Luvly Bicycle!

The latest issue of Bicycle Quarterly has arrived, and as always I´m reading it cover to cover. I find the mixture of history and modern cycling riveting as my personal approach is just that: I don´t buy a cycle new from the shop but always try to choose those parts, new or 40 years old, which suit my needs best  – see my Ellis-Briggs Randonneur further down (on which I covered another 80 km today in beautiful spring sunshine riding an audaxed permanent).

Page 6ff in the new BQ has an interesting article by Constance Winters of the Lovely Bicycle! blog. She discovers a new way of cycling, that of riding a randonneur bicycle. Good for her. She also fits well in the main topic of the BQ issue, outsize or very small frames. I can say that I have had a fair amount of ado with too small frames during the last 30 or so years, and my wife has just the opposite problem. So what better time than now to post her ca. 1979 Jack Taylor Tourist.

This must be one of the nicest and most unusual cycles in our basement. The parts combo is original, it seems, showing quite well that the Taylor brothers didn´t believe in the groupset approach. Look at the derailleurs: Front Suntour, rear Campag Rally, levers Suntour again (on handlebar stem).

The carrier racks are Taylor made, there´s Sakae Randonneur handlebars and a Unica Nitor saddle. Hubs are Record and rims 27 inch Weinmanns. Brakes are Mafac Cantilevers.

Note the sloping top tube, made possible by the lugless construction which was used a lot by the Taylors. The frame as such is simply beautiful – box lined, a mix of Mondrian and Old English transfers.

Strangely, the spokes are zinc plated. How they hit on this for such a nice bike remains a mystery. Also lighting is 1970s basic: Simple, inexpensive, ineffective. French bottle type dynamo, simple German front and rear lights.

Sorry to say that my wife doesn´t use the bike much now, so it is in storage as can be seen from the chain position. This used to be different; under our ownership the Taylor saw service in several European countries.

The strange thing is that we believe that we had already seen the very bicycle about ten years before we got it. Some 15 years ago from now there was an ad in the Tandem Club Magazine to which we responded, and when the box arrived, we were speechless, not only because of the quality and beauty of the Taylor, but because we both were certain right away that this was the bike we had marvelled at when touring in the UK on very simple and inadequate equipment. We had decided to use the train for some distance after having cycled a Roman road from the South West up North because we wanted to visit friends. And there it had been, in the guard´s van, a real eye opener.


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