A while back I talked about the inspiration my dad had been in my cycling journey. We did lots of miles together. When he died I ended up with the last bike he had owned. I had built the frame and given his short stature it was the only frame he had owned that actually fitted him.
Dad being dad there was a degree of stuff that passed from bike to bike during his life. The oval label B17 Brooks had been on one or another bikes since before I was born. The Dunlop special stainless steel rims came on a set of wheels in the mid 1970’s along with the Weinman brakes. However dad rode a fixed gear all his life and used a home trainer twice a week until a couple of weeks before he died. That frame was never going to fit me. I put it aside to think about on another day. When the air cleared I remembered a conversation where he reminisced about a bike he had lusted after long ago. It had chromed lugs and bar end shifters and was black. If it had bar end shifters in the 1950’s or early 60’s it must have been pretty good quality. The seeds of an idea started to germinate when I picked up a Beasley frame with chrome lugs from 1961. Coincidentally that was the year I was born. I had some Campag bar end shifters and some Gran Sport derailleurs looking for a project. I took the Dunlop rims and laced them into a pair of Gran Sport road hubs.
I found a set of Stronglight 57 cranks and started to put together the closest thing I could imagine to what he described without molesting the patina of the Beasley that was cream with blue decals (including the name of the original owner).
I rode it on the weekend, 18 months after he died, with a bunch of guys that appreciate old bikes. It was nice to not only indulge a passion for old bikes and craftsmanship but to have that connection. To sit on that same saddle and ride with dad again.