Classic Lightweights UK
Sprint-wheel carriersAuthor Peter Underwood
Many cyclists in the 40's and 50's had but one machine. It would often be an immaculately kept top-of-the-range machine but it had to serve all purposes. Some owners even used this machine to commute to the factory or other place of work. There was a fair chance that it would be equipped with a low-geared fixed-wheel, especially in the winter. It could be that the owner would ride to work on his bike during the day and train in the evenings - probably with winter wheels and mudguards.
Come the weekend our rider may be enterd in a time-trial, perhaps 15 - 20 miles away, which would possibly entail setting off from home at 4.30 - 5 am remembering that most events started at 6 am. For this event he would fit his shiny, expensive racing sprints with light silk-walled tubs to his front axle using sprint wheel carriers as the rider on the right has done. The carriers were angled forward to give clearance for the feet on the pedals. The tops of the wheels would be fastened to the drops (bars) with toestraps to stop them vibrating over the bumps and possibly slipping down.
At the race the guards, and lights if they were needed, would come off and the sprints (with higher gear of course) fitted. The roadsides around the start would be a mass of clothing, mudguards and wheels - all left quite happily and never stolen.
After the race, which could well be over by 8am, the machine would be rebuilt with lights, mudguards and training wheels and the club members would ride to the nearest cafe for breakfast before setting off on a club run of probably 100 miles plus completed with the sprints still attached. If you look closely at photographs of runs taken post-WWII you may spot a member so equipped.
In the advert reproduced here from a 1952 Brown Brothers catalogue there is a steel Cyclo 'Rosa' sprint wheel carrier. This is different to both of my carriers which are displayed below:
These are both Cyclo with the alloy version - left below and the steel - right below. In the advert the openings for the wheelnuts are closed rather than open and the carrier is 'sculpted' rather than the flat steel
This image shows the offset on both carriers, the steel were slightly slimmer overall but still heavier 185g against 80g
On some hub axles there was little or no thread to spare when the wheel was in the forks and the track (or wing) nuts were tightened. This meant that when the carriers were put on behind the nut, the wheel was only secured by a few threads. One way round this with track nuts was to put them on back to front thus obviating the loss of threads caused by the washer. A slight setback is that one needed an open-ended spanner to do this, a ring or box spanner wouldn't work on the nut. Peter Brown has sent us an image of a rare component designed to solve this problem - a pair of front axle extenders, shown here.
Nigel Scott has two pairs of carriers, Cyclo on the left and Cliff Peters on the right. The name can be seen on both carriers. Peters had a shop in Birmingham and also marketed shoeplates
© 2009 Classic Lightweights