Gazette Articles

A Love Affair – Mark’s Restoration Project

Back last spring, when I was on furlough, I pulled my 1991 Geoffery Butler frame out from the shed and gave it a clean up. The frame was the last frame Cliff Shrubb built for Geoffery Butler.

Cliff not only built frames but his main trade was as a clock maker.

I was lucky enough to get the frame in the winter of 1992 when someone drove into the side of me on the roundabout at the top of Foxley Lane. I was riding my 501 Raleigh record sprint with 14 speed Huret gears & Weimann brakes. The bike was a write off & the guy didn’t want to go through the insurance – just asked me to get a quote from Butlers for a rebuilt bike.

So along with a much better frame, new shimano wheels with mavic open 4cd rims and 8 speed 105 gears and brakes I got a much better upgraded machine to  ride and race on. I think the bill was £600 over £400 more than my original bike!

So this was the beginning of a 10 year love affair with this bike. I raced it in the early season races doing a 25minute 30 second fixed gear 10 mile TT on the Dorking course two years running in 1992 & 93. The gears where locked off in a 52/19 which was about 70 inches. You used to get a club medal for a ride inside evens ie under 30 minutes.

I also did many reliability trails on it in the winters in the 1990s. This meant a ride out in the dark from Croydon to Halstead Hall, Kent. Sign on before riding 65 miles around Kent & the Ashdown Forest back to Halstead. You had to do it in a set time – the club usually did it in 5 hours & we won the team award quite often. Oh & then you had to ride back to Croydon usually as it was getting dark so about 100 miles every other week in January & February. The events were run by the Old Portleians & Catford CC & Sydenham Wheelers.

On one occasion the whole club came down on ice just after the start apart from Keith & Maureen Herbert who had a tandem with wide tyres. Anyway we carried on but the Butler frame had a bent gear hanger so I could not use the 23 sprocket. This meant climbing Toys Hill & Star Lane near the finish in a lowest gear of 42/21 – but i didn’t get off & made it to the top.

So this bike served me well for 10 years I rode it to work & back in all weathers & trained on it all the time it would of had a gear set up of 52/42 cranks 170mm, with a 14 to 23 8 speed block. I retired the bike in 2002 when I bought a new Bianchi. It then spent a few years in a hedge before I had enough space in the shed to keep it. By the way I still have the 8 speed wheels in the shed!

to be continued…