Wednesday, 28 March 2012

A Mail From South Africa

Some time ago i recieved a e-mail from Al Johnson from South Africa, which i thought i'd publish on the blog, because as bicycle fans we have all had the same feelings.


I’m one of those older businessman, who, while very computer literate, feel I can’t afford to waste time surfing about on the internet etc. 
This afternoon I am at work (week-end) while some of my technicians work on a breakdown….and I thought I would look for my dream bike builder on the internet…and who did I find!
I am 63 now and still cycle, riding the local events (our annual Argus Classic here draws 35 000 entrants) with a friendly bunch of guys and girls.  I started cycling at the age of 11 back in 1959 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.   Cycling was in my blood, as my Grandfather and his brother were both champions in their day.   I represented our Province first at Schoolboy level, then at Junior, doing well. I had a few bikes, Carlton, Claude Butler, Legnano, and a few I do not remember, and was very fastidious with my accessories using only Campagnolo and Cinelli.  All my pocket money and then earnings, went on this. 
A friend of mine’s Dad (Andy Anderson) imported bikes and I spent quite a bit of time at their house.   One day (I think it was 1963 or 4) he unpacked a track bike that took my breath away.  It was white (the colour looked so deep you could almost look into the paint) , with red white and blue sections on the seat tube.  In large lettering down the diagonal tube was the name EDDIE SOENS.   I just had to have this bike, and acquired it soon thereafter.  I fitted it out all Campagnolo, and used it for sprints, and with another set of 28 spoke wheels, for time trials and pursuit.  It was the best bike I ever owned and I sold it years later with a sad heart when I left South Africa and needed funds.  I never forgot that bike.  I only ever saw one other SOENS in SA, which belonged to an Italian chap I got to know.  I never did find out who/how/where the bikes actually originated from.

Wasting a bit of time this afternoon I typed EDDIE SOENS into my computer, and well, I found so much.

Kind regards to you, I thought I had to drop you a line.

Al Johnson
South Africa

And in a later e-mail Al again spoke of his Eddie Soens.

"I wrote my rather long blurb after finding you guys on the internet and
being so thrilled about it.  I virtually worshipped my SOENS and it went
around South Africa with me and we competed in quite a few SA Champs etc.
Unfortunately as I said I was forced to sell it a long time ago and I
believe it's probably scrap metal by now.  I only have one photo and
unfortunately it's not a clear one."
So did it end up as scrap metal, or is it tucked away in a shed in South Africa, because Al would sure like to know.

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