started sourcing new and interesting bike components, I decided to expand that part of the business. Initially it was needle bearing head sets and Tufo tubulars and tubular clinchers.
After running my own shop off Albany Street for about a year, I realised my love lay with supplying good quality cycle components that were not readily available and concentrated on import and distribution. This is where we are now.
I still haven't forgotten how to make frames and did run a sort of workshop with some friends last year (2009). Maybe I will do it again some time.
More recentlyI have been trying to impart my knowledge to people when teaching at the Cycle Systems Academy in Islington. This is run by Sean and Julia Lally with the aim of creating enough competent mechanics to staff the bikeshops of the UK. We all know this is a good thing.
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