Being a Gater...

Flying Gate owners gather annually to spend a weekend together somewhere in the UK. This year we returned to Burton on Trent. Why? You may well ask. Back in the eighties, this is where Trevor Jarvis built his first Flying Gates and we even took a look at his old workshop...

Here are some of those early models which feature the Burton Cooper on their headbadges. Trevor here on his knees! Brother Ian who played the major role in organising the weekend on just the one knee.  

Here are some of those early models which feature the Burton Cooper on their headbadges. Trevor here on his knees! Brother Ian who played the major role in organising the weekend on just the one knee.

 

This was the 19th annual Flying Gate Weekend.  Altogether almost 50 of us rode over 3 days what the French call 'etoile randonnees' (day rides out and back from a central base).  Friday took us to Rocester (pronounced 'roaster')  passed the Joseph Arkwright Mill and the new JCB academy.  Saturday took us to the National Memorial Arboretum and Sunday took us to the village of Hanbury where the largest non-nuclear accidental explosion took place in WW2. 

Here we are riding across the Washlands and the Ferry Bridge, then you can see Trevor shaking a leg at the place where the early Flying Gates were stove enamelled (Ordinary wheeled out in honour!).  One stroke tractor started with a shot gun cartridge at our cake stop and some photos from the Arboretum - what a place. Finally, with shoe laces all in order, some of us take risks and some of us don't at the 'slippery when wet' cobbled ford.

Andy's dad's Jubilee Flying Gate no.3 featuring Andy's handsome thigh.

Andy's dad's Jubilee Flying Gate no.3 featuring Andy's handsome thigh.

“This year we celebrate 50 years of Trevor Jarvis’s life and work”

Thirty five years since the first TJ Cycles jerseys and we are about to launch a new Flying Gate jersey with a retro look in Merino washable wool - more news as it breaks. Trevor has taught Jeremy and myself well as we both displayed our most recent work.  Alison braved the 12" deep ford but needed to wring out her socks for some reason. 

“Thanks to Ian Jarvis for arranging a special edition bottled beer and a jar of Marmite for every Gater”

Ros and Rob Seall gave us a great slide show and talk about their travels in China.  I believe this part of the weekend subliminally inspires some of us to get out there and explore.

Meanwhile, next year we will be in Norfolk...

Did you want to see what's happened to Trevor's old workshop in Burton?

The camera is definitely lying about Ken's stomach but not everything else...

The camera is definitely lying about Ken's stomach but not everything else...

Team Leader Mechanic for RideLondon 2017

St Paul's Catherdral at 8am, my team of 13 volunteer 'Dr Bike' mechanics gather for their briefing. Our mission - to solve participants bike problems with minimal kit supplied by Cycling UK - it was a like the parable of the 5 loaves and 2 fishes as we repaired puncture after puncture cutting large patches in half to make them last the day.  Folk came at us from all directions with all kinds of problems from broken chains to just needing to borrow a pump.  We had a mixed range of skills between us and I loved how well we communicated when trying to solve a problem.  

End of the day final photo after fixing over a hundred bikes.

End of the day final photo after fixing over a hundred bikes.

Can you just...

The highlight of the day was a woman who had a rear puncture on her Brompton half an hour before taking part in the 2017 Brompton World Championships. Stan removed the wheel and pulled out the inner tube which already had about 3 patches. With no spare tubes, I had no choice but to repair the puncture using our last patch. We put it all back together and sent her on her way.  Chatting as the glue dried, she told me about her business which was advertised on her Brompton bag.  I remembered the name and sent her an email asking how the race went....

Removing and refitting a Brompton rear wheel is a bit fiddly.

Removing and refitting a Brompton rear wheel is a bit fiddly.

...I got an answer back later to say thanks, her puncture had held and not only that, she was part of the winning female team! (photo below)

The next day, I was up at 4.15am to Brompton into Pall Mall for more mechanicing. This time to support the RideLondon Surrey 100 and 46 amateur Sportive. This was another 5 loaves and 2 fishes event as the rain had washed glass, flint and staples into the road we were inundated with repairs.  My mechanic comrades had brought their own tools and we did what we could - thank goodness for big-hearted riders who shared their glueless patches with others who were also on their 3rd puncture. This was another amazing day of skill sharing and passing on great tips to riders. 

My quickfix tyre repair using the rider's £5 note.  He probably talked about this all day....

My quickfix tyre repair using the rider's £5 note.  He probably talked about this all day....

This was a fantastically well attended event with whopping great medals for the finishers who completed either 100 or 46 miles out into Surrey and back.  Thanks to the Mayor of London who with an array of partners, has made this the 5th year of RideLondon since the Olympics in 2012.  My small part in all this was in response to Cycling UK's shout out for veloteers - happy to help.


Thanks for sending me this superb photo, Rena yellowlady. Massive congratulations Team Hamburgfiets. Come back next year!! You are awesome. Liz.  

Thanks for sending me this superb photo, Rena yellowlady. Massive congratulations Team Hamburgfiets. Come back next year!! You are awesome. Liz.

 

The Flying Gate has a new home

2017 marks the year Trevor officially hands over the treasured baton. 

Trevor Jarvis and Liz Colebrook at Bespoked 2017 - Bristol. 

Trevor Jarvis and Liz Colebrook at Bespoked 2017 - Bristol. 

We set off from Shropshire with our whole display packed into just one estate car.

The big deal is...

This is the year Trevor officially instates me as his official framebuilder and marque owner.  Beaumont Bicycle now incorporates TJ Cycles giving a new home to the Flying Gate. I've officially passed my initiation and I'm thrilled to be taking on the ownership of this iconic marque. 

Jim Holland from Brooks came over to see both Trevor and myself earlier this year to interview us and take some photos.  He's just published this work on the Brooks England website and here it is.  Thanks Jim. 

Meanwhile, the goods on show this year are a Beaumont frameset for off-road adventure-loving Physiotherapist Alison and two Flying Gates for enthusiasts Will seen here about to test ride his new complete build and Maxon who will soon take delivery of his track frameset on the display stand.  

 

Will is an audax rider extraordinaire. This is his extraordinary build with my own handbuilt wheels with Sapim CX Ray spokes and custom gearing - verdict - excellent. Thanks Will.

Will is an audax rider extraordinaire. This is his extraordinary build with my own handbuilt wheels with Sapim CX Ray spokes and custom gearing - verdict - excellent. Thanks Will.

Next up is Maxon's track frameset in 631. 

Now Al's new Beaumont frameset - built for 26" wheels and V-brakes but future proofed to fit 650B and disc when her components wear out. Tough brief but fulfilled. I also launched my new headbadge. Thanks to Jonny Keeley for the photo.


Unsung Hero

Bryan Jackson taught me how to framebuild and I would recommend Downland Cycle's residential training course to anyone interested in building from scratch. It's total immersion and with my long experience of working in the cycle industry, I quickly recognise genuine knowledge and sound teaching. The fact that Bryan operates a highly respected Campag Service Centre on site speaks volumes. His technical skills are hard earned and you only get this good if you've lived and breathed it day in day out.

Bryan (right) teaching Andy.

If something isn't going to work, Bryan will tell you straight, but he'll also tell you why and then make sure you get it right. If the metal is too cold he'll tell you, if it's getting too hot he'll tell you....torch too far away...torch too close. Clear instructions are essential as your brain is learning an art as well as a science. There's plenty of time to practice and Bryan also makes sure you take a break as that's all part of the assimilation process (apple donut? Don't mind if I do...)

And what a place to be! Amazing rolling downs - hence the name I presume - take your bike (as if you wouldn't). I cycled every morning before the course and felt like I hit the ground running. Hot showers, fully equipped bunkhouse, WiFi and delicious evening meals served up by both Bryan (yes, he cooks as well but that's another story) and Julie Jackson. Give Julie a ring if you're interested or email her - she's also served her time in the cycle industry - not just anyone rides a multicoloured Brompton with a Brooks saddle.  

So to sum up I will simply say - high standards, generosity and for me... a life changing experience!  Thank you Bryan and Julie.

www.downlandcycles.co.uk 

 

 

Ta..da! (The official launch of Beaumont Bicycle).

On Saturday 9th January, Beaumont Bicycle launches with about 100 friends and family in support at Bishop's Castle Town Hall. 

The scene is set...Blue lotus chai tea in vintage china.  Spikey Blond beer (named after the woman who brewed it) from the Six Bells and Prosecco also in the offing.

The scene is set...Blue lotus chai tea in vintage china.  Spikey Blond beer (named after the woman who brewed it) from the Six Bells and Prosecco also in the offing.

I am delighted to be standing here before you launching Beaumont Bicycle and my new life as a bespoke framebuilder

I also said, "everything I've learnt and everyone I have met has brought me to this point".  I thanked key people who helped me along the way and I explained how unique my skill set is having done my time repairing bicycles, building wheels, advising customers and taking time out to train and work as an Occupational Therapist over the last 30 years. 

 

I understand why people love cycling and I know how to ask the right questions and make the correct adjustments to keep people in tune with their bikes especially if one's body is not as comfortable on two wheels as it used to be.

Trevor reads a postcard from a Flying Gate customer (whose frame I will build).. and he compares the challenges of my role as a framebuilder to Margaret Sanger and her pioneering work on contraception!

Trevor Jarvis of TJ Cycles (far right, but not politically I hasten to add)  and home of the Flying Gate - has asked me to be one of his frame builders. This is a huge honour as this classic marque is highly revered across the world with a very unique following of people who adore its heritage. Trevor was there on the night to explain how our paths crossed and how exciting it is to have someone with my skills on board - as it's not just about the building, it's about the community that develops as a result of getting to know your customer. 

Carrying the torch - Liz with framebuilders past and present (Wes Mason, Tony Revell and Trevor Jarvis).

Carrying the torch - Liz with framebuilders past and present (Wes Mason, Tony Revell and Trevor Jarvis).

Poet and dear friend Bernie Cullen from York opened the launch with a poem written especially 'Bicycle Christening'. My sister Caroline came all the way over from France to sing 'Summertime', but with her new lyrics; "Beaumont bikes...and the pedaling is easy".  Bishop's Castle's very own 'Men from Off' sang a rousing version of their hit 'Route 44' and my website designer and photographer Jonny Keeley sang and played some of his acoustic set. 

What a night! Val, Julie and Anne on the bar were the hostesses with the mostess.

Thank you all for making it a night to remember. 

L'eroica

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L'Eroica is Italian for Hero. For many years Brits have travelled to Italy to take part in this gruelling annual event on vintage velos. The excitement has now spread to the UK and finds its home in Derbyshire. Last year's event L'Eroica Britannia was an amazing success giving hundreds of us permission to fit toe clips and straps, down tube shifters and dig out that old pair of Cinelli bars (you can't chuck out Cinelli).  This year's event is all set for June 19th - 21st and I have acquired a King of Mercia especially for the occasion. Here's a sneaky close-up - more to follow.