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The significance of a decade ending in nine

I came to the United States in January 1979, exactly forty years ago. For me it was a life changing move, an act of truly starting over. It was sometime in the years that followed I realized there had been a significant, often life changing event that had occured in my life, every decade on the year ending in nine.

This could be traced back all the way to September 1939 when I was just three and a half years old. It was the month WWII started and my father left to go to war. I have absolutely no memory of this, but just two weeks later my mother gave birth to my sister, and my elder brother and I went to stay with my aunt and uncle for a couple of weeks.

I have a vivid memory of this visit, in spite of my age.  My uncle was a chauffeur for Lord Farringdon. He lived on the estate of Buscot Park, in Oxfordshire. He and my aunt lived in a flat (Apartment.) above the garages were the Rolls Royce’s were kept. The estate is now open to the public and the Garages are now the ticket office where visitors start their tour.

I never went inside Buscot House (Below.) but walked by the front steps and explored the whole park with my brother and cousin. We went fishing in the lake there, and I remember catching a small fish. I remember a rose garden that sloped down to the lake, with a sundial in the center.

When WWII ended in 1945 and my father returned, he had a hard time keeping a steady job, and we moved every year. This played havoc with my schooling. In 1946, 1947, and 1948 we lived in different places often hundreds of miles apart.

Dave 1949By 1949 I was 13 years old and we moved to Luton, an industrial town just 30 miles north of London. My mother finally said she was through moving and we settled there. I caught up with my education, got a scholarship to an Engineering Technical School, which lead to an engineering apprenticeship.

Luton was also where I started cycling. Joined a club and started racing at 16 years old. It was where I met Pop Hodge and started dabbling in framebuilding, and look where that lead. Luton was definitely a life changing move.

In 1959, now 23 years old, an adult and able to make my own choices. On a quite sudden whim while in between jobs, I decided to move north the Nottingham. It was there I later married in 1964, and we had two daughters. 

In 1969, still unaware of this ten year itch thing I had going, we upped and moved to Worcester. My original intentions were to find a simpler lifestyle in rural Worcestershire. A better environment to raise two small daughters.

As it happened Worcester was in the West Midlands, just south of Birmingham, and a hot bed of British cycle racing. This got me heavily involved in cycling and framebuilding again. Once again a life changing move.

Dave 1979In 1979 aged 43 I moved to America. My marriage had ended and it was a good time to make a complete break.

I later remarried.  Nothing happened in 1989, except my second wife left, so I guess that is significant, but not altogether life changing. Anyway I was aware if this ten year cycle thing by now.

I left the bike biz in 1993, moved to Eugene, Oregon in 1994. Met my wife Kathy there and married in October, 1998. Now I could have waited a few months and married in 1999, but you can’t manipulate fate, and for what other reason would I do that?

We moved to Charleston, South Carolina in 2001. We are still here and nothing significant happened in 2009. However, here we are on the dawn of 2019 and we are considering moving inland. Charleston is a beautiful area and we love it here, but the secret is out and there are getting to be too many people. Traffic is horrendous, and it will only get worse.

We are looking at rural areas near Greenville, South Carolina. Listed as a bicycle friendly city by the League of American Wheelmen. It could happen this year, but not be to fulfil some prophecy, but because the time is right. It will just be a coincidence that it happened on a year ending in nine, which is how I feel it has always been. An interesting coincidence.


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Reader Comments (10)

Greenville, S.C., would be a good choice. Nice town, nice scenery, can get to the mountains quickly and an Interstate through the city if you need to travel.

Say hello to George Hincapie.

January 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTBR

Great story Dave, You should write a book!!!!!

January 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony J Crump

I did the reverse and moved to the UK (from Canada after six years in the US) around the same age. A change is as good as a rest, they say.

I think the county is spelled Oxfordshire? Not far from me, as is one of the schools you went to.

[Oxfordshire typo fixed. Thanks, Dave.]

January 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSteve P

That's a sharp-looking young fella back in 1949! What is the device attached above the left brake lever?

[It's a bell, Dave.]

January 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTony

Please excuse my curiosity, but what did you do in Oregon? Maybe you'll humor me here? I did buy a John Howard in 1985.

When I left the bike biz in 1993 I took a job as a Welding Production Manager with a company in Orange County, that made Bowling Equipment. In 1994 they moved to Springfield, Oregon, and I went with them. Dave.

January 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDonald Baskin

Hi Dave
Is that a light attached the right rear seat stay?

Yes, a battery rear light, set to ride on the left side of the road. Dave.

January 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLance Hull


Is that bike a Raleigh Lenton? Have you ever written about the bikes of your youth?

January 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterED

My first bike was a Raleigh but not a Lenton.I have sent Dave a photo of it. I am about three years older than Dave and I came over in 1957 Dave and I have similar backgrounds, I lived in Yardley that is south of Brum by the now Brum Intl A/P I rode the Malverns and all the lanes around Worcester WUSTER as we called it. DAVE I keep saying Mate, You need to share your wonderful lie with all We dont live forever mate. I am sure you could get a publisher financing. John Crump

January 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony J Crump

Dave, John Crump doesn't mean that you should share "your wonderful LIE." He means life. John's spelling is suspect but he's right about none of us living forever.

January 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMaynard Hershon

Old age takes its tole SORRY DAVE Of course I meant LIFE!!!!! Thanks for the correction Maynard FERGUSON!!!!!

January 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Crump

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