Every so often I feel the need for a bit of bike tube indulgence and so visit Chas at Roberts Cycles in the heady exotic lands of East Croydon. I first landed by bike at his frame-building base 22 years ago. I had cycled there to visit a good friend of mine, Chris Shaw, who was working as an apprentice frame-builder and who, soon after, was tragically killed on his bike when hit by a car. Anyway, I was smitten by Chas and his workshop full of tubes and all things tantalisingly top quality bicycle. A few weeks passed, as did a lot of umming and ahhing and inside leg measuring, until I finally cycled away on a pink touring machine – my first made-to-measure bike. Days after cycling out of Croydon I was riding over the Himalayas and across India. That bike took me over 220,000 miles around the world. It’s now a different colour and has worn out multiple chains, sprockets, chainrings, tyres plus a good few bottom brackets but the frame is still going strong.
There are now three Roberts bikes residing in my bike shed, plus one over the field – I have two, Gary has one and my mum has one. High time then to make that five. I’m thinking tandem so that Molly can come on board for a bit of stoker speed and fun. What’s more, she’ll be tucked in safe behind me which is what you want for only a little thing not long turned four. So a couple of weeks ago Gary, Daisy and I picked up Molly early from school and trundled off to see Chas.