Martin found his Dad’s old bike. He decided to pimp his ride… and the results are awesome.
Hi, my name is Martin Grace and I am a new BikeSA member. I thought some of you might be interested to learn a bit about a new member and also the recent restoration of my dad’s 1950’s Superb bike that he used race back in the day.
A quick overview about me:
I am 44 years old and enjoy MTB, road and touring riding. On the MTB front, my mates and I enjoy getting up to Eagles, Melrose, Craigburn Farm and Kersbrook for a bit of fun and to also help train for our annual pilgrimage to Lorne in early December for an adventure race. Last year I even managed to head up to Wilpena Pound for the 109km Flinders Epic MTB race, which was great. I am also known to put on the lycra a few times a week and head up into the hills or along the coast on my road bike. I come from a surf life saving back ground so it helps with base fitness for various non cycling events but also the occasional longer distance recreational ride I do with family or friends, such as the BUPA TDU ride etc. And the final bit of riding I do is the touring side of things. I am shortly loading up my bike with camping gear and heading off to Tassie to do an unsupported camping/adventure ride along the east coast, which I am really looking forward to. I rode around Australia on a postie motor bike a couple of years ago so I thought I would do my next adventure without a massive 110cc motor this time 🙂
Now for the interesting stuff about my dad (Bruce Grace) and the recent restoration of his 1950’s Superb race bike. My dad passed away when I was a kid after complications associated with having MS. Back in the day there was occasional talk about him being a bike rider but being a kid I didn’t take much notice. As time went by I started to wonder about my dad, especially his riding history. He was an orphan so there wasn’t much to go by other than some stories he told mum, and also his old rusty bike frame in mums garage that she accidentally sold the wheels in a garage sale.
When I started restoring my dad’s bike last year, which I will talk about later, my uncle let the cat out of the bag that he had a few riding stories my dad had told him. Turns out he might have been a good rider and might have raced in a race called the “Mail Tour”. This bit of info started the ball rolling and after doing a bit of research I managed to find the national library website called Trove, which had 1954 newspaper stories about him and also his results in the “Mail Tour” and various track events. This was a great find and also highlighted that he raced for Holdfast Cycling Club, which then led me to the club’s 50 year history booklet held in the state library. Reading through this, in a pararagraph listing the handful of the club’s top riders was my dad’s name. What a proud moment that was.
For those interested about dad’s bike resto. The first step was to source parts to make the missing wheels. I ended up importing 1950’s Airlite hubs and 27 x 1 1/4″ Dunlop Stainless Special Lightweight rims from the UK, which I got laced locally. The rusty frame went off to Sun Graphics in Melbourne to get repainted the original beautiful burnt orange colour. Some, but not all, parts went off to A Class Metal Finishers to get rechromed. For example I left the peddle cranks in original condition because you could see dad’s wear marks from his shoes. Once I got everything back there was a lot of elbow grease polishing alloy parts and figuring out how it all went together. It was all worth it because I have ended up with a beautiful and original 1950’s 8 speed bike made from various English and Italian parts such as Cyclo Benelux derailleurs, Universal Extra front brake, Cinelli headstem and bars, Bell leather seat, Williams chainrings (50/48), Brampton B8 peddles. And the good thing is it rides really smooth as well.
My final goal is to find a racing picture of dad, which I have not managed to find yet but hopefully it will happen one day. If you know of anyone that used to ride in the mid to late 50s then can you ask them if they knew my dad and possibly if they have a photo of him.
Do you know anyone that used to ride in the mid to late 50s? Let Martin know in the comments below.
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