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STRUGGLIN' - a Profile of Jack Eason

Tim Wainwright


by Harold Bridge

The Rocky Mountain 1200 is now behind us for a while & has left those of us involved in it with a host of memories. The average age of the 40 entrants, 39 starters & 35 finishers was 46 years. The youngest rider, Stig Lundgaard from Denmark, was 31 & Jack Eason from England was the oldest, a month short of 75.

The current issue of "ARRIVEE", Audax UK's glossy quarterly magazine, includes a profile of Jack & I think it worth repeating in this publication. I asked the author if he could e-mail the article to Susan. But he had already erased it & gave me the go-ahead to copy the text. I can't' do much about the 5 photos included.

Jack Eason during the Rocky Mountain 1200 (photo: Harold Bridge)

Anyone who meets Jack soon realises the twinkle in his eye is kept there with his love of long distance cycling and his dry sense of humour is often tongue-in-cheek, not to be taken too seriously.

Fortunately for me, I coaxed a few of his secrets to share with you:

You currently live in Potters Bar in Hertfordshire. Is this your hometown?

Which cycling club do you belong to?
Willesden CC

I believe you had a career in the R.A.F. For how long was this?
It wasn't a career, just had to join up halfway through the war. I was demobbed in 1947.

How long have you been a long distance cyclist?
Always, 30 miles was a long distance when I was a kid.

The vast amount of kilometres you ride are becoming legendary in AUK circles. Riding to and from events across the country each weekend is quite common for you. What total distance do you cover each year?
Approximately 20,000 miles (if I can afford the tyres!)

Your Brevet 25,000 is in the bag, how many kilometres left to reach your 50,000?
Nearly there, when I get some time to sort out the paperwork.

What is your maximum for a year and when?
I don't keep records, although I've done a thousand miles in a week a few times.

Over the last 5 years you have ridden LEL once, PBP twice, BMB three times, what ultra-long rides have you planned for this year?
I only think of the next ride - the others just materialise as the weather gets warmer.

You are one of AUK's most well-known members, recognised by auks countrywide after riding so many events. You have proved that you don't need the latest cycling equip- ment and clothing to be a successful long distance cyclist - I notice that it is only in the last couple of years you've added toe clips and straps to your pedals. Give us a few details about your fleet of bikes.
I have two bikes, one is green, so is the other one - one being a clone of the other. They have the same hardware but one gets favoured with the newer parts. I also have a "bitsa" bike (also green) used for off-road events (silly rides for the CTC DA competition).

You had a painful experience in PBP99 when a crank broke. Tell us what happened.
The right hand crank broke in half a few miles short of Fougeres. I scooted into the Controle and Mark Trigg and Bob Howell went off to a local shop for a replacement but it wasn't satisfactory. Found a local girl who was fluent in English to tell the "onboard mechanic" to get back to shop and have them send down another, which he then fitted. The (gear) ratios were a bit high but struggled through. No other damage but impact with top tube made my eyes water!

What are your favourite three events in the AUK calendar?
The Daylight 600, the National 400 and the Brevet Cymru 400 (and all the others if it doesn't rain)!

When you first went to America for BMB, the high tech North American cyclists on their carbon fibre and titanium framed bikes couldn't believe you, a pipe smoking grandad, had a snowball in hell's chance of finishing. Alongside you was Steve Abraham on fixed, which completed the picture of ecentric Englishmen. You completed where many of them failed. Can you recall your favourite memories from that event? Telling the local radio station you saved up for the trip by doing a paper round, which your mother was covering while you were away, comes to mind.
Too long ago to remember. But, I was cycling home, approaching Leicester, and saw a female having bike trouble on the opposite side. I went across to see if I could help. A puncture - no problem. Cover was pierced with a sliver of wood, which I removed.. I don't patch tubes insitu and told her I would replace tube with one of my spares, patched many,many times ( I am not one of the "six patches" then throw away brigade). She was happy with this. All went well. No brake release so let tyre down to fit in bike, then skewer would not tighten wheel - too much axle poking through. Had a closer look - the locknut was missing. Searched around and found it on the ground in two bits. It had cracked in half, with rust. Tried to form a spacer out of a spare spoke, but couldn't make it small enough. She followed what I was trying to do. She unzipped her jacket, lifted her jumper and un-screwed or untwisted a ring from her belly button and said "Try this". It was a tight fit but went on with a struggle. Success- wheel tightened on fork. Pumped up tyre, had a test ride-all OK. She gave me a kiss and went on her way to Loughborough. Continued on my way with a tailwind and for a while oncoming lights all looked like a belly button.

What is the secret of your long-distance Riding success? Is it the slabs of chocolate and fruit cake in your bar bag? Spill the beans Jack - there are many of our members who would dearly love to complete a tenth of the miles you do.
Choose the right mum and dad Plus luck

What hobbies do you have outside of cycling?
I have an allotment (rented vegtable garden), enjoy reading, dancing, G3RVQ (call sign)

What television programs make you use the off switch?
I do not have a TV - no time. Also it's lots of fun when the licence chap calls, he's positive I'm cheating.