Chipper, Strida, Tomahawk, Chopper, Grifter. These are all names of Raleigh bikes and will bring back brilliant memories for some bike trade thirtysomethings. See these precursors to the mountain bike in the flesh at the National Cycle Musuem of mid-Wales. This collection of 250 bikes and assorted memorabilia is a treasure trove of technology and techniques and needs to be cossetted by the bike trade. Become a Friend or, suppliers, pay a lump sum and get your new bikes displayed in a 'what next?' section

Make friends with the National Cycle Musuem

The National Cycle Musuem of Llandrindod Wells gets 12 000 visitors a year, including plenty of school kids who get turned on to cycling.

"Sixth form students find a wealth of technical information, inspiring new ideas," said the musuem’s curator, David Higman.

"Many of today’s inventions are reworkings of ideas developed in the 1890s and early 1900s. There was a mushrooming of development then and today’s designers would benefit from seeing bikes and accessories from that period."

One sixth former from the Thomas Telford school in Telford (the top performing comprehensive school in England last year) visited the musuem and was inspired to develop a pedal-attaching LED that generated its own power. This invention is currently being patented.

Thanks to cash from the Clore Duffield Trust, Higman is able to take items from the National Cycle Collection on an outreach programme to schools, boosting awareness of cycling and its heritage.

The National Cycle Collection (Registered Charity No.511257) is housed in an art nouveau building built in 1901. It displays 250 bikes but has another 600 bikes either waiting to be restored or on roving loan to other musuems. There’s a Hobby Horse from 1819 and bikes through to the modern day.

The museum is the combination of the David Higman and Tom Norton collections, as well as part of the Raleigh collection. Many of the bikes on display came from the National Cycle Museum at Lincoln which was mothballed three years ago.

As well the Raleigh children’s bikes above and ten Ordinaries there’s a fine collection of Sunbeam cycles, the top of the range bicycle for over seventy years from around the 1880s until after World War II. Other British makers represented include CWS, Premier and Lea Francis. There are four bamboo-framed bicycles manufactured by the Bamboo Cycle Company of Wolverhampton in 1896.

And remember when magnesium pressed-out bikes were going to take over the world? They didn’t but the musuem has a Kirk Precision to bring all those memories flooding back.

There are special displays of loaned items from famous roadies such as Barry Hoban, Tom Simpson and Billy Dovey.

There’s the Raleigh M-Trax 450 Elite titanium-framed MTB as ridden by Barrie Clarke when he won the National Mountain Bike Championship in 1996.

As well as bikes there are enamel signs, waterbottles swigged by cycling superstars, and race-winning jerseys. Additional displays this year will include a Sturmey Archer collection and similar round-ups for Reynolds tubing and Brooks saddles.

Displaying all this history costs, and the museum is always in need of funds.

Treasurer Trevor Jarvis – a frame maker and resurrector of the Flying Gate frame – told he would welcome any donations, no matter how small.

And he said the musuem would also be open to the idea of displaying brand new bikes so visitors can be brought bang up to date. The fee for such an inclusion is open to negotiation.

For those without bikes to display, the museum would like to be befriended. Becoming a Friend costs £10. Do so by filling in the PDF form below.

There are currently 200 Friends of the National Cycle Musuem Trust and they get free access to the musuem and four newsletters a year.

Tel: 01597 825531


PDF download…/friends.pdf

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