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« Designing Bikes for Women | Main | Large Printable Posters »

Rescue Bike

Maintaining this blog is not always easy, but I will say there are times when it is highly rewarding. On the last piece I wrote, Andy commented “You might find this interesting.” There was a link to Retro Bike Forum, in the UK.

Over there a poster calling himself Marty P, wrote about a 1975 ‘dave moulton’ track bike, he found at his local dump. The bike missing its tubular tires is otherwise complete, and in reasonable condition for its age. I posted my own comments on the forum and asked for the frame serial number.

Marty then emailed me with the following story:

I run a smallish bicycle 'recycling' business on the side, in Hampshire, England and frequently come across rare, unusual and interesting vintage machines in the process...

So yesterday, at my local tip (Dump.) and found two 'racers' put aside for me. The first a nice complete 60's Claud Butler which is nice enough I guess, but behind it was poking out a rear track end which obviously caught my eye and my eye followed up the dusty gold tubing to reveal the words 'dave moulton' in a sober black lower-case type-face... Amazing what people will throw away.

£40 (British Pounds, about $62 US Dollars) for the pair changed hands and, back at work I could see what I had. A smallish un-drilled track frame and forks in gold with black lug lining, Cinelli stem, Cinelli Giro Bars, Campy 2-bolt Record Post, Selle Italia Condor Suede saddle, Campy Pista Crankset, Spanish Pista Pedals (inc a leather strap from an old LBS 'Jim Guard' cycles) and a pair of 27" Track Wheels with large flange Campy Record track hubs and 'Daisy' Tub Rims... 

Another contributor to the Retro Bike Forum mentioned an article I wrote in 1976 and published in the British “Cycling” weekly. By coincidence I had just posted a link to a PDF copy of this very same article on this blog. There was even a picture in the article of a similar looking track bike.

I started to get a little excited, “Could this be the same bike?” When Marty sent the serial number, and I looked it up in my record book, it was indeed the same bike.

It was built for a top British female rider, Margaret (Maggie) Gordon Smith. At that time a member of the Evesham Wheelers, a club in Worcestershire.

Margaret Gordon Smith’s specialty on the track was the Pursuit, over 3000m. She won the British National Championship in 1977 and again in 1978 beating big names such as Beryl Burton and her daughter Denise, Brenda Atkinson and Catherine Swinnerton.

Outside the UK, she rode in 1971, 1977 and 1978 track and road World Championships and gained third place overall in the 3-day Tour Feminine based at Le Havre, France in 1978.

Maggie was one of several local top amateur riders I supported. It was a two-way-street, these top riders being seen on my bikes was very good for business. It brought in a lot of orders, especially if a picture appeared in Cycling magazine. It is the reason the ‘dave moulton’ name is on both the down tube and seat tube of this bike. It was done for maximum exposure.

It was also the original reason I chose the bold all lower case lettering for my decals. Easy to read, and showed up well in photos. I got the idea from British road signs that were in a similar font style. Even my four “m” logo was easily recognizable and showed up in a head on shot photo.

There were strict rules in the 1970s regarding amateur status, and I could not publish the names top amateur riders using my frames, or even show a picture of them linked to an article like the one afore mentioned. They would have lost their amateur status even though I only gave them a frame, and never paid them any money. It is the reason Maggie’s head is cut off in the article. (Picture above.)

It saddens me that that the average Joe cannot see beyond two wheels and pedals. They casually toss a rare item like this on the scrap heap, to be buried in a land fill, or melted down for scrap. Thank goodness there are others like Marty who look out for these bikes and rescue them.

This bike has a past, and now a documented history. With a top female athalete as its engine, this bike won important races. Track bikes I built are rare, they were built to be raced on the track. I didn’t build that many.

Also track bikes are not like road bikes. Lugged steel is still used on velodromes. This being a very small frame would fit some up and coming youngster. Someone aspiring follow in the tread marks of a former champion like Margaret Gordon Smith.


Footnote: Here is a picture that showed up after I posted this piece. Margaret winning the 1977 British Pursuit Title on this very same bike.


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Reader Comments (26)

I'd be interested to learn just how Ms. Smith's bike wound up in a trash tip. I somehow doubt it was she who consigned it there. Perhaps she may want it back?

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermike w.

That thought occurred to me, but I am not a person to suspect the worst. As far as I know Margaret Gordon Smith still lives in the Midlands area of the UK, and this bike was found in Hampshire in the south. It was probably sold some years ago.

December 31, 2014 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

Amazing Dave! Hope you can contact her and get the story from her side.

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

Cool story - it definitely demonstrates the value of your blog and the internet in connecting people and their stories.

Happy New Year Dave and to all his loyal fans!

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJack

Dave. You could try Facebook amazing how many old mates I have found on that. Also The Birmingham History Forum if she ever lived in Brum. Graham Webb a TRUE Brummie is on that, He was World Champ around that time. I will ask him if he knows her. HAPPY NEW YEAR.

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

I love to hear stories of old race bikes being found and resuced ! I take the back I love to hear about "dave moultons" of any kind being found ! Great Find Marty P. and thanks once again Dave for your research and post !

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTexasTwister

Dave, I have forwarded this article to an Evesham Wheeler friend of mine. Maybe he's in touch with her.
Thanks for another great year of interesting blogs. Happy New Year!

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJW

A fascinating post. What surprises me is that whoever threw this bike away didn't take a minute to do an internet search and discover the pedigree of a Dave Moulton frame. Of course, I'd love to be the beneficiary of such a rash move someday!
Happy New year to you Dave, and to all of your followers.

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMartin W

You may remember an article I wrote a few weeks back about another track bike I built, and owned by Fast Eddie, a pretty famous New York City Bike Messenger.
Apparrently the bike was recently stolen, so please be on the look out for it, and put the word out on social media, etc.
Here is the article, with pictures.

And there is a picture of Eddie and me here: http://davesbikeblog.squarespace.com/blog/2014/11/14/my-philly-new-york-city-trip.html
Thanks, Dave.

January 1, 2015 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

I can't believe that such a complete bike, with Campag inch pitch and Campag hubs, could just be discarded in the tip. The chainset alone must be worth a few hundred quid. My guess would be that it has been nicked and the thief got worried and chucked it in the tip before he got nicked by the Old Bill!

January 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJack

Maggie Thompson (nee Gordon Smith) here. I definitely recognize the track bike with it’s champagne / gold colour and Dave Moulton decals.

I heard about Dave’s Blog and the Retro Bike Forum through Val Taylor, widow of Gordon Taylor from the Evesham & District Wheelers Cycling Club. I am delighted to hear the track bike has been found and rescued by someone with a real care and interest in bicycles and I am also very touched at the recording on the blogs of my cycle racing career.

I started cycling with the Evesham & District Wheelers Cycling Club in 1968 initially for social cycling. Soon Gordon Taylor and other club members convinced me I should have a go at riding time trial races. I was soon ‘hooked’ to competitive cycling. With the aid of Kate and Roy Packwood I was introduced to track racing and competed in my first 3000m National Pursuit in 1971 in the colours of the Evesham & District Wheelers Cycling Club where I gained the bronze medal. I gained the bronze medal successively in 1972 to 1974 and in 1975 gained the silver in a very narrowly fought battle against Denise Burton who beat me by .05 of a second.

Around 1972/3, I joined the Beacon Roads Cycling Club in order to join a ladies team and we broke several competition records in RTTC time trials.

In 1975, Andy Thompson, who later became my husband, was working with Dave Moulton at their little workshop at Deblins Green, between Worcester and Malvern. When I started riding Dave Moulton’s track frame, the first thing I said was, ‘I can breathe’. My previous frames had used inappropriate seat angles that cramped my breathing. This frame had a much steeper seat angle (77°) enabling me to alter my seating position so that I could breathe more easily. Prior to this frame, I could be heard wheezing on the other side of the track!

It was after I married Andy Thompson and became Margaret Thompson that I won the ladies 3000m National Pursuit titles in 1977 and 1978, coached by my husband Andy. Dave will remember the wedding between Andy and myself as he also attended it. I raced in the colours of Gannett Cycling Club, which is based between Malvern and Hereford.

The 3-day Tour Feminine in 1978 was my best international performance where I was placed 3rd overall and also took Queen of the Mountains.

I am very sad to hear the bicycle was found on a scrap heap. I think I recall the bicycle being sold after I retired from cycle racing in 1978, when Andy Thompson and I set up The Thompson Bicycle Company Ltd in Huddersfield, which we ran for 3 years. I’m sure the track bike would have been sold to an enthusiast at the time and I’m very glad to hear it has now been rescued. Where I live in Stourbridge, West Midlands, there are several recycling organisations rescuing discarded bikes. One is City-Can-Cycle in Dudley, West Midlands and the other is Spokes of Kidderminster, Worcestershire.

The best times I did for time trials were:

10 miles 24.10 mins
25 miles 1.1.59 hours
50 miles 2.14.11 hours
100 miles 4.58.52 hours

My fastest time for 3000m pursuit was 4.7.99 minutes at the 1978 World Championships in Munich in 1978. Not very fast when compared to today’s times but then there were no disc wheels, skin suits were only just coming in and diet was not as important as it is today. I was also holding down a full-time job as well as competing at this level.

I still cycle at club level with Stourbridge Cycling club, Stourbug and with my partner, Steve. In 2013 I finished the last of 3 stages of Lands End to John O’Groats on my own as I was still working full time and had limited holiday periods. Although now semi-retired, I run a small business teaching Laughter Yoga. Andy Thompson and I parted in 1989 and I have grown up twin boys and a total of 4 grandchildren.

I do hope the Dave Moulton track bike has now found a loving home and will be cherished. It would be ideal for a youngster wanting to try track racing or a lady rider.

January 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret Thompson

Glad to see the grapevine works!

January 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJW

Hi Maggie,
Thank you for posting your potted history - an engaging read and fantastic to hear, adding real context to my latest 'Keeper'! The bike will now take pride of place in my collection and will be recommissioned sympathetically - keeping the originality and history in tact...

If you are ever in the Hampshire area and would like to be repatriated with the bike, that would be great - i'm sure Dave can put us in touch if you feel like it...

Many thanks,

January 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMartin Piper 'MartyP'

Thank you Martin.

January 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie Thompson

Amazing! Reading Margarets answer. She states Kate and Roy Packwood, could this be the same KATE or KATH and ROY PACKWOOD with the Midland C&AC that ALSO started ME on my cycling life? ROY PACKWOOD lived next door to me on Moat Lane in Yardley, He was a life long member of the Midand C&AC you can read MY web page, (John Cump Cyclist Reminis) on the Peter Underwood site you will see a photo of Roy and my mention of this. I also note that Margarets TT times, where about the same as mine when I started racing in 1950! IF this is the same Packwood I am very proud to say the least . Roy passed away many years ago Kate(Kath) also passed on three years ago and she was still a member, as I am of the Midland C&AC. By the way the club is havig its 125th Anny in April 2015, IF Margaret is interested she can Email me at Crumpy6204@aol.com

January 5, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

In response to John Crump, it was the same Kate and Roy Packwood. I have attended several MC&AC club dinners with Kate Packwood and Kate and I often attended the Evesham & District Wheelers club dinners too. After Roy's death in 1972 the Evesham & District Wheelers ran an open Ladies 10-mile time trial annually in April in his memory. I finally managed to win it around about 1986 or 1987 when I came out of retirement specifically to ride it.

January 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie Thompson

Roy was allways quite a promoter of cycling. As I said he lived next door to me on Moat Lane in Yardley in the late 1940 early 1950s. He had a brother Dennis about my age and twin sisters Joan and ? I do know, that as you said Roy passed on and I also know that Dennis did also, do you know if his sisters are still alive? I fully credit Roy for MY cycling life. I am still at 81 yrs young riding 7-8k miles a year. I am still in contact will the club, even though I now live in Parker, Colorado USA I still ride a 1953 Rotrax most days. I often wish that I had kept racing after my 2 yrs in the RAF when I way 18, maybe I would have been a pro like many of my clubmates. Les Wilmott and John Pottier they are still around, but Les I understand is not doing to good now, Good to hear from you and the notes about Roy and Kate Pakwood. Congrats on your VERY impresive accomplishments, I would love to have the Moulton for my self.

January 5, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

www.merriemaggie.co.uk for you SERIOUS types. Have a chuckle and JOIN IN if you can. This gal WAS a WORLD CHAMP knows how to live life. WELL DONE MAGGIE. Wish I could join your group.

January 5, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

In re reading Maggie's notes, I am intrigued now, by the seat angle of the frame and her notes about breathing. I begin to see now why Eileen Sheridan rode so far forward over her bars. Women indeed do need different frame angles. I have allways thought the opposite, a slaker seat angle and riding behind the BB. I have noticed women riding on our local bike paths also riding more forward and using different toe angles when pedaling, This is where bike builders true art comes into play.

January 5, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

I must say this is one of the best comment threads I've read!

January 5, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterlemmiwinks

= 1 for this comment;

"I must say this is one of the best comment threads I've read!"

No need to add any more.

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKeith. British Columbia

Absolutely incredible !

January 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony C.

this blog is so cool! so COOL!! SO COOL!!!

March 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMircea Andrei Ghinea

I am the late Roy and Kate's niece ( Roy's brother Dennis being my father)
I am trying to find out more about them as Roy died when I was very young and he was never really spoke about

October 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTishie

I am the late Roy and Kate's niece ( Roy's brother Dennis being my father)
I am trying to find out more about them as Roy died when I was very young and he was never really spoke about

October 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTishie

Joan smith nee packwood and Betty Moran nee packwood died within 3 yrs of my uncle ...greatly missed .xx keep up the good work with this blog ...I'm fascinated

October 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTishie
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