A big thanks to Paul Gittens for sending in a couple of nice TT pictures, Paul adds the following information.
"As you asked for racing photos I've attached a couple of me on proper Merseyside bikes, both taken by Bob Prince. Perhaps Bill Soens might recognise the Eddie Soens, it was built for a lad from Wrexham called Arthur Humphries in around '62 who was introduced to Eddie's shop by the local Wrexham 'fast lad' of the day, Paddy Lloyd. Eddie had taken Paddy 'under his wing' as he had done a couple of fastish rides on the local D1 course but he never really lived up to it and retired not long after. Paddy had an Orange Eddie Soens time trial '55 Special', I wonder what happened to it?
The bike in the above photo is a Harry Quinn (what else!) bought in '64. I rode it until '69 using it in TT's and RR's when in '69 I got a Bob Jackson for some godforsaken reason (must have been swayed by the advertising) which never had the 'feel' of the HQ. Did all (or most) of my best rides on the HQ including first time 'inside' and 4 wins in TT's and a crit at Alton Towers. The photo I sent was taken on the finishing circuit of the West Cheshire TTCA 12hr in '65 when I was 18 and did 236 miles."
I must say Paul looks fresh and well in the above photo, after 236 miles, must be something to do with being 18.
Yet again a great big thank you to Mike Duffy, for searching out another catalogue.
As Mike explains, it's a bit difficult to fully date this catalogue.
"I enclose my latest offering which is not dated, although I have compared prices in the 1952 and 1953 editions.
Le Grimpeur JF/18 £17 17 6 1953 Le Grimpeur JF/18 £17 17 6 1952 Le Grimpeur JF/18 £16 5 0 unknown year
Le Routier JF/15 £13 5 0 1953 Le Routier JF/15 £13 5 0 1952 Le Routier JF/15 £13 5 0 unknown year
Le Classique ladies JF/11 £11 11 0 1953 Le Classique ladies JF/11 £11 19 6 1952 Le Classique ladies JF/11 £11 00 0 unknown year
Le Routier Massed Start JF/16 £13 17 0 1953 Le Routier Massed Start JF/16 £13 17 0 1952 Le Routier Massed Start JF/16 £13 17 0 unknown year
There are also models in this catalogue which are not listed in 1952 or 1953. North Wales lugged model JF/13 Ekla lug model JF/14 and three tandems, JF/19,20,21.
Most of the prices listed under 'alternatives' are the same as in 1952 catalogue, but chrome plating is not listed whereas it is available in the unknown year edition. As you can see it is difficult to put an accurate date on it."
Thanks again to Mike for the catalogue.
A fellow blog reader has found out a old photo of Mike, racing at the Newcastle under Lyme track on a chrome James Fothergill track bike.
A big thank you to Mark from Liverpool for sending us some pictures of his two lovely Harry Quinn's.
Mark adds the following information.
"Well here are some photos (the background isnt to good, with the bike leaning against the young fella's tramploline).
I was after a Harry Quinn for a while but in my experince there seemed to be more of the "Badged" bikes out there than the real ones, anyway I had a Colnago and a Terry Dolan so I was happy enough, if a Quinn came my way fine but my quest went hot and cold depending on what the Mrs, the Kids, the dog, or my old Norton motorbike needed. Then I heard there was a fella not far from me who was after selling his Harry Quinn, so I went over to have a look. my plan was to see if the frameset was ok and to do it up with modern components so I could go for a burn up at the weekend. When I seen the bike my eyes where on stalks, it was imacculate, it didnt look like it had been ridden, everything was sparkling the red paint, the chrome and Campag Nuovo Record throughout - Sold with no haggling.
The problem was, I just sat there staring at it, I wouldnt take it out, and I'd get rather cross if a spec of dirt landed on it, if I had my way it would be on the wall over the fireplace, but if I tried that, I'd get a belt in the gob from .... Herself
Fast forward a few years and another Quinn crossed my path, this one was used (but not worn out) and it had a selection of various components, it would be ideal to modernise, so I purchased it from a first class young fella from the Fylde, and the outcome is my Black Quinn which I ride all the time, I love it. (just managed to squeeze a 28-11 casette in the rear dropouts)
The frame number on the red Harry Quinn looks like Q2836, and the black Harry Quinn is Q1893 and thats all I know about them really, apart from the fact they are great fun. My Colnago may have been made on some misty mountain top in the Alps by 12 beautiful Italian women (supervised by Mr Ernesto Colnago himself) but as a Scouser I would rather have a Harry Quinn, made just a good (wind assisted) goal kick from Goodison Park, Home of the Blues."
So thanks to Mark for showing us his lovely Harry Quinns.
VCC member Jon Foster from Lincolnshire, has sent us in some photo's of his 1946 lugless Jim Soens frame. Jon was fully intending to carry out a full restoration on the frame, he had already purchased the frame decals. But due to a change of circumstances, Jon's afraid he is going to have to sell the frame.
So if any off our readers in interested in owning a nice early Jim Soens frameset, i can pass on your contact details to Jon.
Friend of the blog Mike Duffy sent the above photo in with his 1972 Harry Quinn restoration pictures.
I asked Mike, what himself and his Harry Quinn were doing in France, and Mike gave us the following information.
"In 1975 I travelled to Normandie to ride for a club based in St Hilaire du Harcouet. I spent three seasons there , riding over a hundred races, mainly in Brittany and Normandie.
At that time virtually every village, at some time during the season, held a ' Fete ' which is a day or sometimes two of something like an english country fair. Fairground rides, 'ball trap' ( clay pigeon shooting ). a cycle race in the afternoon, and a ' Bal ' ( dance ) in a large marquee in the evening. The whole village would take part and people would come from all over the area. Races were held on a circuit which passed through the centre of the village every lap.Signing on for the riders was usually at the local cafe bar. The race was usually between 100 and 150 kms and the circuit length between 10 and 15 kms so you would pass through the village maybe on 10 occasions. Lap 'primes' were collected from the crowd and were fiercely contested each time over the finish line.
You didn't have to finish the race to be eligible for any 'primes that you may have won. After the race you would collect the cash from the cafe bar. The prize money that you had won by being placed in the race was allocated to your licence number and at the end of the season you would receive a cheque for the total amount won during the season.
St Mars d'Egrenne was just one of these races, hosted by virtually every village and organised by the local cycling club. Back in the day it was possible to ride 3 or 4 a week but sadly this is no longer the case and the number of races is now greatly diminished.
I should point out that when I say that I rode over a hundred races, that was the total over three seasons. I don't think that I would still be here if I'd attempted a hundred in one season.
Some months I'd ride 6 events, other months 7 or 8. I wasn't good enough to race 4 times a week, didn't recover quickly. The good riders, ( which I wasn't ) travelled widely to find races and the best rider in France at that time, Daniel Leveau, an ex pro who had ridden for Freddy Maertens' Flandria team, won 53 races in one season. You can imagine how many events he must have started. I was just an average club cyclist who wasn't in the same league as the good guys, but I tried my best which is all I could do. Took some real hidings."
I'm sure Mike is being modest, and he proberly did better than 99% off us would have done and well done to him for getting out there and giving it a go.