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Steel Just Got Cooler, Reynolds 953

Climbing from Holmebridge

From time to time one hears of elders passing down ‘the lore’ to the younger ones to care for and treasure. History will continue lessons will hopefully be learnt.

A Worthy Bicycle

The other day a dowager lady in a Topsham second hand shop described a suitcase as ‘worthy’ to me, ‘that looks like a worthy suitcase’ she said. The humble Dawes Galaxy is a legend in British cycling history, but, it is remarkably difficult to find anything out about them. Perhaps it is because they weren’t glamourous bikes (I am talking about the older ones here). I suspect the lady might describe an old Galaxy as a worthy bicycle. She would be correct to do so.

I have had a couple, and now a third. The first one someone gave to me, it was a wreck. I soon picked up a second one at a snip and sold the old panniers that came with it on eBay. This left me owing the second Dawes money. In the interim I realised that the first one was a very different bike to the other, the two weren’t very compatible so that went on eBay where it made what was quite frankly an alarming amount of money. At some point I rode the second one, a total revolution, the most comfortable bike, worthy indeed, ‘worthy’ of restoration.

So now I have a third one, bought for my son, who doesn’t need a bike, he needs transport. It needs sorting though and I did the first flypast yesterday, scraping off years of crud to see what was there. Which leads me to why I am feeling a little sleepy eyed having spent too long last night picking through the lore on the internet.

The art of manhood: staying up too long researching seat tube inner diameter possibilities for old 531 bike frames, waking up excited by 953 (Tweet)

Yes, sad but true. The bike clearly has Reynolds 531 forks but there is nothing on the frame to say what it is made from. I was hoping that when I pulled the seat-pin out the magic number, 27.2 would appear, but no, 27mm was what was shown. So, on with the anorak and out with the computer. I now know that people get very heated about these details. Some such as Sheldon even make seat-pin databases. Along the journey I found that I was reading about Gazelles, I have one, a humble 525, and I concur with the header of these pages,

“there’s nothing special or fancy about the workmanship, but they just ride so damned good”

Anyway, this site is a huge resource which includes a great page of info about Reynolds tubing, which I have taken the liberty of archiving. Please note the disclaimer at he top ‘as pertains to Dutch cycles although let’s not forget that Gazelle made English cycles for a while in the form of top-end Raliegh-Carltons (told you I had the anorak on).


Reynolds 953

I’ve said before that steel is cool, but it would appear to have recently got cooler. The voyage lead me to Reynolds website and particularly their pages about Reynolds 953. If you too have your anorak on you will undoubtedly be interested in this material and will probably be a little shocked by some of the graphiacl data in this PDF file.

The other night, on the telly box, there were a couple of programmes about cycling. One about Tom Simpson and one with Rob Penn travelling around the world building his dream bike.

What I hadn’t realised because I missed the beginning of the program was that his frame-set was a 953 by Brain Rourke.

I’m going to conclude, perhaps unfairly, not with picks of the Rourke although if you want you can see lots of pictures of lovely bikes leaning against walls here.

No I am leaving you with an Anderson, from St. Paul, Minnesota.
Anderson 953

I wonder if they would barter a frame for a decent website, could someone drop the hint on my behalf?

Please !

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