[CR]Cycling - 1948 London Olympics - rider's equipment

Example: History:Norris Lockley

From: "Peter Brown" <peterg.brown@ntlworld.com>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2008 21:50:15 -0000
Thread-Index: Ach3LzzS+Qhf6tTDQc2hhWICxZhKTQ==
Subject: [CR]Cycling - 1948 London Olympics - rider's equipment

Cycling magazine did not usually include ant specific information regarding the equipment riders used, but in the 18th August 1948 edition, reporting on the Olympic Games held in London, the following appears which I thought might be of interest to list members:


FRAME angles tended towards parallel, about 71 degrees. A few seat tube angles were steeper than the head.

36-hole hubs and rims used extensively.

Double chainrings (46-49 and 47-50) in use with 3, 4 and 5-speed freewheels.

Handlebars generally very square. Italian bars deep. Used in conjunction with long extensions, normally well out of the head tube. Brake levers low down on the curve of the bar, well designed and gave the impression of perfect comfort when taped or padded with a specially made rubber cushion.

Compressed air tubes for rapid tyre inflation were used by the Frenchmen. These tubes are of steel, about 6 ins in length, with a connection to fit the valve let in at one end. When the connection is applied and a catch released the tyre is blown to the requisite pressure in a short time.

Light, beautifully made and finely rubbered tyres (but how they punctured!).

The Continentals have a love of wide saddles, which they cut and bend to suit themselves. The wider British saddles are their choice.

Frame fittings brazed on for easy and neat fitting of brake cables, gear parts, etc.

Finish seemed to be immaterial. Light colours were the choice, but of this hardly any was left on many machines.

Alloy fittings well favoured, but handle-bar extensions, cranks, toe-clips and such parts that bear strain were mainly of steel.

A narrower section chain (popular with the racing men who use variable gears in this country) in use on most bicycles. Chain oilers fitted on or inside the seat tube.

Most of the competitors bought mud-guards for training after a few days here. Many machines had no fittings for these.

Weight of bicycles about the same as average British racing men's.

Italian riders, road and track, averaged three bicycles each. Some had four.

Tubular tyres used for all types of riding.

Toe-straps thin, but of superb leather.


Peter Brown, Lincolnshire, England