They don’t usually use computers, so much of their knowledge is stored in their heads.
By the time we learn from them, it’s second-generation information.
My contemporaries and I are in a younger age group – forties to sixties – and we’re busy learning and recording what we can before it’s lost forever.
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Thus, for example, an apprentice mechanic was handed down an invaluable unwritten guide to repairing vehicles that could not be learned at college nor from books, because, as well as specific information about various models, it helped a youngster understand the way they were designed and built.
Similarly, to learn about vintage bicycles, we ask questions of our elders in the hobby.
The key point here is that the elders who were around while our favourite vintage machines were still on the road are no longer with us, the last of them having passed on in the past twenty years or so.
Now we must depend on those who gleaned that first-hand knowledge from them; these chaps were the ‘youngsters’ then, but now they’re getting older themselves, most in their late sixties and seventies.
’ The answer, in short, is that I do not have time to tell you either. With an estimated 15,000 bicycle manufacturers, the odds are stacked against me recognizing yours; in any case, I do not claim to be an expert, just an assiduous recorder of information.
’ is a question I get asked a lot, nearly as much as: ‘I have a bicycle that looks like one of yours; if I send you pictures please can you identify it for me?
To sift through information to try and find similar pictures to your unidentified bicycle would take me months, and I’m already doing similar research on my own bikes.
Not only do I have a full-time job (I run my own business restoring and selling vintage vehicles) and am a hands-on parent of a young child, but I spend a minimum 30 hours every week building, updating and maintaining these free websites to help you . Insomnia is my saving grace, otherwise there would be no time for any of this. In the ‘old days’ (a time which seems to have ended in the past twenty five years or so), a youngster became an apprentice in a chosen field and learned its history from the older employees.
If you can help in any way by contributing to this research, please get in touch. By recording and sharing this knowledge while it’s still as fresh as possible, our fabulous vintage hobbies will continue for centuries to come.