John Benney Auto'bike'ography
I was born into working class roots in October 1951. Earliest recollections are of being fascinated by anything mechanical. I was interested, not only in riding and driving bikes, boats, planes and steam engines but also in how they worked and how to repair them.
Throughout my life I have had a heart and mind for quality products and craftsmanship. My enduring passion for cycles and cyclesport is fundamental to how I conduct my business at Alltrax.
Cycle Sport and JB (the early years)
As a school boy I was a keen cyclist but I became hooked on cycle racing after joining a training session with fellow pupil and local time trial champion Bill Butler. A lifetime interest in cycle sport arose from studying "Cycle Racing in Europe" as part of my O level examinations.
In 1967 I began an apprenticeship in the motor repair trade and that same year joined theSt Budeaux Cycling Club. I had early success in 10 and 25 mile time trials and junior road racing. I progressed to senior racing and for 12 years held the club record for 100 mile time trial. I forged life-long friendships with members of local cycle clubs; amongst many names are Chris Scawn, Roger Bennett, Phil Coombes, Dave Michel, Bill Blake, Chris Sammels, Gordon Fulford, Roy Horswell, Dave Treliving, Pete Treliving, Frank Hatton, Martin Brown plus too many more to mention.
My bicycles from the 60's through to the 80's
In common with all serious cyclists I rode3 mostly British built steel frames, equipped with Italian and French components. The frame tubes were manufactured by Reynolds and Columbus and these were joined with silver or brass brazed lugs.
This era has rightfully become known as "Cycling's Golden Age" and some of the successful frame makers names are Mercian, Gillot, Rory O'Brien, Holdsworth, Pat Hanlon, Woodrup, Condor, Carlton, Ellis Briggs and Ron Cooper. It was on such bicycles that in 1972 I rode a sub 1 hour 25 mile time trial and in 1972 was an olympic academy rider.
The late 1980's saw an arrival of aluminium and carbon composite frame tubing, and the demise of most of the craftsman steel frame builders.
The passion still lives
I retired from mainstream racing following a particularly nasty crash in 1981. I then channeled my passion for competitive sport into running. IN 1982 I competed in the Plymouth marathon and the London marathon in the following year.
Whilst enjoying the running, and in so doing was fulfilling a post-crash promise to my mother that I would NOT ride again, there was something missing. Ten years after the crash the newly evolved Mountain Bike racing scene presented me with a new opportunity to relight the passion. Finishing 20th in the Grundig World Cup Race told me that I still possessed the gift to race successfully and in 2004 this was further endorsed when I became South West Veteran Cyclo-Cross Champion.