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Bill’s vintage bike collection dazzles children in museum
Buy this photo » Roger Battley with the collection of antique bikes donated to the bus museum. Picture: OX63068 Damian Halliwell
THEY have been building up in Bill Faulkner’s home for years and span more than a century.
Now, 42 vintage bicycles, dating back more than 100 years, are on display at the Oxford Bus Museum in Long Hanborough.
They belong to Mr Faulkner, 77, of Church Hanborough, who has loaned them to the museum for 25 years.
He has another 50 other old bicycles at home but has kept them back because of “overcrowding”.
He has also donated £10,000 towards building work and new flooring at the museum.
He said: “These bikes represent 100 years of progress and this has taken two years to come to fruition. They were previously being displayed privately but I thought the public should have a chance to see them. They are part of Oxford’s history.”
Mr Faulkner’s favourite is his first Penny Farthing. He added: “I used to ride them but I’m too old these days.”
Roger Battley, 66, from Carterton, designed the new exhibition housed upstairs in the museum in Main Road.
He said: “We always had cycles among the exhibits so when the opportunity arrived to have an area specifically devoted to them it was a natural progression.
“The collection is amazing. We get a lot of school children visiting and as soon as they come upstairs they are now surrounded by bikes.
“They are full of questions.”
Some bikes in the collection include seating for two people side-by-side and could take up more than half a road.
Mr Battley said: “Some were massive. When the kids see them they can hardly believe people used to ride them.
“Because some didn’t have brakes people used to leap off.
“You were quite somebody if you had a bike back then.”
The collection shows the development of bicycles and the increasing size of the driving wheel. Mr Battley said: “It was only as these machines faded from favour with riders that the name Penny Farthing came into use and is the name most people know them by today.”
Mr Faulkner retired 20 years ago from the motorcycle firm his father Fred set up in 1910 in Oxford.
He joined the firm in the 1950s and now his sons Gordon and Robert run Faulkner & Son Ltd in Botley Road.
Mr Faulkner is married to Caroline.
His sons are both in their 40s. He also has eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He has not retired totally.
He said: “Just the other day I was working on a bike and found a patent plate, hidden beneath rust, that said it was made in 1874.”
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