Classic Lightweights UK
A & B racing tricycle 1931
Owned by: Peter Heinemann
A & B Racing Tricycle 1931
Its original owner was a man of Kent and he must have ordered it from A&B Garages of Ramsgate (Kent, England) , for sure it wasn’t built by them. The underside of the bottom bracket has Chater-Lea cast into it, we know that it has CL lugs and may have been build by them but it could just have easily been built by any top London builder. It has all it’s original plain black paint finish is very fine condition with only the tantalizing ‘A & B’ transfers marketed upon it. What mystery is behind this ?
How long owned: For about twelve years
How was it acquired: Responding to an advertisement in ‘Cycling Weekly’ in 1997 led me to a garage in Solihull where was found an ‘Aladdin’s cave full of pre-war cycling treasure, among this was the ‘A & B’ racing tricycle. Mr BM the original owner had died in the 1970’s and it was only on the death of his widow that this machines came onto the market
The Features that make it special: .There are two things about this tricycle that are remarkable, the sheer quality of all the fittings and the absolute originally in it’s most remarkable untouched condition, little has aged. The frame is built around an Abingdon No 3 back axle fitted with a differential gear (shown below).
The head-clip head-set, chainset and the pedals are by Chater-Lea, the latter are the very rare pre tommy-bar nickel- plated version fitted with the then quite normal leather show straps instead of metal toe-clips. Note the Bluemels celluloid covered handlebars and two piece Q/R front mudguard, the Constrictor grips, still soft and spongy as they were when new and the Dunlop pump marked ’A & B Garages Ltd’. Also the Brooks B19 saddle , this was the longer version of the B17 for ‘the long distance rider‘ , this was a popular saddle among sporting cyclists but was not re-introduced after WW2.. The wood racing rims, still straight and true are French made American Boston’s and marketed in Britain by Constrictor, all with very clear original makers marks.
Left: Early Chater-Lea tommy-bar pedal with double footstrap popular pre-war
Right: Swan neck stem with celluloid bars stamped 'Bluemels'
Anything else: 1930 is generally acknowledged as the cusp between nickel plating and chromium plating and this machine must date from around there as there is an interesting mix of chrome and nickel on the frame alone, this must have been quite normal at the time.
The racing of both tandems and tricycles in road time-trials was very popular in the 1920 and 1930’s, the pages of ‘Cycling” are full of such events…..surely this is must be the most original 1930’s racing tricycle still in existence.
Left: Clear markings on laminated wood sprint rims which were imported by Constrictor
Right: Badge screwed to Abingdon Works Ltd No. 3 differential
Pre-war Brooks B19 saddle with oval badge and saddle loops cut into leather
© 2011 Classic Lightweights