Grandad showed me how to repair punctures with vulcanising patches and would let me hold
tools and help repair them. I enjoyed getting dirty and learning to use a spanner.
I read a lot as a kid and would often visit my local library and once I had saved up and got my Speedwell, I'd ride to the library and more often than not borrow books on bicycles. These books had a big influence on me.
A couple of my favorites were "Richard's Bicycle Book" by Richard Ballentine, and Robin Adshead's "Bikepacking for beginners" which informed my purchase of the Apollo III.
Ballentine's book is a classic and I still enjoy reading through bits. It takes me back. I found/find the maintenance section very useful and he also had good advice about dogs and avoiding collisions. Most of all I was apalled at his account of the 1972 destruction of bicycles in Paris by riot police. My humble Speedwell meant alot to me and someone smashing it up was unthinkable.
Adshead's Bikepacking was something altogether different and I guess philosophically the two authors couldn't really be further apart. Ballentine was a bohemian idealist while Adshead, an ex Gurhka was more conservative and pragmatic. Nevertheless they were united in my mind as they both loved cycling, and promoted it in a way that involved your entire lifestyle.
Robin Adshead detailed construction and fettling of his beautiful custom Jack Taylor touring bike. Even though it was reproduced in black and white photographs I knew that this was the style of bike for me. Adshead, introduced me to fenders, padded handlebars and the formula for gearing calculations that would inform my preference for bikes for the next 30 or so years.
So, I'm a little bit retro, maybe even a bit indiosyncratic. I like lugs and fenders, leather saddles a-and a comfortable trail. Exploring the web and finding the likes of Rivendell Bike Works, Heron and many others, means I'm not alone.