Walter Greaves's
King of the Mountains bike

This must be one of the rarest of cycles, at least the only one you can see in captivity. It was made by Walter Greaves of Bradford. He was born in 1907 and lost his left forearm in an accident at aged 14. This didn't deter him from cycling. He broke the World Endurace Record by doing 35000 miles in the year 1936. Nor was he deterred from framemaking either. For perhaps the duration of the 1930's he made frames, and a few in later life. His premier frame was the King of the Mountains a lugless frame of short wheel-base. There was a simple non-asthetic reason for the luglessness. He could manage only to build this sort of frame due to his lost limb. Using specially made jigs and his well-established welding and brazing skills he could manage on his own. Given his erasable nature, working on his own was probably to the benefit of all, and maybe his only option.
The bike shown has a fine finish and seeing it "live" in the Bradford Industrial Museum gives an eerie feeling of nostalgia and sadness - strange enigmatic frame-maker gone and almost forgotten (in only 30 years). His bike is left largely unappreciated in a crowded display of wondeful Jowett cars, giant textile machines and railwayana. It is alongside a Baines Flying Gate - I suspect that this gets much more attention.
The frame is noteable as a very early example of a lugless frame. With the technology as it stood it must have been difficult to prevent intruducing brittleness to the metal around the joint. (even more so when you have only one arm)

I am still driven to try to find out more about him and his exploits.
To read what I have found about him you can click on my
Walter Greaves page. [loads into new window]
It is the only updated article, as far as I can ascertain, about this forgotten, heroic, stroppy Yorkshire hero.


Bradford Industrial Museum info about Walter Greaves bike.
Above top right. Recently edited display info from Bradford Industrial Museum. (Well worth a visit especially for transport buffs.).

Lower writing on head badge reads Walter W Greaves

Note lack of left hand brake, best spotted below right. That said, it was fixed gear anyway, so quite legal.

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