That last post about the Revel Romany 531ST - got me thinking about how things have changed in 'Cross, and how easy the young 'uns have got it now, with all that specially designed 'cross gear they have now an' all.
This is me at the Newbury Road Club Cyclo Cross in the winter of 1975-76. As I recall is was quite well placed (about 3rd or 4th) behind - and lapped by; a couple of Pros - probably Keith Mernickle and / or Ian Jewell.
I was a medium sized fish in a very small pond in those days.
Anyway - what we have here is a fairly standard rig for impecunious Amateur 'Cross riders in the mid-'70s. Raleigh 531 plain gauge touring frame, which I'd filed the mudguard lugs off to make it look racier (!), rattle-can sprayed in dark burgandy, with Dave Russell* decals attached...
GB Synchron side-pull brakes and I think the levers were GB too. SR / Sakae bars and stem. Heavily drilled Iscaselle saddle and a 'swaged' Raleigh-branded Sakae 42T single chainset with homemade ring guards and Lyotard steel cage pedals with Christophe straps. The rear cluster was a 14-28T 5-speed with a nasty Simplex plastic rear mech' and bar-end change lever.
I know that I was wearing a pair of pukka leather Cross-Country running shoes with ribbed soles (these worked v.well indeed for several seasons as the ribs were very deep and acted as shoeplate 'slots' and gripped not only the mud but the pedal cages too). They were absolutely the biz for the Three Peaks by the way.
And of course dig the crazy hairdo - no doubt inspired by Cross Pro' Barry Davies - the supremo of the Jason King lookalikes in those days (and now regular contributor to this blog) - and of course the 'easi-shrink' wool jersey and shorts.
I was 24 years of age and thought that a Professional career beckoned. No it didn't... Metephorically it was downhill all the way from here.
*Dave Russell was a very highly regarded lightweight specialist and frame builder (every frame with his name on was built personally by him - except the one above of course!) based in Slough and later Theale - just to the west of London.
Dave has now retired, but there are loads of his bikes to be seen in and around the Home Counties to this day. In fact I have a road bike made by him in my garage (another fleabay purchase).
I recall variously what a very affable chap he was, and that he sponsored not only a series of professional riders over the years - but also our local track league at Palmer Park in Reading. I also know that I could never afford to have a frame built by him - hence the fake above. No idea where I got the decals though - sorry Dave...