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Pedal Power: Dave is a cycling expert by design
AN UNASSUMING shop front on the corner of a Northwich road hides a racing cyclist who aims to help others ride to glory.
Dave Hinde is a frame and wheel builder based at the junction of Manchester Road and Hewitt Street, but his past and future are grounded firmly in racing.
His cycling career started when, as a 14-year-old a paperboy, he proved himself more than capable of keeping up with cycling club riders.
“I’ve never been a sports person and never done any other sport,” he said.
“It’s just that when I was a schoolboy I found that I was quite fast.
“A local club collared me and said I had better join a club – I had been out doing my paper round, saw the club going past training, got on my bike, caught them and got past.”
He remembers his first ride out with his local club, based in Crewe, when he had no choice but to keep up.
“They were a tough bunch and don’t take any prisoners,” he said.
“As a schoolboy I went out training with them and people were getting dropped left, right and centre.
“I ended up with the fastest lad who was going hell for leather trying to drop me.
“He said ‘what’s going on’ because he couldn’t drop me and I said ‘I had to stop with you because I don’t know where I am’.”
But the experience never deterred him and he started racing when he was 15, coming second in his first time trial, the Altrincham Ravens 10.
He raced until he was 18 then took a break for nine years, returning to racing when he was 27 and continuing for a further 11 years.
Dave, who counts Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman as a former team mate, said his best year was 1981 when he won 56 of his 96 races.
He started 1982 well, winning nine of his first 12 races but then crashed on his 13th race and broke his collarbone.
“I came back quite quickly and won a 50 straightaway but after that it tailed off a bit,” he said.
By trade Dave was a welder who worked at Fodens, although when he was 15 he worked in a bike shop building wheels.
It became the obvious route to bring together his trade skills and knowledge of cycling.
“I raced full time but I thought there’s going to be some point where I’m not going to be able to race, I’m going to have to be able to do something else,” he said.
“That was when I started building frames in the mid to late 1980s.
“I just put the two together, engineering and riding bikes.”
He opened the shop in Manchester Road in 1990, making made-to-measure steel frames.
Now his carbon and aluminium frames are made in Italy but they are all still designed by Dave and his team, who send specific measurements and drawings to the workshop.
The least expensive made-to-measure aluminium frame he offers is £495, which works out at just over £1,000 for a full bicycle.
The most expensive custom built carbon frame is about £6,000.
He said: “Our bikes are built from the ground up.
“We would get you on the jig and get proper measurements then build the bike to what you want rather than take a bike out of a box.
“You haven’t got to mess about changing bits and pieces because it’s built right to start with.”
He said a variety of cyclists buy bikes from him but his favourite will always be those who race, an aspect of the sport he fears is declining.
“Racing is the test of the equipment,” he explained.
“You hear cycling is a booming sport but there are less races now.
“When I used to ride the club 10 on the bypass on a Wednesday night there would be 100 to 120 riders, they would have to turn them away because they’d run out of time.
“Now you get about 15.”
Dave now has a fledgling road racing team in a bid to boost the sport.
“That’s why I’ve got the racing team because it gets it out there,” he said.
“It’s a year ago that we started thinking about it.
“We’ve had a few wins and some good places so all-in-all we’re quite happy with the season.
“Managing riders is something different for me too so it’s been a learning experience this year.”
Despite his interest in the performance aspect of cycling, Dave was keen to stress that it is a sport anyone can take up.
“That’s the thing with cycling – it’s so accessible,” he said.
“I can’t think of another sport where you can just turn up like with a time trial where you race against the clock.
“With team sports you start off that much lower than everyone else and you can get disheartened.”
Dave still cycles regularly and is riding in the invitation-only Johnny Helms Memorial Time Trial which takes place in Goostrey at noon on October 6.
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