Dave Moulton

More pictures of my past work can be viewed in the Photo Gallery on the Owner's Registry. A link is in the navigation bar at the top

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Off to the Races

Up until the mid 1960s many cyclists in England did not own a car; to get to a race they had to ride their bike. Just like the cyclist in the picture above, sprint rims and tubular tires (Sprints and Tubs.) were too expensive for everyday use, and were reserved for racing only.

Training and commuting to work were done on HP tires. (Clinchers.) The racing wheels were carried on two wheel carriers attached to the front wheel axel; the wheels then fastened to the handlebars with a pair of toe straps. These wheels and tires were only used for the duration of the event.

Time-trials always took place at the crack of dawn, so it was usually dark when the cyclist left home; the rider above has a battery lamp clipped to his handlebars. Also note the bike has mudguards and a rear luggage rack; these would be removed before the race, and re-fitted after for the ride home. Below is another innovative way to get to an event.

The pictures are from the Bernard Thompson collection. Bernard, who died in recent years, was a freelance cycling photographer whose pictures appeared in Cycling Magazine, from the 1950s through the 1980s. More great photos can be seen on CyclingInfo.co.uk/blog.

Bernard Thompson probably made most of his income selling prints to non-famous club riders. There would be 120 riders in most open time-trials; his strategy was to stand at a point where riders slowed to do a u-turn in the road and had to call out their race number to an event marshal.

He took a picture, noted the rider's race number, and then got the rider's names and addresses from the race organizer. Sending out a mass-mailing, he probably sold close to 120 prints every weekend. It was special for a regular club rider to get a nice picture by a professional photographer.

The picture above is of me riding in the National Championship 12 Hour Time-Trial in 1953. You won't find it in this collection, but it is a Bernard Thompson photograph. It is one of the many thousands taken by him over the years.
I remember Bernard Thompson taking that picture as clear as if it were yesterday. I was about an hour into the event and this was the first turn. (On the Great North Road somewhere near Biggleswade, I think.) I was out of the saddle picking up speed again when I saw him take the shot.
Right after he took it, I nodded and gave him a little smile. I had no idea who he was, so I was thrilled the following week when I got a note in the mail from Bernard Thompson, the famous “Cycling” photographer.


Welcome to Dave’s New Blogsite


All the 274 posts from the old blogger site have been copied and transfered over here, along with the comments, so they are in both places. However, comments have been discontinued on the old site, but you can comment on old posts over here. And of course new posts will be added over here, there will be no more on blogger.

This site has my extended bio on its own page; there is also a “Discussion” page where you can post comments or questions about this new site, or on just about anything bike related. The links are top, left.

There is an “Archives” page and later I will categorize every post by subject. Also, as time permits and I learn how everything works, I will add a “Picture Gallery” page for bikes, and there will be a page where you can upload and send me photos and files.

Please remember to switch to http://davesbikeblog.squarespace.com in your RSS feed and those who linked to me on your blog please make the change. At the time of writing this I am still in the process of tranfering my links over.

Moving is a lot of work, even if it is just a virtual move.

Udate Monday 21st

I couldn't have picked a worse time to switch. After working all weekend to get the site looking the way I liked and transfering all the previous posts over from Blogger; early this morning Sqarespace, (My new host.) changed over to a new and improved version, and now I have to start over again and create a new layout.

Oh well, whoever said life was easy, please bear with me, and normal service will be resumed shortly, I hope.



A restored 1977 English built frame

I recently received a email with pictures from Rod Taylor, who lives in England. Rod is the original owner of a frame I built for him in 1977. In his message he wrote:

“Out of all my bikes, road, track, audax, touring, roadster, cyclo-cross, hybrid, mountain, my 1960 Dave Davey and 1977 Dave Moulton stand out as my favorites.

Last year I gave the frames to Dave Yates for renovation, the Dave Davey as a track bike was simpler to restore, but I took the decision to equip the Dave Moulton with the newer Campag gear.

The rear ends were increased to 130mm and new gear brazings fitted. Although I was using the latest components to rebuild it, I didn't choose carbon parts as I believed Campagnolo Mirage alloy would be more in keeping.

The finishing touches were added by employing a company in Cambridge to copy the transfers / decals, and the original orange Unica saddle has been retained. I am extremely pleased with the results of both machines, I love steel frames”

Thirty-one years old, in dog years that would be 217. I’m not sure what the ratio is for old bicycle frames. Maybe 2-1, sixty-two would be a reasonable guess.

I whole-heartedly approve of Rod’s decision to build this bike up with modern equipment and keep riding it. Rather than keep it as a museum piece.

The interesting thing I notice is that the bike does not look odd, with the old frame and modern components. I have seen several Fuso bikes re-built this way.

I think the reason is, by the mid 1970s I had established my own frame design, which at the time was out of sync with what other builders were doing.

However, I stuck with what I believed in, and this would become the standard design I would use on my American built frames of the 1980s. (John Howard, Fuso, and Recherché.)

An interesting footnote. Rod still has the original brochure from 1977 when he ordered the frame, he sent me a photocopy.

Click on the picture to view a larger image. Look at item 2: Shot-in seatstays. This is what is referred to in the US as “Fast Back” seatstays. Of course, they are no faster; it is just another way to attach seatstays.

The Dave Davy track frame (Mentioned above.) that Rod had restored along with the ‘dave moulton,’ can be viewed here. Scroll down the page to see pictures of this frame in white, along with photos of Rod Taylor riding the same bike in 1966 time-trials.

This is on the Classic Lightweights UK site; an interesting source for pictures and info on vintage British lightweights.


Please don’t make the bicycle a political issue

When Dan Schleifer sent me a link to a site called Tree Hugger, running a story called “Why do Republicans Hate Bicycles,” my first reaction was, “I am not going to touch this with a ten foot pole.”

I am not a citizen of this country, therefore I cannot vote, and I usually stay as far away from politics as I can. My feeling is, I am a guest in the US, and as such it is not proper for me to voice an opinion on American politics.

However, I will say this much. I hate extreme politics on both sides, and here you have the two extremes. On the one side, a site called “Tree Hugger” with the subtitle, “Unchecked Environmentalism.” (The very epitome of Liberalism.)

On the other side, a video of a republican politician going off on an anti-bicycle rant, simply because the bicycle is seen as something “green” and left wing, and therefore is open to ridicule.

The two extremes cancel each other out; people on opposite ends of the political spectrum reading the article and viewing the video are not going to move an inch towards each other’s point of view. In fact, stuff like this drives the two sides further apart.

I hate that the bicycle is made out to be something political. I have stated here before, if automobiles ran on pixie dust and had zero carbon emissions, I would still ride a bicycle. I am a cyclist, and riding a bicycle is a love and a passion.

Forget the burning of fossil fuel for a moment, even if we overcome that issue; the bicycle is still a more civilized form of transport. It eases congestion; one person on a bike is taking far less space on the road than one person in a car who is taking up the space of four to six people.

It is less dangerous to other road users, and more bicycles on the road, with the resulting less cars would make it safer for everyone. It is a wonderful form of exercise, and it is fun. When is driving a car fun?

These are the real benefits of cycling. Riding a bicycle to ease the dependency on foreign oil is not what the majority of Americans want to hear. If we think, everyone in the US is going to dump their cars overnight and start riding a bike, either to save the planet or save America, think again. It is not going to happen.

Sell the idea that cycling is fun, and it is good for you, not keep cramming the green, environmentally friendly idea down people’s throats. All that does is it makes people feel guilty, and that makes them angry and sends them off on an anti-cycling rant like Representative Patrick McHenry.

I am sure all republicans don’t hate bicycles; even George Bush rides one. But if the Democrats make cycling a political issue, then naturally the Republicans are going to oppose and ridicule the idea, because that is what politicians do.

In the long run, is this going to help the cause of cycling?


Tagged once more

I’ve been tagged again, this time by Ron over at Cozy Beehive. The idea is to write six random, unknown things about me. Then tag six other people to do the same.

Here is my six:

1.) As a child during the 1940s I lived in a house in England with no electricity and no water piped into the house. Water was brought in by bucket from a communal well outside. Lighting was by oil lamp and candles. My mother cooked with a coal fired range and baked wonderful pies and cakes. She did so without a thermometer on the oven.

She ironed with a flat iron also heated on the stovetop. She would spit on the iron to test the temperature; the spit would boil and run off immediately if it was hot enough. She had a pair of flat irons; one would be heating while she ironed with the other for a minute or so before it cooled.

2.) As an eighteen year old in the mid 1950s, an older drunk man, probably in his forties, picked a fight with me. I hit him and he fell backward through the plate glass window of a television shop. It was the early hours of Sunday morning and the noise was deafening. The last I saw of the drunk, he was lying on his back amongst the TV sets, with his legs in the air.

I took off running, and was chased by two American Military Police, in a Jeep. They pulled along side me, and when they saw I was not an American Serviceman, they stopped and gave up the chase. I made it home without further incident. Later the local newspaper told the story of a broken store window mystery, and that nothing was stolen. There was no mention of the drunk guy; I guess he was not seriously hurt, and had left the scene.

There was a large American Air Force Base, near where I lived and the Military Police would patrol the streets, but had no jurisdiction over the civilian populous. We called them "Snow Drops" because they wore white helmets, reminding us of a British wild flower that has white bell shaped petals and is called a Snow Drop.

3.) When I built frames in Worcester, England, in the 1970s; I shared the business premises with a car body repair man named Roger Brown. Roger had lost an arm (Above the elbow.) as a child after falling from a tree.

He would replace his prosthetic arm with a hook when he worked and there was not much that he couldn't do while working on cars, in spite of his handicap. However, he couldn't do some simple tasks, and would come to me, to roll up his shirt sleeve on his good arm, or to tie his shoe lace. We take for granted the simple every-day tasks that require two hands.

4.) In 1980 while working for Paris Sport in New Jersey I had a job interview with Trek; they flew me out to their factory in Wisconsin. I didn't get the job, which turned out okay because later that same year I landed a job with Masi, in Southern California. I have nothing against Wisconsin, but I dislike very cold winters, and later when I started my own business, one of the reasons it was successful was because of my location in So. Cal.

5.) In the late 1980s I was approached by Fila, the sports clothing company. They where interested in a line of bicycles with the Fila name on them. Two people from the company came to my shop to look at my operation, and we talked about my building these frames. They must have dropped the idea, I never heard back, and I don't recall anyone else making a Fila bike.

6.) When I left the bike business in 1993 I took a job with a company that made bowling equipment. I designed metal furniture for bowling centers, also ball racks, and a ball return machine. I oversaw the manufacture of these and other equipment.

There’s my six. It was extremely tough for me to come up with six stories that I had not previously written about. I was first tagged in December of 2006 and then again just a year ago in July of 2007. In addition, I have written about many of my life’s experiences elsewhere in this blog. Still others became part of my novel Prodigal Child.

If I am tagged again I may have no choice but to decline, as much as I would hate to do that. I am simply running out of stories. I am going to tag six people who have been kind enough to link to my blog and are listed on the side bar here.

Biking Brit
Cycling Addict
Movit Fred
Something Maybe
Ultra Rob