I don’t know where this started but I do know where it’s going….

and hopefully, that’s from the East Coast of England to the West Coast, when Sir Walter and I partake in the East to West Adventure.

Or to be exact, from Crimdon Dean (famous North East Holiday resort) to Whitehaven (famous Cumbrian Georgian seaside town), covering a distance of 135 miles and crossing the Pennines with a total climb of 6,666 feet.

However, the build up didn’t go well. Ten days before the event I noticed a broken rear spoke. Oh well, perhaps one broken spoke would be OK? Then Sir Walter started to run weak, wasn’t revving out very well and had less pulling power than the elephant man in a nightclub. And then, when testing different engine setting, I hit a pothole and broke another spoke. So it was engine out, strip down and re-build with just a few days to go. This revealed a broken carburettor casting where it clamps to the inlet spigot (common problem) and I figured it was sliding back off the spigot and leaking air; hence the weak mixture. At this point I must give credit to Pete Stratford and Philip Crowder, who sent me the parts required, at short notice and enabled me to get Sir Walter back together the day before the event – thankyou.

Things were looking good on Day 1 at Crimdon Dean when Sir Walter started first spin, which is quite unusual but it impressed the watching crowd (4 people including my son Christopher). However, It quickly went downhill as the engine was revving even worse and Sir Walter seemed to want to be a plodding 4 stroke rather than a buzzing 2 stroke. Dropping the needle 1 notch helped but anything above half throttle resulted in Sir Walter going even slower. Not good, as a strong 18 mph headwind was forecast for Upper Teesdale. My enthusiasm was further dented when a fellow rider (who shall remain nameless but you know who you are) said I wouldn’t make it to Alston before dark!

 

However, things settled down and Sir Walter was reasonably happy at 5/8 throttle – I know because I’ve added graduated marks to the lever! Soon, I was caught “speeding” through Trimdon but please note, I only pedalled like that for fun and my son certainly found it funny based on the chuckling.

So onwards to Shildon where I tried advancing the timing but it was no better. And then on to Staindrop for lunch, where I tried retarding the timing but still no better. Then on to Egglestone where I tried reducing the points gap but, you guessed, still no better. Time to give up on adjustments and slog up Teesdale. And I did, through some of the best scenery the UK has to offer. Sir Walter was flat out (5/8 throttle) for one and half hours, with “gentle” LPA (light pedal assistance) and it was a delight to spend the time absorbing the wonderful views. This area really is one of the best kept secrets in the UK.

The only downside was the wind. Around Yad Moss, it was getting difficult to make forward progress and I was a little worried I’d get blown off the road and have to spend the night on the moor. However, I knew that support from Martin Wikner was only a phone call away… but I had no signal. And then Alston appeared and it was still light, even at 4:30. Oh yee of little faith, Sir Walter had delivered with a little help from me.

After a quick look around the Hub museum, which is well worth a visit, I then went back down the hill (not the best of planning) to Garrigill to find my B&B and a well earned rest.

The next day started bright and sunny, as Sir Walter posed for an early morning shot.

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Eastview Bed and Breakfast, Garrigill

Now, being the entrant with the smallest engine and slowest vehicle, I decided to get an early start the next day, and head for Hartside an hour earlier than planned. Some would call it cheating but I was getting embarrassing arriving everywhere last. As it turned out I was the third entrant to arrive at Hartside, looking a little like Laurel or is it Hardy. You just can’t get good passer-by photographers these days, or perhaps it’s the subject? Or was I just happy to have made it?

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It was now onwards and downwards, or so I hoped, to Hesket Newmarket in the Northern Lakes. This leg went well despite some surprisingly steep (up) hills that we just managed to climb under power – no walking for me and Walter.

And then dismay, in front of a large crowd at Hesket Newmarket, he wouldn’t start. So I pedal up the street with the choke on. Then pedal back down with the choke off and still no firing. Pause for thought, twiddle a bit (technical term), try again and heh presto away he goes. But it gets better. After a short distance, Sir Walter really starts to rev well and buzz like he should. Until that is, he splutters and stops. Good news is, I’d switched the petrol off during the twiddling phase. Even better news is, it proves the revving problem is flooding of the carburettor. Only dissapointment is that it’s taken me almost 100 miles to realise this and I only did it by accident; so much for being an “Engineer”. But now is not the time for a carb strip, so it’s onwards and upwards to Bassenthwaite where my wife and son are waiting to meet me at the Lakes Distillery.

The final leg is a leisurely run through lovely english countryside into Whitehaven via Cockermouth, where I arrive last as usual but extremely pleased to have completed the Adventure.

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Made it, and aren’t I pleased! So pleased, I even did a burn-out, Cyclemaster style.

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And we finished, albeit last to every checkpoint, including the finish. But as Philip Crowder said, anybody can do the East to West on a moped but I was the only one on a cyclemotor.

So the journey is over. Not just the journey to Whitehaven but the journey back to life for a rusty Cyclemotor that hadn’t ran for 50 years. And there is something special about a Cyclemaster; it’s to do with the way you have to work together, particularly when faced with a hill – you help the engine and it helps you.

Man and machine in perfect harmony, now looking for the next challenge.

Acknowledgments

I must thanks, those who helped me from the EACC. In particular Martin Wikner who drove support and Sharon who both planned the route (with help from Dave Watson) and rode it on her little red Honda. And thanks to Neil Catling for his words of encouragement.

And finally, thanks to my sons for their help: Christopher for getting me to the start, Daniel for getting me home from Whitehaven and Michael for looking after Mam and driving her to the Lakes Distillery to laugh at me.

 

Michelangelo I’m not..

but as the great man said, “Genius is eternal patience” and that’s what’s needed to paint the Cyclemaster engine cover – patience that is; not genius.

So, after a quick rub down with “wet and dry” sandpaper, it’s on with the primer. I used Rust-oleum  for no other reason than it was cheap. I was unsure whether it was suitable for a cellulose based top coat but decided to find out!

For the top cost, I chose a silver that was close as possible to the original Polychromatic grey, then had it mixed at a local motor factors who supplied in an aerosol for a very reasonable £11. It went on well but dried to a flat finish as I’d got paint without lacquer. I did because cellulose lacquer is not resistant to ethanol and it would most likely lift on the petrol tank.

So the next problem was how to paint the red lines on the embosses and the black on the background of the Cyclemaster badge.

I started with the engine cover and found that a magnifying glass and a mascara brush worked well. Yes it’s the first time I’ve used a mascara brush, even though the result looks like I’m a pro!

The foam pad worked well on the raised embossing as it didn’t wipe down the sides like a brush would. However, the red flashes on the petrol tank and carb cover are different as the embosses aren’t flat topped – they are V shaped. So the first job was to mark the lines and I used my vernier set at 4.5mm to make some very small scratches. I then applied 6mm wide masking tape to form the straight sides. Now, the curved ends were a problem and I came up with what I think is a nifty solution; I used a hole punch to make a semi circle on pieces of masking tape.

These were then positioned to close the ends of each flash and the flash painted with a fine brush.

I removed the tape before the paint was dry, to prevent it from bleeding under the tape. Some “experts” recommend leaving it until the paint is dry but I was also concerned the tape may then pull the red off.

The final detailing job, was the black background to “Cyclemaster”. This was a really delicate job that I did with the smallest brush I could find. For some of the detailing around “MADE IN ENGLAND” I used the old cocktail stick trick; for example to apply the dot to the A’s – not easy.

TIP Boyes has a good supply of paints, brushes and masking tape etc.

The final job was lacquering and the big problem here is that it needs to be ethanol proof. The best lacquer for this is two pack and I found an aerosol called Pro2KClear made by Capella Solutions Group. It has a clever little ring pull on the bottom that releases the isocyanate into the paint to start the curing process. This worked really well, the lacquer went on easily and the results speak for themselves.

So far the lacquer looks very durable – scratch resistant and not yet affected by petrol spills.

However, as I said, “I’m no Michelangelo”. But a Cyclemaster is no Sistine Chapel and I’m as happy with the result as the Pope is with his ceiling – job done.

PS TIP Don’t use Humbrol Enamel for the highlights as it wrinkled a little when the lacquer was applied. At one point I thought it was going to have to start again. However it dried OK and the wrinkles can only be seen when examined closely which won’t be a problem when I zoom past at at least 20mph!

First test run.. with a flat cap

because a flat cap makes all the difference.. doesn’t it?

But fitting the cyclemaster wasn’t as easy as the manual indicates.The biggest problem was setting the drive chain tension, probably because it’s badly stretched. I found that when I dropped the engine to tension the chain, the carb clashed with the wheel. So I tried turning the eccentric adjuster into the forward position, then the plug cap clashed. So then I fitted a shorter plug cap and that seemed OK.

The next difficulty, was setting the wheel cones – very important as too slack will cause wear and a wobbly wheel and too tight will overload the bearings, leading to early failure. Anyway, I eventually got a reasonable setting, only to find the drive chain was now too tight – back to square one..

After a couple of hours the bearings and chain seemed OK, so time for a test ride and here we go.. with a cap.

and it goes downhill but struggles up….or is that just me expecting too much from 32cc and 0.8HP? I gather the “secret” is to pedal early to keep the engine revs up and in its power band but I’m not sure it has one.

Great fun though and the back pedalling brake actually works but I won’t be leaving any black lines just yet!

And after a bit of tinkering it’s also ticking over quite well.

Next step is to make and fit a number plate. And yes, the DVLA have came up trumps and I have a nice new log book, with the original number and better still it’s transferrable.

However,immediately after my first ride, I got a “sign”. I received an invite from the buzzing club (The National Autocycle and Cyclemotor Club) to join them on the C2C in June – see link.

http://thebuzzingclub.net/news/coast-to-coast-2017-the-dates-in/

Two journalists did it last year on a motorised tandem and that set me thinking. One of my sons has an old tandem. Would any of them be up for it? Or perhaps each of them in rotation – wear one out, then swop.

And I could fit the Cyclemaster to the front wheel, then we’d have a full set of gears, rather than just one and that will help with the serious climb up to Alston.

I wonder…?

I’ll let you know..

 

 

 

Square balls and not enough of them….

In my last blog on the Raleigh, I said the steering head felt like it had square balls in the bearing race.. and it does!

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They are far from spherical as you can see! And there was 21 balls in the top race and 19 in the bottom which doesn’t sound right and it isn’t. However the bearing cups look good, so it’s an easy repair.

An old Raleigh parts list I’ve found indicates 25 x 5/32″ balls top and bottom and Simlybearings.co.uk have done a great job; ordered mid afternoon and delivered next day. The question now is what grease to use. It needs to be thick enough to ensure the balls rotate rather than slide, as it’s sliding that puts flats on the balls. Phil Woods Hub Grease is highly rated so I think I’ll try that. It’ll also do for the Cyclemaster Eadie Hub I’m rebuilding with new cones – see my other blog.

now I’ve got the wheels…

and they are a Raleigh Superb Dawn Tourer, of uncertain vintage, although of 50’s style.

The Hub is stamped 66, meaning 1966, so that could be the year of manufacture, or it may be a replacement, newer wheel. The frame number has the suffix “FJ” and I’ve seen reference to “FE” being 1966, so maybe it’s later. Who know’s, let’s call it 66 as that was good year, England won the World Cup, The Beatles were number one with Paperback Writer and I was 12.

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It’s got a great leather seat made by “Wrights”, who were acquired by the world famous Brookes Saddles in 1960. Brookes, sold most designs of saddle under the Brooks and Wrights labels; the Brookes model allegedly using better grade leather, although this is disputed by some. Mine’s got a small split which just adds to the character in my opinion – as long as it doesn’t get bigger.

It’s really quite an advanced bike with 4 speed Sturmey Archer (that works), a dynamo in the rear hub and a big headlight that is all show with no show, if you get my drift.If it was rated in Candela, the measure would be milli Candela, it’s that bad.

There’s also a steering lock with a key which is amazing; not the steering lock (although that’s pretty good) but the fact the key hasn’t got lost in 50 years!

I say “it”, when I should be saying “he” and he’s got a name – Sir Walter. Soon to be “Sir Walter – pht, pht (reg number but read it as phut, phut) when the marriage takes place to Lady Cyclemaster of Bristol. Yes, I know, very corny.

He needs a bit of work though. The brakes worse than useless. The steering head bearings were very loose, so I adjusted them to remove the play and now it feels like the head race is fitted with square balls. And the handlebar support for the front rod brake lever is loose, so it’s either snapped or the nut has came off on the inside of the bars.

Anyway, a few fill in jobs to do, when time allows.

 

Got the engine – need the wheels

It’s good that Cyclemaster was sold as a powered wheel for any bicycle, as this opens up my search for a bike to basically any from the 50’s. Perfect would be a Mercury, as they were the official partner to Cyclemaster but realistically any will do, as long as it’s:

  1. a tourer
  2. has rod brakes (cable were available but rod just looks right for the period),
  3. is fitted with 26″ wheels, as that’s what the gearing is designed for,
  4. has a Brookes seat with big springs – also preferably comfortable,
  5. has period lights, particularly a large front one,
  6. oh and has mudguards, most did in the 50’s as they were more practical than style conscious,
  7. and finally, has some rust (or patina as the posh people say) but not too much

A Rudge would be great, or a Triumph, or a BSA. Or maybe a Hercules, or an Elswick, or even a Raleigh. They were the largest British cycle manufacturer and a major exporter to the USA, where they are still popular with collectors today.

Let the search commence.