Two celebrations in tandem
Forget about Catherine Zeta Jones; forget about Ieuan Wynn Jones and his
Ken & Pat being interviewed for Coast FM radio station
problems in Plaid Cymru: the most important story in Wales this week has been the fiftieth birthday of Ken and Pat Brown's Claud Butler tandem.
In celebrating CB's first half century, Ken and Pat were interviewed for both radio and television. As they are long standing members of CTC it is nice to think that their own celebration coincides with that of CTC's own 125th Anniversary.
Whereas CTC, or the Bicycle Touring Club as it was first named, was born in Harrogate in Yorkshire, Ken and Pat's Claud Butler tandem was delivered by the stork when the family were resident in Dagenham, East London. It was not so long afterwards that Ken's job with Pilkington's Glass was relocated to North Wales and Ken and Pat, and their four children, became founder members of the old Vale of Clwyd CTC Section which ran for many years.
Being featured for the popular BBC 'Wales Today' programme
Those of technical disposition may be interested to know the tandem has a 22/22 frame with a 'straight through' chain drive. It was originally equipped with Resilion 'split cable' brakes and a 'continuous cable' Cyclo four speed derailleur gear. At the front it had a Cyclo Rosa changer which may now be found in the National Cycle Museum at Llandrindod Wells. Welcome to The National Cycle Collection
Over the years modifications have been necessary. Currently the transmission is geared with a Suntour derailleur at the rear accommodating a block of six, with a Simplex changer at the front. The chain sets are still the original Chater Lea, which says something about why we all bought British in the days of yore. Although the current Campag front wheel hub, and the Swallow tandem hub on the rear take some beating!
As for bringing the steed to a halt in full flight, Ken and Pat now rely on an Avia drum brake at the rear, and Suntour cantilever rim brakes front and rear. Braking to the rear is controlled from a single lever.
The only major modification to the frame took place in 1983 when the rear triangle was lengthened to accommodate panniers and camping equipment, which was more appropriate to the family's type of cycling, rather than racing for which the tandem was originally designed.
Although Pat and Ken possess a car they prefer to use the tandem wherever possible. They reckon that in their fifty years of riding tandem they have covered about 100,000 miles, including a fair number of tours to the continent. Last summer they cycled over a thousand miles in France. However they admit a car is sometimes useful for their main shopping trips - once a fortnight!
May Ken and Pat and their faithful companion have many more years of joyful cycling ahead of them !
For anyone wanting more information on tandems it's well worth having a peep at the UK Tandem Club's website http://www.tandem-club.org.uk