Viking Anecdotes

This is a page devoted to your anecdotes and memories of, or related to, Viking bicycles – in effect the human history of Viking which I thought was well worth preserving.  Please send me yours to add.  Writers are only identified by their initials.  Let me know if you would like your full name included or, conversely, if you would like me to remove anything you wrote that you do not want published:

First of all, great website! I have reacquired my Viking Hosteller from my Dad’s loft. I last rode it approx. 35 years ago. It was originally my Dad’s, who bought it second-hand during the late 1960s when we were stationed at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. For some unbeknown reason, he decided to respray it in the early 70s. There remains a small amount of the original paint colour around the original Tour of Britain transfer which was retained. The Tour win dates are 1951, 1955, 1958 and 1959. At the moment I’m trying to get hold of a copy of a photograph of the bike as it was when my Dad bought it. The frame number is stamped on the left dropout and appears to be H13819. The frame size is 22”. It appears to have some form of Nervex lugs, though I can’t find a match on any images I’ve encountered. The saddle is a Brooks B17 Swallow, though I think my brother swapped his saddle for mine at some point before he went on to sell his earlier Viking bike some 30 years ago.I am going to try and restore it to something like it’s former glory, though I appreciate it will be quite difficult to obtain authentic parts. I wondered in the first instance if there was any way of trying to find the colours that were used for Viking bikes of this period, and if there are any modern equivalents. I have taken some photos of the bike bits I have at present (my Dad is still trying to locate the rear wheel and Benelux gears in his loft at the moment!), and will upload them for your consideration and records within the next few days. -I.K.

I have been looking at your site a lot lately and  maybe able to share some info.I bought my TOB Clubmaster in 1956 I was 16. It was 10spd, front c/ring changer was on seat tube. Cyclo B No.on rear dropout appears to be P080. I had it sprayed  a few years ago so lost the tranfers. However a few months later I bought a track frame Clubmaster? on which the transfers are still readable and I am fairly sure they were the same, the only No. I see on this one under the bottom b. is 73 and 72 on the trackend is 27 or Z7 .I did have the option when I bought it, for £1 more I could change 2 things , I asked for the B/B to be 0.5 inch higher and switched the colours. it cost me £18 – W.C.

Subject: 1958 Tour of Britain Programme
I love your information! I see there is no mention of the Kent Team in the programme, is there a page missing? Dave Creasey(Polhill) was the team manager and I was the mechanic (Orpington CRC and Palmer Cycles of Bromley). Riders were Les Scales  Independant and Brian Crozier(Polhill) – (Witcomb bikes);
John Kilby (Indy Youngs); and Tony White (Invicta)and Bill Best (Meridian) both Orpington CRC amateurs. Only Brian and Bill finished the race. Sickness and crashes took out the others.
One correction, Two nights before Alfons Sweek lost the yellow jersey Bobby Thom asked me to help his mechanic to take the parts off the Belgian team bikes, and put them onto Viking frames, he expected to have both the overall winner and the team prize. As it happened Sweek punctured in Lynmouth, the team cars had to wait behind the race as Porlock hill and the descent were thought to be dangerous. Sweek changed his tyre himself, but the valve proved to be faulty, and he lost the race waiting for a wheel change.
The Belgian frames went home with the team after the race as did the Viking bikes, some with brand new GB brakes. Benelux gears were politely declined!
I knew Bobby Thom who was a friend of my father, he would come into the shop to sell us Viking bikes, and always asked about my racing. There was a strong bond between the Kent and Yorkshire (Viking) teams, and after the stage finish in Harrogate we all went with Jimmy Saville to a chinese restaurant. Jimmy or Oscar as he was known payed the bill.
There are other stories I could tell about this race, but for the moment I shall remain be discreet. – J.P.

I was very interested to see the 1962 catalogue, as I sold the Raleigh Roadster my Dad bought me to ride to school on in 1963, (I think) and gave the money to Harry Hall, (who was Tom Simpson’s mechanic and had a bike shop at the back of Manchester Cathedral), as deposit on a Viking Medallist. When I took the HP papers home for Dad to sign, there was hell to pay, and I went for a year with no spends until the balance was paid off. It was well worth it – I loved that bike!! Great site, great memories. – M.B.