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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