Thursday, October 7, 2010
The Story of the Raleigh Cycle and other books
All Raleigh-ites and Roadsters fans owe it to themselves to read this book. My favorite parts personally are the early descriptions of racing to set the record from Land's End (Southernmost end of England) to John O'Groat's, the very top tip of Scotland in the North where across the waters a way is Iceland. This is now a big deal to travel in the UK for Cyclists, a sort of "I did it" adventure. It is often abbreviated to "LEJOG" or something similar. The book was published in 1976 by a relative of Lord Bowden who was instrumental in the business of Raleigh during the early years up until the 1930s.
I do think Raleigh may have made some mistakes along the way based on what I have heard Englanders say, perhaps the business got greedy according to them.
An author fans of British Cycling should read too is the highly acclaimed Alan Sillitoe whose books include "Loneliness of a long distance runner" which indeed is about a Runner training in prison, he gets some freedom from the Barstol (Barstol - A long the lines of a Reform School) to run in the country. Sillitoe grew up in Nottingham and he worked for Raleigh in fact. References to bicycles are plenty in his short stories which was about all I am aware of he wrote. His collections are well worth reading and all Raleigh fans owe it to themselves to do so. Also, some references to football/soccer abound as well. Very reflective of life in Great Britain in the post War era as well as the human condition. "Summat" or something to consider. Somewhat light reading, rather clean, excellent and at times, hysterically funny.<--- Er, perhaps, you only need to take 10 minutes to read one of his stories and decide, he's got a real edge to his style as well. Personally, some of the humour might be a tad dark.