Christmas Cards

2003 - Harry Aspden


This year’s card is in memory of Harry Aspden
1911 to 2003
Author, Timekeeper, Photographer, Event Organiser, Coach, Lifetime Clarion Member and Representative and Hill Special owner - seen riding a war time all chrome example.
Harry was riding his Hill Specials until shortly before his death and his daughter is still using one of his Dennis Hill built frames.

2004 - Ken Hartley

This year’s card is of Ken Hartley of Blackburn and District CTC.
Ken is seen at Peninsular Barracks - Warrington - in 1953 in the Ceremonial Dress Uniform of the South Lancashire Regiment.
During his National Service Ken raced for the Western Command team of the Army Cycling Union. He is, of course, guarding his precious Hill Special. Whilst not riding quite as fast as during his days with Blackburn Eagles, Ken continues to wield a mean brazing torch and has (using various donated and damaged frames) produced track bikes for local youngsters to ride at the Velodrome and small sized touring frames for the younger members of the Section to use.

2005 - Margaret I'Anson

Miniature Masterpiece
This year’s card shows Margaret I’Anson of Audenshaw with her 19” Hill Special, proving that Adam could build an excellent frame in miniature.
For those of you whose card is in black and white the frame is finished in shocking pink! The bike has served Margaret in many ways, as a time trial bike, for club runs, for touring, and more recently for shopping. The bike has also seen service for Her Majesty during Margaret’s time in the forces. Margaret has recently swapped this road bike for a more comfortable mountain bike and Bernard White of Wigan has undertaken to preserve this miniature masterpiece.

2006 - Billy Hill

This year's card shows Billy Hill, who will be remembered by many Lancashire cyclists as the inventor of the Trivelox gear, beloved by tandemists as the chain line remained central, thus giving a very positive drive. By coincidence, as he was no relation, Billy was employed by Adam Hill as a framebuilder at Padiham from the late forties until the Clarion Cycle Works closed. This rare photo of Billy on a solo (he would normally be on one of his tandems with wife Nellie) shows him leaving the Clarion House at Roughlee on Pendle Hill. The Clarion Cycle Club organised a run to the Clarion House this year for all the Lancashire sections. Thanks to a fine day, a good time was had by all and old friendships renewed.

2007 - Carl Humphries

Carl Humphries carrying his bike



This year’s card pictures Carl Humphries carrying his Hill Special Path model at Fallowfield.

Carl was a prominent sprinter in the 1950s, winning medals at both club and division level, competing against all the famous names of the 50s.

Following Carl’s death earlier this year, his daughter donated the funds raised by the sale of the bike to Carl’s club the Manchester Wheelers.

The bike has been stored for many years and, despite some battle scars, as can be expected on a track iron, all the equipment is in excellent condition

2008 - Twin Tube Saxon

Twin tube Saxon built by Adam Hill belonging to Brian Braithwaite

This year’s card is of a bike rather than a person and it’s a very funny bike at that!

Adam Hill was, reportedly, the owner of the Saxon trade name for a time and experimented with twin tube frames.

This particular example was built for Brian Braithwaite of Clitheroe in the late 1940s and finished in typical style – all chrome with flam overspray.

Brian claimed to be very pleased with the frame but other members who rode it were not so impressed with its rigidity.

Brian will be remembered throughout the Clarion Cycling Club as an expert photographer and he is commemorated by the annual photographic competition at the Clarion Easter Meet.

Sadly the wherebouts of this frame were lost following Brian’s death but any details of other twin tube Hill Specials would be welcomed.

This photograph is reproduced with thanks to Brian Nightingale who rescued some of Brian’s albums when the house was being cleared.

2009 - Peter Bell

Peter Bell riding in the 1957 50 mile National Championship

This year’s card shows Peter Bell riding in the 1957 50 mile National Championship on his Hill Special.

Peter has fond memories of this bike as he first broke the hour on it on the Blackpool 25 course.

The Hill Special was replaced some years ago and Peter now has a choice of exotic machinery to ride!

2010 – Melvyn Hirst

Melvyn Hirst

This year’s card shows Melvyn Hirst, a member of the winning Loughborough team, riding his Hill Special in the 1959 British Universities' Hill Climb Championship. The event was a bit of a disaster for Melvyn as, although amongst the favourites, he punctured just before the start and after a frantic tubular change discovered, too late, that the wheel was rubbing heavily on the frame!  But Loghborough salvaged the team prize.  The hill was somewhere in the South Downs, Southampton being the host university.

Melvyn bought the frame second hand in 1958.  According to his late uncle, Billy Hill, who examined the frame, he built it in Padiham in about 1949.  It was lime green with a dark blue head tube and a large, dark blue diamond on the seat tube.

Fortunately this frame is still in Melvyn’s ownership.

2011 – Dave Ferguson

Dave Ferguson

This year’s card shows a Blackpool built bike ridden by Dave Ferguson of Clayton Velo Cycling Team, the frame was built by Dennis Hill.

Those of you in the North West will know Dave and those of you who have ridden with him were probably beaten by him as he was a formidable rider in his racing days. This picture is from the Jim Walmsley Memorial Road Race in 1984 and Dave has, as usual, broken away.

Dave is not racing competitively at present, he has moved his popular cycle shop into the centre of Skipton and this takes up all his time, but there will be tired legs amongst the vets if he decides to pull on his racing jersey again.

2012 – John Wood

John Wood

This years card shows John Wood of Clayton le Woods riding for Cleveleys Road Club in a Preston Wheelers 10 mile Time Trial on the L101 in 1982 or 1983, on the A6 at Garstang, Lancashire

John knocked out many short 22 minute rides for 10 miles using brute strength and a big gear (John’s words not mine!).

John’s Hill Special was one of only a few built with Columbus Aero tubing. Wheels were Dura Ace AX hubs with a 7speed cassette 11-18 laced with aero spokes and Assos 16mm rims, shod with Wolber 18mm Record Piste tubs. A Campag Record chainset with 180mm cranks and a 57t chainring gave a 139.9 inch gear in the 11 sprocket.




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