Who Could Hate a Hetchins?

January 6, 2010

I have been a cyclist since 1960 when I got my first clumsy Raleigh. It was followed soon by a Falcon which I rode everywhere, once to Paris, once almost to Lands End. It had a cheap derailleur which I removed in late 1962 and rode it fixed wheel until I left England for America. My real desire had always been to own a Hetchins. In my early teens I watched the big London bike clubs sweep through my town on their way to the coast. Each rider mounted on an example British tube mastery. Bates, Holdsworth, Claud Butler, Gillot, Bob Jackson, Carlton, and of course Hetchins. If you were one of those riders climbing out of the Weald of Kent some summer in the late fifties you may have seen me crouched at the curb watching and hoping, listening to the click of the changers and the buzz of the chains. Eyes bulging with barely suppressed lust.

In 2004 I finally managed to get one made for me by the successor company to Hyman Hetchins. I call her Loretta, and even though she has all the braze-ons to mount a full Gruppo Campagnolo I ride her fixed at about a 74 inch ratio.

 While surfing on some cycling sites the other day I was disturbed to find that there are people who do not like these beautiful bikes and actually wish their riders ill. I was taken aback and yet not surprised. For every beautiful thing there is often a countervailing ugliness.

Loretta, who is even wiser than me, whispers to me that even when her rear triangle tubes were being drawn her nascent soul knew there would be critics. As Hyman Hetchins himself might have said, “You can’t please all the punters!” But it does seem that he can annoy lots of people even after he has been dead for close to half a century. As Loretta and I cruise the flatlands south of Portland, Oregon, it can only add to our riding pleasure to know that we may cross paths with a critic and cause his angry confusion, subsequent entry into the ditch, where he may join others of a similar mind.

You can see a lot more Hetchins at this site www.hetchins.org And other famous older bikes at www.classicrendezvous.com

Ride well, ride long, ride…

One Response to “Who Could Hate a Hetchins?”

  1. now why would anyone be angry about a beautiful hetchins?

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