David Eccles, a life-time cycling addict, was working in Nottingham as a freelance illustrator whilst his wife Fiona had a post at Nottingham University. He joined Loughborough Pheonix Cycling Club. The "Pheonix" alludes to the club being comparitively recently formed to assist an aspirant group of young time trialists to do their thing within regulations. It was the time trialing which appealed to David. He commonly rode fixed, but also a Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub-gear. He talked the Pheonix into putting on an event exclusive to hub gears.
It came to pass that in 1992 such a race took place. The novelty hasn't worn off. Many of the bikes were racing style, mostly vintage with either Sturmey Archer gears or, alternatively, a hub geared wheel replacing the resident wheel for the purposes and duration of the event. Round about 2000 the event was adopted informally by the V-C C.C. whose reason detre is the love of old, historical machines and to race them "as they were meant to be", their website proclaims. The liason for the race passed to Phil Wray. The result was some amazing old machines were ridden round the West Leake course at surprising speed.
In more recent times Moulton Mania took over. First, the 1994 tin can 25 (more later) was ridden to 3rd by Richard Grigsby using the multi-tubed Moulton Spaceframe model. Next appeared Moulton Mk3's. The Mk3 was designed as a shopper bike (they won't like me saying that) complete with welded-on luggage rack. The latter is removed, thin 16" - 18" wheels fitted and the result is a low slung and light machine, reasonably well suited to time trialing. Most of these riders belong to the Moultoneers. There were 3 of them this years (2011) race, but I am not going for a cheap silly remark.
The winner this year was on a Vindec shopper-type machine with low-tensile tubing, steel cottered chain set and original all-steel components. The ability and fitness of rider Rob Grey demonstrated that it is not so much the machine but more the rider that counts most.
David, moved "darn sarth", but has made the two hundred miles journey many times to compete. It was pleasing to see him return to the fold in the 2011 TCT. It is an addictive event!
. A website www.tincanten.com was run by Brian Donnan. This site is www.tincanten.org and was created by Stuart Collins in 2011. It features a few items from the old site but most of it has vanished into the digital aether.
If you are reading this, please consider entering next year. Everyone is friendly and encouraging; The cake, you can admire and taste. It is sublime! To summarise :- grab a piece of the action and a piece of the cake.
The Tin Can 25 races are another David Eccles initiative. There are about 4 of them around the Sussex / Surrey area. He has negotiated an add-on class to existing time trials. He runs a sort of league table and the winner gets the "alternative" Tin Can trophy made by Simon Anstill.
tragicallly, Simon was killed on his bike just after creating and awarding the 2nd trophy. The second one is for the "25" championship. Both trophies have a value far bigger than the oddments they were wonderfully made up of. They are now a memoir of Simon; as an added small silver label reminds us.
PS the address of this site is www.tincanten.org
During the winter it hibernates deep in the sea of websites. Putting in Tincanten gets some peculiar things to look at, including a range of biscuits (guess how many). During the summer quite a few must be visiting the site and it rises to the top of the various search engines. What we could do with is this interest to be translated into a big entry for 2016 (the 25th year). I would like to get a real blast from the past from those noteable riders yesteryear.
PPS Tragic history comes in the news of the death of Phil Wray in February 2015. All sympathy to Lorna, who like Phil was a habitue if our mad event.
Next event Saturday 8th July 2017.
Stuart Collins May 2015
Some further reading
John Woodburn, most famous senior rider to do a Tin Can event
Daniel Summerfield, now professional American young rider : did the TCT in 2008
Stuff on hub gears, those who ride them, etc. feature on the links page
Tin Can 25 races page