Just popping down to Butterworth’s

Mike Dodgson

Tony Butterworth's, Catch Bar Lane
Bag purchased around 1984 - still in use
Tony Butterworth's, Catch Bar Lane Bag purchased around 1984 - still in use

Marchwood, S6

The wonderful photograph by Peter Skidmore, (Star, December 31), of Tony Butterworth’s father’s Abbeydale cycle shop has stirred many happy memories for me and I suspect hundreds, if not thousands, of other cyclists, young and old.

I am reminded that Tony opened his shop at Clay Wheels Lane around the year of the World Cup, 1966. This was the year we moved to Stannington and when toe clips, cotter pins, spanners, gear levers etc. were the norm, and no helmets.

In all the later years, no matter how busy the shop was, Tony always had time to resolve your problem.

His younger assistants also fully met Mr Butterworth’s standards, trusty business and services were followed by safe, reliable, enjoyable cycling. This reliability was very important, especially cycling to east and west coasts and Scotland, which took between 5 to 15 hours, and before mobile phones.

On these long cycle rides, I used a Butterworth’s of Sheffield shoulder bag to take most of the essentials. I recall, (1986), a couple from Sheffield at Gretna Green passing comment and on the way up the A1, (now A1M), and cars tooting their horns.

I also made dealings with James’ Cycles, Attercliffe Road, (near to my workplace), which was demolished around the time of the World Student Games and the business concentrated in Rotherham and near Bramall Lane, Sheffield.

Sometimes as I cycled home from work I would visit Arthur Cauldren’s bike shop on Langsett Road.

Arthur regularly serviced bicycle wheels from nearby larger establishments and he knew his trade as well as, if not better than, any of the “big boys”.

From memory, still, Tony Butterworth retired around the millennium leaving a fully stocked proud establishment at Clay Wheels Lane.

Chris Faulkner took over the shop and continued the excellent reliable service until his death in 2016. I have yet to revisit the present owners, but our dear cyclist Sandy Savory is very satisfied as he continues in his mid-70s to cycle up to 10,000 miles per year.

In October 2016, the Star letter was “Pal’s achievements are an inspiration” that acknowledged Sandy’s cycling.

In my swan song years, I have most cycling dealings with Langsett Cycles, another well known and respected establishment.

Here a former assistant to both Tony and Chris, Paul Kippax, (Kippy), carries on with the very high standards that all cyclists still expect.

But these days it is also disc brakes, gear changes, quick releases, hydraulics, helmets, alloy, carbon fibre and increasingly electric motors, also mobile phones.