Classic Lightweights UK
Hetchins Magnum Bonum - 1969/7
How it was acquired:
The frame was custom-made in 1969 for my father. It was his pride and joy and he used it almost every day for the next 36 years. It was left to me when he died in 2006.
On one of our rides together he told me that it was a replica of the Magnum Bonum that he had custom made for him in 1948. It was a present for his 18th birthday. To collect that first Hetchins he cycled to the Hetchins shop in London from High Wycombe on the Claud Butler he owned at the time, then cycled back the thirty or so miles home with the shiny new frame strapped across his shoulders.
That first Hetchins had to go in order to pay for a deposit for his first house but he always regretted selling it and some day planned to buy another. That day came in 1969 when he ordered this full-chrome Magnum Bonum from Alf Hetchin and built it up as a touring cycle as a present to himself in celebration of his 40th birthday. That was in April 1970. The same year, he rode it from Lands End to John O' Groats, a journey he repeated again on this same machine in 2000, aged seventy. Some years earlier, he had ridden it from the south of Spain, over the Pyrenees, across France and on to northern Germany.
He also used this Hetchins most days for pleasure and must have put tens of thousands of miles under its wheels. The Stronglight 49D cranks fitted in 1970 bear testimony to this and have deep grooves in them from the wear of the toestraps. The Bailey bars date from the 1930s and these were fitted to the very first lightweight that Hugh owned. They were also on his first Hetchins Magnum Bonum in the late 1940s. Many of the other components, however, had been updated over the years with newer non-period parts, so I decided to restore this wonderful machine to its 1970 specification, as shown here.
Features that make it special:
Not only does this machine display some wonderful craftsmanship, but it also looks fabulous and is a great joy to ride. It is so light and responsive yet amazingly comfortable. The miles just slip by and you hardly notice the effort at all. I think the 'Vibrant' rear stays really do contribute to a more comfortable ride.
I ride the Hetchins regularly and it is certainly the machine I use most often in fair weather, though it rarely comes out in winter if the roads are wet because the salt would harm the chrome finish. Perhaps some day I will ride it from Land's End to John O' Groats - the third time for this machine. I doubt if I'll need any maps; Hugh's old Hetchins will show me the way...
© 2006 Classic Lightweights