Dave Moulton

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Friday
Jul252008

A good reason not to ride on the sidewalk

An acquaintance recently started riding a bike. When he told me he was riding on the sidewalk, I explained this was not a good idea.

Most bicycle accidents occur at intersections and riding on the sidewalk actually increases the risk of being hit, because the cyclist is less visible to drivers of motor vehicles.

He said he was afraid to ride on the road because he might be hit from behind. I told him that car drivers will not hit cyclists as long as they can see them. I could tell at the time he was not convinced, and I warned him to be extremely careful.

About a week ago he was riding his bike on the sidewalk, going in the wrong direction; a car was stopped in a parking lot a short distance back from the road. As he approached, the car suddenly shot forward.

In all probability the driver was looking in the direction of traffic, saw a gap and drove forward to merge into traffic, not expecting a cyclist to be coming along the sidewalk from the opposite direction.

He didn’t actually hit the vehicle, but a combination of braking hard while trying to swerve around behind the car, sent him flying over the handlebars landing heavily on his back.

Police and paramedics were called and he was taken to a local hospital. He has severe bruising, and has since had to return to the hospital and have blood and fluid drained from a large swelling on his back.

He contacted a lawyer who checked the local city laws, and surprise, surprise, it is illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk. He has no legal claim what-so-ever.

So, even though motorists will constantly yell at you to get on the sidewalk, and even though police will usually ignore you and not stop you riding there; it is not a good idea to ride on the sidewalk.

Besides being extremely dangerous, if you are involved in an accident, in most cities you are breaking the law and you do not have a legal leg to stand on. Insurance companies are not going to pay, and you may even find that you may have to pay damages.

Or, as this person has found out the hard way, in addition to his pain and suffering, he will now have to face some hefty medical bills.


 

Wednesday
Jul232008

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.

Saturday
Jul192008

Welcome to Dave’s New Blogsite

 MovingNewSite.jpg

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.

Dave


Friday
Jul182008

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.

Monday
Jul142008

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?