My friend David was a member of the St George Amateur Cycling Club in 1956, at the time probably the strongest cycling club in the country. He was riding a French racing bike that had been sold to him fairly cheaply but was too big for him.
A number club riders were selected for the Melbourne Olympics and needed road bikes and Joe Tait built the bikes for them. Joe Tait ran the Bol Dâ€™or business from 326 Forest Road, Bexley. According to David Joe was not interested in track racing, only road racing and his shop was the place all the St George riders frequented. Joe Tait built each rider a custom road frame for use in the Olympics. (The only problem with this story is that none of the St George blokes were chosen for the road race in 1956. Iâ€™m waiting to check this out more fully with David.) David, who at this time was an apprentice plumber, did all the brazing and assisted with lug filing etc. As a reward, David got his own frame, this one.
The frame was built to Davidâ€™s specifications to be used as a racer and commuter bike. Hence it has a lamp bracket, eyelets, clearance for guards and pump pegs under the top tube (where he wanted them). When completed he transferred most of the componentry from the French bike and flogged the frame, so this bike cost him very little to build. It doesnâ€™t have dual chainrings or a front derailleur because â€œthatâ€™s just one more way to drop the chain and who needs more than four gears anyway?â€
The bike is very original. It came with one somewhat perished Dunlop Speed tyre that Iâ€™ve transferred to another bike (to make a pair) and I put on some decent Vittorias. This is the only change Iâ€™ve made. New bar tape and brake hoods and respoking the front wheel are planned and a rechrome of the stem might also happen.
- Frame Bol Dâ€™or, Reynolds 531 with Campagnolo 1010 road dropouts
Wheels Front: BH Racelite hub, Ambrosio? alloy rim, 15/17 gauge butted spokes Rear: Atom hub (with Prior flanges), Ambrosio? alloy rim, 14 gauge spokes
Chainset Stronglight cottered with 50-tooth chainring
Pedals Lyotard Berthet with adjustable toeclips and straps
Gears Campagnolo Gran Sport rear with 14-16-18-21 freewheel
Brakes Universal Model 51
Stem/Bars Cinelli steel stem, unbranded alloy bars
Saddle Brooks B17 Narrow on Reynolds No. 4 alloy seatpost
Headset Brampton Alatet
Bottom Bracket Stronglight? with Prior hollow axle
Pump Bluemels alloy
More pics here.