It’s funny how some of us who were into cycling in our younger days have returned to it as we’ve become older, and some such as myself still have a fascination with the bikes of our youth despite the many improvements in materials and technology since.
Anyone with money can walk into a bike shop and buy the latest and greatest, but some prefer the satisfying challenge of bringing an oldie back to life …
One of the more interesting older bikes in the Newcastle Tweed Ride this year was this Healing road bike.
A.G. Healing was a large cycle manufacturer in Melbourne, though this brand is much less common now in New South Wales than the more familiar Malvern Stars. It seems, however, that at one time there were Healing outlets throughout Australia.
The company eventually moved out of cycles as did so many others as the industry began to decline, concentrating mainly on domestic appliances after 1959 when the bicycle division was sold. There is a reasonable amount of information about the company on the web – though, as usual, the detail on individual models is somewhat thin.
It seems that the top models had a brazed-on “H” on the head tube with very fancy lugs and colour schemes, with the medium-range models having a chrome badge like this one and the basic ones with a plain head tube.
The brand was raced by many well known Aussie cyclists ( including Russell Mockridge, one of the very best ) and they would have had the top ‘pro’ models, of course.
This Healing has a 3-speed derailleur system that is an amazing mix of exposed clamps, springs and toggle chains. The drive chain is 1/8″, the same width as single speed, rather than the usual 3/32″ of modern derailleur systems.
The cogs are also set further apart than is usual now, and I assume that with the limited number of ratios the wider chain doesn’t have to move far enough across the cluster to cause friction problems.
I can’t say I’ve had any experience with these older derailleur gears – they are a bit before my time !
The bike is running ‘singles’ ( i.e. tubular or ‘sew-up’ tyres ) as did the racers of the day and as do most racers now.
The owner, Danny, used to race bikes in his younger days and took up cycling again after he had quit long-term smoking and started to put on weight ( many of us can relate to that losing weight thing ! ). He now has a good sized collection of racing bikes from the early C20th to around 2000 – which would be great to see one day !
I didn’t get a lot of technical details about this bike, or even its age, but I think it’s a most enjoyable thing to behold.
Hopefully my somewhat hurriedly snapped photographs can convey a little of this.
The saddle is an Ideale, which was the French equivalent to Brooks – apparently this brand is undergoing a revival and will be releasing a new leather saddle too.
Happy Re-Cycling !