It’s every Englishman’s duty to be a bit eccentric so when my brother suggested we try the “Tin Can Ten” it had to be done. A ten mile TT (well, actually 10.8) on a sporting course, the only stipulation being that the bikes had to be fitted with Tin Cans. WHAT?? To the uninitiated, hub gears like Sturmey Archer, with all the whirry epicyclic geary bits inside what looks like a tin can.
A quick rummage in my garage unearthed a 1950 Sturmey Archer ultra-close ratio hub. A drenching of WD40 helped me get the thing apart, and very little needed doing inside. So it was duly laced into an old Fiamme sprint rim and hey presto, my ’49 Carpenter Supalite fixie is now a 3-speeder. John likewise built up a wheel with an old hub gear and a 26-inch MTB clincher rim for his 1939 Saxon.
No formalities here, just show up at a designated layby, pay Loughborough Phoenix CC your £3 and off you go. Two laps of up-and-down lumpy bits. I was caught by a guy on a modified Raleigh Shopper, but enjoyed ripping past another on a Bickerton folder. We finished mid-field, about evens, John just over a minute quicker than me. Oh, and sumptuous cake and tea afterwards. Yum! Rob Gray won in 26:01 on his steel wheeled Vindec shopper. Impressive! In fact the bikes were at least as interesting as the athletic performances. A wierd mixture of vintage bikes like ours, modified Moultons and small wheeled shoppers. When I say modified, we are talking about aero bars, miniscule pseudo-disk wheels, mudguards extending right over the front of the front wheel for streamlining. But the key lesson was that small wheels go fast.
If you’re intrigued, the next event is July 9 2016. You have a year to get a world-beater assembled.