Freddy Grubb Vintage Frame

I have this lovely Freddy Grubb 1950’s 20″ frameset on sale here on Ebay:
It’s in lovely condition, and thanks to the experts who follow these bikes on Ebay, is likely to be a 1951 Perfection with exquisite lugs. As you can see the lug work is stunning and nicely picked out with the lining.

I first heard about Freddy Grubb as he is mentioned in Tim Moore’s book:
Gironimo!: Riding the Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy which celebrates the 1914 Giro D’Italia which has the following terrifying statistics:

Longest ever average stage length: 396.25km
Smallest number of finishers: 8
Highest percentage of retirements: 90%
Longest individual stage by distance: 430km, Lucca-Rome
Longest individual stage by time: 19h 34’ 47”, Bari-L’Aquila

Tim Moore rode the same course in 2013 using a bike from the era and shared similar personal pain as the competitors the century before.

Following Freddy Grubb’s Olympic success in 1912, he turned professional and entered the hardest cycle ride ever conceived. He was famously a vegetarian and a teetotaller but this ride was to be his first and last professional ride. After returning from Italy and surviving the first world war in the Navy he set up a cycle shop in Croydon. Freddy’s bio on Classic Lightweights is none too flattering, but there is no denying his cycling and frame-building prowess. Unfortunately, Freddy died in 1949 a couple of years before this frame was made.

Thoughts on Beyond The Flood

After watching Beyond The Flood we came to the conclusion that the world is in dire peril and how we approach this information comes down to the following metaphor: When the Titanic was sinking how did you choose to spend your last 15 minutes? Were you fighting for a place in the lifeboats, hiding in your cabin, jumping into the sea, tapping out the mayday in morse or in the ballroom dancing?

Well, DiCapprio during his discussion with Obama makes the point clear: it would be immoral to stand by and do nothing, or even to party on as if nothing is happening. With this in mind we’ve resolved to make 3 major changes to our lifestyle:

  1. Given that cattle are responsible for 18% of global emissions worldwide we will reduce out beef consumption to 10%.
  2. Our rainforests are being destroyed at the rate of 300 football fields each hour to make way for palm oil production we will attempt to remove unsustainable palm oil from our diet completely.
  3. This is the most important issue of our times and that of our children, we must continue to keep tapping the mayday on the morse code, and tell our friends, family and politicians to do all they can to avert this disaster.

What are you going to do?

Stan Perry frameset

Stan Perry frameset for sale on Ebay here.





Here’s the only info I can find on Stan Perry – thanks to Yorkey on the Retro Bike Forum here.

I can though tell you a little about Stan Perry and Sudbury Cycle Works, as I worked for Stan at Sudbury Cycle Works 1977 to 1978: it was my first full time job. (And that is why I am so envious of your find: the closest I have to a frame like yours is a (Holdsworth built) Claud Butler Panache, c.1984, which is also in 531ST.)

I spent my school years and a bit more in Harrow, West Middlesex. In 1977 I started looking for a summer job, and walked in to Sudbury Cycle Works, Harrow Road, Wembley. There I met Stan who, after quizzing me a bit about what I knew about bikes and what mechanical experience I had, said yes, that when I was ready, he’d take me on. Characteristic of the man. And so I started in June, working mostly in the workshop, rather than behind the counter, which suited me fine.

I learnt that Stan’s father had started the business – I have always understood – before the First World War. He started out – as so many did then – making frames and assembling machines with mostly commercially available components. The workshop still held quite a bit of equipment from those days, and the shop wasn’t short of a few seriously old bits and pieces. Stan had a nephew who managed the shop, although Stan was in every day and very closely involved (without interfering). The nephew was very good company, and a good sub-boss, but his heart was not in bicycles. There were other lads there too, some part time, some full, and we all learnt heaps. Our week was five and half days, with Wednesday a half day.

Time trials and Sunday rides were the thing of the day, and there was a very good association with – or at least patronage by – the nearby Wembley Phoenix, so we built wheels and generally prepared and set up machines for the weekend – racing and recreational. The Wembley Phoenix were a good bunch.

The notion that Stan’s father started the business before the Great War is I think quite plausible: in 1977 Stan was a few years older than my father who was 53, so Stan, in his late 50s or pushing 60 could well have had a father of the right age. I remember new Stan Perry frames coming in from time to time mostly if not only to order, and after a while I was privileged to build up some of them. But – and this is probably one of THE questions you may have – I don’t know who was building the frames in the 70s.

I left Harrow in 1979, and fairly soon after, but I can’t remember even the year, a former neighbour contacted me to say that Stan had died. A little later I was in the area and called into the shop where Brian was still running things, but he said that it wouldn’t be for much longer – and it wasn’t!

So, seeing your frameset is a true delight, and you have prompted me to save a search on eBay in the hope that I may find one for myself.

I wish I could interpret or even just verify the frame number, but the truth is I can’t. Without the leads from other posts suggesting that the 71 refers to 1971, I would have suggested mid to late 70s based on style and fittings. I agree that it is unlikely to have been repainted – and I don’t know of anyone making Stan Perry decals, which substantiates that idea. So any dating from the Reynolds decal could help, but appears to be a bit of a contradiction as Stan died in 80 or 81, and very few frames were produced even in my time, never mind in the late 70s or after his death.

I like your ideas for building it up – not unlike how I did the Claud Butler: Campag Victory groupset, Mavic Module E2 rims, Cinelli stem, bars and tape, Brooks Professional saddle, Sun Tour New Winner six speed block and Sedisport chain – all as close to period as I could get.

So good luck with it, and happy riding.

It’s for sale on Ebay here.

Vintage bike frame to Fixie Project

1952 Rotrax Fixie


Given a clean and straight vintage bike frameset from the 50’s just add the following for a simple and great fixie:

  1. Flip flop rear track wheel (check rear dropout width)- Rayleigh £78
  2. Any old modern front wheel from Gumtree – Campagnolo Khamsin £20
  3. Modern Bottom Bracket English Thread (check axle width for a straight driveline and diameter and thread type) – Shimano £16
  4. Seat post 27.2mm (double check diameter!)- Campagnolo Aero £34.99
  5. Saddle- Brooks B17 Saddle £90 new (great secondhand)
  6. Crankset- Sturmey Archer FCS 44T x 170mm £23
  7. Track chain- Miche 1/8 inch £7.99
  8. Fixed Rear Sprocket- Miche 17T 1/8 inch £9.99
  9. Aero quill stem 22.2mm (check diameter)- Nitto £22.00
  10. Bull bars (watch compatiblity with the stem)- Pattern part £6.00
  11. Flat bar brakes (optional)- Tektro FL750 Silver – Pair £19.99
  12. Brake callipers check frameset drilled holes are present and in the right place – measure drop to make sure your frame works with 700C wheels. (optional)- Miche Silver – Pair £23.00
  13. Brake cableset- Jagwire set £4.06
  14. Faux leather bar tape- Deda £7.79
  15. Coloured Tyres- Lithium 2 Red £26

So that’s a unique to you Fixie with a vintage frame which will be great for thousands of miles all in for £380 (less if you use secondhand parts) + whatever you can get the vintage frame for.


Relative Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Given the earth’s level of atmospheric CO2 has recently breached the 400ppm barrier and it is proven that CO2 levels in the atmosphere affect our climate, I thought I’d have a look into measuring and reducing the carbon dioxide my family’s activities emit.


Using the excellent Carbon Calculator at Climate Care we can get some numbers.

Item CO2
Electricity 2.7
Gas (Heating) 2.94
Transport (Car) 1.54
Holiday 5.04
Total 12.22

For example, our electricity usage of 6000kWh per year, using a worst case scenario of UK power generation produces 2.7 tonnes of CO2. Our gas to heat the house at 14000kWh surprisingly works out about the same 2.94 tonnes of CO2.

I didn’t realise, that relatively, natural gas is a lot better from a CO2 point of view – I guess this is assuming that the UK power generation mix is not renewable powered. You can see the UK’s generation mix in real time here:

Considering our car, the Lexus hybrid over 10,000 miles a year at 65mpg emits 1.54 tonnes, which is almost half the 2.64 our previous diesel car emitted. We can also use this calculator to see how much my 2000 miles cycling a year would save (just under 1/2 a tonne of CO2)!

Looking at the figures for our last family holiday where we flew to Canada, the return flights to Halifax Nova Scotia for four of us were responsible for emitting 5.03 Tonnes in total. Which is the equivalent of driving for two years or heating and powering our house for an entire year.

I had previously thought that we were making good in-roads into our CO2 emissions, but how well have we done?

Being extra careful with our electricity usage and replacing the light bulbs and energy intensive appliances with A++ rating equivalents once they had failed our electricity usage has gone down 10% (from 6600kWh and it looks like this year will be even lower). We’re hoping to reduce our gas usage by 10% too by being more careful, using our Hive to give us a finer grained control over the thermostat and water heating times (you can turn it all off when you are away). However, the energy used to heat our leaky old Edwardian house is truly shocking, and a tough one to reduce – the house is very well insulated already, it is extemely well draughtproofed, we wear jumpers most of the time, use a wood burning stove, and the Hive helps us minimise our usage. We plan to add some double glazing where we don’t have any which hopefully will have a 10% impact.

Next year we won’t be flying to Canada so that will have a large impact on our CO2 emissions. We also hope the double-glazing will reduce the amount of energy required to heat our home. We have also found that solar panels can be fitted to our roof for a relatively small cost and we would assume that this would reduce our annual electricity emissions to zero.

Item CO2 Costs
Electricity 2.7 £924.78
Gas (Heating) 2.94 £713.24
Transport (Car) 1.54 £790.32
Holiday 5.04 n/a
Total 12.22 £2428.34

This costs us £91.65 at to offset. Hopefully next year we’ll manage to halve our emissions and therefore halve both our direct energy costs and also our offsetting costs.

There’s quite a few omissions in the emissions here, the CO2 for building a medium spec car is about 17 tonnes, therefore 1.7 tonnes per year. The food-chain emissions for the food we eat is around 2.7 tonnes for the family, and clothing could be another one tonne. Last year we travelled to Nottingham, Bristol & Settle by train which added a further 0.5 tonnes. We are also making the assumption that our wood-burning stove is carbon neutral as the wood has been harvested locally by council contractors and therefore would have been disposed of anyway.

So our grand family total is around 18 tonnes, which compares to the UK’s per capita average of about 8 tonnes per person or a family total of 33 tonnes.


Quick python script to remove jpegs if raw exists

I have my EOS 80D set to save jpg and Raw files. However this means that when the files are imported I have a lot of wasted disk space. I’ve had this set for about 10 years which equates to about 80Gbytes of disk space. I thought I’d create this handy python scrypt to search through your Pictures folder for a file that has both a jpg and a cr2 file and then move the jpg to another folder – for review and/or potential deletion. NB This has worked on my Mac but please don’t hold me responsible if you accidently delete a precious folder.

import os
import shutil

raw_ext = '.CR2'
jpg_ext = '.JPG'
destination = '/Users/darren/Desktop/jpgs/'
source = '/Users/darren/Pictures/'
for root, subFolders, files in os.walk(source):
for file in files:
(shortname, extension) = os.path.splitext(file)
if extension == raw_ext:
if os.path.isfile(root + '/' + shortname + jpg_ext):
print 'Moving ' + root + shortname + jpg_ext
shutil.move(root + '/' + shortname + jpg_ext, destination)

Annoyingly WordPress doesn’t keep the indentations for python, so you can download the file here. Save the file in your home folder, unzip and edit the paths for destination and source and then run from terminal with python You’ll need to crate your destination folder before you run the script. Comment out the last line with a # if you want to do a dry run!

Teaching the teachers Scatch

I enjoyed giving the following quick talk to the teachers at St Paul’s Brentford this week.

Most exciting though, was that I got them all coding, and they loved it!

Slow WordPress website?

If you’ve been running your WordPress site for a while then there may well be lots of junk in your core wp-options table. If you add an index to the autoload table you can often see a dramatic improvement in response time. You’ll need mysql/phpmyadmin access so only give it a go if you know what you’re doing!

ALTER TABLE `wp_options`
ADD INDEX `auto_idx` USING BTREE (`autoload` ASC);