Sprockit’s Hercules Hunter
This Hercules Hunter is, an all-original machine dating from 1975, except for the tyres. I bought it from my local bike shop to ride along the canal towpaths and the flat/easy gradient cycle-ways which have been built along the routes of closed railway lines. It is a working bike, as I use it (along with my folding Triumph Twenty) in my work as a freelance cycling instructor - and is pictured on my commute home from work, although the commute is different each day.
I've hankered for a while for a single-speed machine, which, to me, is the most basic and simple form of mechanical human transportation alongside the less mechanical aboriginal craft such as dug-out canoes, the Welsh coracle and the Inuit kayak, indeed the beauty of these people- and goods-carriers is locked in their pure simplicity. Paddle, and it goes; pedal, and it goes - and each at its own pace.
The locks of the Ashton Canal will allow the passage of a boat 70 feet long with a 7 foot beam and a draught of 3 feet, i.e. a traditional English narrow boat. With a payload of about 20 tons, these were the transport catalyst of the late eighteenth to the mid twentieth centuries, i.e. the motorways of their day, and, without them, Industrial Revolution could not have happened in the way that it did.
Immediately after these
photographs were taken I set off to resume my journey and found that the rear
tyre and tube had a puncture. I fixed it, only to find when I resumed that the
tube was still leaking air, so I had an interesting commute through central
Manchester with a tyre that went flat every three minutes!
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The original Raleigh Twenty was in production in various forms and under various names from 1968 until 1984 and has gained a cult following from cyclists worldwide. This popularity can be largely attributed to the late Sheldon Brown, a legendary bicycle guru, who owned several Raleigh Twentys throughout his lifetime.
At one stage, the Twenty was Raleigh's biggest seller. Raleigh's survival through the cycling slump of the 70's can be largely attributed to the Twenty and it's variant models. It was sold also under many of Raleigh's captive brand names such as Triumph, Sun, Hercules and BSA. It was also sold as the"Supercycle Twenty" in Canada. It was also built to a unique design by Morrison Industries in New Zealand.