‘The Bike’ belonged to Eddie Wingrave who I’m told by George used it before World War II when riding in professional roller events. As far as I remember the bike had a longer than usual rear triangle with the sole purpose of making it extremely stable. This would enable the rider to produce a full on sprint with the added bonus of remaining upright. Considering most sprint roller events had two holders, one each side to keep the rider stable, it seems like a small detail, but to be able to ‘spin’ freely with relaxed legs is essential. Technique and style is all important... those marginal gains are not such a new phenomenon!
|Flying start 440 yard time trial. Love Yellow.|
George told me that at this particular event (using ‘the bike’) he was an early leader in the 440-yard flying start… until I borrowed it. I got the feeling that to this day he regrets letting me use his secret weapon.
|Scratch race - 1957. Love Yellow.|
Still, I was to get my comeuppance when in later life I rode a few interclub events, one of them being held by the San Fairy Ann C C. Half way through I was put up against a relative novice, and as I had already beaten several others I decided to Showboat by starting slow and roaring through to win from behind (all in the name of thrilling the spectators of course!). In the event I was soundly beaten and only learned afterwards that my opponent, despite his inexperience, had beaten most of his own club riders on his first attempt at riding rollers.