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in motion

December 10th, 2009 Comments off

Philip Ames, June 1979

Finally got around to scanning the only picture I ever had of me actually racing. I always loved this picture. It rewarded my vanity!

Here I am on my gold 62cm Alan aluminium build, racing in a 25 mile event in Kent in June of 1977 or ’78 (at least I think it was June). Not long after this season drew to a close, rock’n'roll took the place of serious cycling and, well, there you have it. As the years passed, it never ceased to amaze me how many people working in the music business were marginally fanatical about cycling.

This was the closest I ever came to breaking the hour – if I remember correctly, I finished in 1:00:31.

About the bike. Besides it being an absolute giant at 62cm x 62cm, and it being gold and aluminium (I heard these frames were held together with airplane glue), it was all Campagnolo equipped. How the hell could I even afford Campagnolo at this time in my life??? The bars are 42cm Cinelli 65s (Criterium), the bars I have loved and used all my life (I still have them on the Condor and the Schwinn). The stem is a Cinelli 1A (I’ve since moved on to X/A stems), the hubs are Campag large flange (who the hell started calling them “high flange”???), probably on Arc En Ciel rims and definitely Wolber tubulars. They were built at Emporer Sports in Carshalton/Cheam, the front being a radial 24, the rear being a 24 radial (non gear side) and tangenital tied and soldered on the gear side, for extra strength. Amazing wheels – never put even the slightest warp in them.

Campag brakes, levers, rear derailleur. Note the single ring – who had use for 10 gears? – which, knowing me, might well have been a 48T. Remove the handlebar tape above the gear levers for extra weight saving (yeah, I know…ass), and there you have it. Patrick “Poulidor” shoes, the height of (affordable) fashion!

This bike was pretty short lived I think – this was the only season I raced it and, as mentioned, was put out to pasture when owning a Fender Precision (or Jazz) bass became more important. I also blew out my knee after a 50 mile event near Southampton at the end of that season, trying to win the club championship that year. I’d completed a 100 the week before (5:04:00, or something like that), and my best 10 time that year was 21:30.

All in all, the best and most enjoyable season I ever had