These differed from 001 in a couple of respects. Firstly, the rear wheel was supported on one side only, living to the left of the main frame tube. Since the freewheel lived on that side as well, the drivetrain was, perforce, on the "wrong" side of the machine, requiring some Curious Practices to make it all work. The rear hubs were lightly modified Zeus items, with industrial cartridge bearings sized to fit neatly over the rear axle, the rear wheel being, like 001's, a 27" (ISO 630). From here the chain ran forward and around a single idler pulley, attached to the casting supporting the forward part of the seat, and above the left cross member. Then through a Burrows-built front derailleur, round the chainset and back whence it came, under the cross member through a length of plastic tube and back to the Sun Tour rear mech. The chainset had its rings reversed, so that the largest was closest to the frame, and the pedal holes had been reamed out and fitted with threaded inserts to as to allow the fitting of a left pedal on what started life as a right crank, and vice-versa. Somewhere there's a dim memory of a TA Cyclotouriste tandem front chainset being involved, but on which machine I know not... The rest of the machine was pretty much the same as its predecessor, featuring 20" (ISO 451) front wheels steered by a joystick (though Mike tells me that one of them, I guess it was 003, had 500A (ISO 440) instead), and braked by modifed Atom drum brakes - these being originally tandem units before being modified for the Speedy. The frames were welded, rather than the now-familiar tubes-joined-by-castings method.
Into the vicinity of this machine came a hairy teenager, newly arrived in the Real World and intent on studying Mechanical Engineering. Observing this low-lying mutation of cycle components, he asked several questions:
Isle Of Wight 1983
L-R Mike Burrows, Mike Cumberland, Andy Pegg, Andy "Nigel" Hingley, Dave Larrington.
I think the Borwell brothers must have sneaked off to the pub...
Below: Mike Burrows versus The Flying Greenhouse
Photos: Jon Stewart, from "Bicycle" magazine, June 1983
Ian Borwell had 001, Mike Cumberland and I had 005 and 006, while others present were Mike himself, works animal Andy Pegg, Norwich bike shop proprietor (and Ian's brother) John Borwell and hairy scruff Andy "Nigel" Hingley. Anyway, the Mark 3 still had its transmission on the left, but was constructed from tubes Araldited into castings, and featured 17" (ISO 369) front wheels and a 24" (ISO 541) on the back. The Araldite proved to be a slightly weak link in service, and subsequent models used Loctite 638 instead. But I digress...
Around 005 and 006 came the first fairing - designed by Aeronautical Engineering student Andy Shaw and built from Kevlar by racing car bodywork experts Specialised Mouldings. The front wheels lived completely inside the shell, which was good for aerodynamics but less so for practicality, and alas no serious though had been given to any kind of mounting system. So this beautifully light and rigid fairing was rapidly disfigured with several pounds of wrought iron as a mounting system was rapidly "developed". And in July 1983, off we went, trying to raise ten thousand pounds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. While at the same time, "Bicycle" magazine were giving one the full road test treatment, and you can read about it here:
24 pedallers, split into two teams. The first twelve would take the machine from London around Kent, along the south coast and up the west as far as the vicinity of Glasgow, whereupon the second would take over to pilot the beast around the top of Scotland and down the east coast back to London. Each group of twelve was split into three shifts, doing eight hours and and sixteen off. This should have been nice and restful, save that in those sixteen hours you had to wash, eat, sleep and drive several hundred miles to meet the vehicle when it was your turn to pedal again. To permit this, the nice men at the Ford Motor Company lent us a Transit van and a Sierra, while Norfolk car hire firm Willhire gave us the use of a Volvo estate. And Conway, a trailer tent manufacturer from Lancashire, lent us two examples of their product. Your writer was in the second twelve, and fortunately we managed to bag the day shift on the grounds that we were going to be a man down for the first couple of days - while we were in Glasgow, our fourth rider, Richard Barron, was still in southern Corsica. We (your Writer, Piers Gaffney, Steve Cobert and driver Roger Doo) finally linked up in Inverness, Richard having driven a minibus practically non-stop from La Corse to London before hopping on the overnight train to Scotland. And the band played on.
Boston, Lincolnshire. After a much-needed hot shower, a splendid dinner and much beer and brandy courtesy of Piers' parents we met the night shift at 10 am and went around the Wash, heading for Kings Lynn and a rendezvous with Mike Burrows, Andy Pegg and a crew from Anglia TV. This was not helped by Steve Cobert taking the wrong route out of town, but we finally got it back together and went around the edge of Norfolk as far as Great Yarmouth, where we met the evening shift. "Oh," they said, "we haven't had our tea yet!" We decided to continue until they had had their tea, whereupon they would catch us up and take over. Unfortunately it all went pear-shaped when the route deviated off the main A12, in spite of Richard's cunning placement of reflective arrows on the signposts. They never did find us again, so instead of an eight hour shift, we ended up doing fifteen, culminating in a mad flat-out-like-hell maximum-attack two hour stint through east London by your writer, to the finish at Charing Cross station, 10 days and 14 hours after departure. Followed by much Beer. Two days later I went cycle-touring in France, on an upright bike. How mad can you get?
Following which, the assets of the project had to be turned into cold hard cash. Mike Cumberland bought one machine, while the other went at a knockdown price to the newly-formed College HPV Club. Mike still retains his machine, while the other has, by various devious methods, fallen into the custody of BHPC Competition Secretary gNick Green, after being raced by me, Alan Hepper, Mike Bartlett, Piers Gaffney and Richard "The Rocket" Dorsett, to name but five. At one point in its career, it was rebodied as the notorious "Purple Nasty", a plywood-and-plastic confection designed and built by Piers, while the original fairing was left to moulder in a basement with half the College Motor Club Kart Section's gear on top of it. The Nasty was quite quick - at Milton Keynes Richard The Rocket ran it at nearly 40 mph in the 200 m sprint (only about 1 or 2 mph behind Andy Pegg in the Works Lightweight - but a plan to swap chassis and give Andy a run in the Nasty was thwarted when the Busies re-opened the road about two hours ahead of schedule...
The Purple Nasty was also abandoned eventually, simply because it was too difficult to transport to races - Piers having no truck with the notion of the [K|C]amm tail, which made it about fifteen feet long and impossible to fit into most sensibly-sized vans. gNick removed the remains to his garage in Ashford, Middlesex, but they were evicted by his landlord, who wanted somewhere to put a dismembered Land Rover, and were subsequently destroyed by the Not-A-Hurricane of 1987.
Subsequent developments in Speedy-land
included the right-side drive referred to previously, a one-off full suspension
model, the famous "Works Leightweight", assorted fairings, numerous kits,
production models, special editions, the one-off large-wheeled "Road Racer"
now owned by Ian Sheen and Mike's own carbon-fibre framed racer, before
The Seat Of The Pants Company (now Advanced Vehicle Design) took over production
around 1993, while Mike went off to design bicycles for Giant.
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