Saving Spike’s go-to bikes from the scrapheap

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(ABC Radio Perth: Emma Wynne)
It was the fluorescent yellow bicycle Mr Evans rode for 24 hours to set a record at Midvale Velodrome in 1994; it had survived, dusty but intact, in Jones’s shed.Mr West began a register of Spike’s bikes, recording not only where they were but the story of how and why they came to be made.He gives each owner he finds a plaque and collects their details and pictures of the bike, hoping to inspire the owner to keep and treasure their Jonesy.While many of the bikes are not particularly old, they are unique and tell a story of Western Australia’s cycling history. Photo:
Milton ‘Spike’ Jones was famous among Perth cyclists for his custom-made frames. They are also objects of fine craftsmanship. Photo:
A child’s tricycle made by Milton Jones in the 1960s. (ABC Radio Perth: Emma Wynne)
“By getting a custom bike you essentially get a bike that he’s made precisely to your dimensions to function as well as possible for the environment that you want to race in.”So the cycling cognoscenti would like say, OK, I need a custom-built frame, so they would go to Spike and he would measure them up.”In his little factory over in Willagee he would eventually construct the frame; often it would take a lot of meetings with people only because he was such a magnificent storyteller.”He was notorious for not being the fastest of frame builders and he used to spray them as well so some of them may have taken a couple of weeks, and I imagine some probably even a few months.”He would do beautiful lugwork, absolutely no filing marks, incredible attention to detail.”Jones did not just make racing bikes, he also made children’s tricycles, tandem bikes and three unusual miniatures, one of which is now held by the West Australian Museum. Photo:
Frank West gives each MH Jones bike owner he finds a plaque and adds it to the register. Frank West had been an enthusiastic cyclist for decades when he found an ad online that seemed to fit the bill for an old bike frame stripped of its markings that he could restore as a project.”I rang and the seller said, ‘It’s a magnificent little frame by a guy called Milton Jones; my dad had this frame especially built by Milton’,” Mr West said.”He said, ‘I’d like this frame to stay in WA — if you come down tonight you can have it’.”Mr West bought the frame and his interest in knowing more about Milton Jones, who died in 2013, was piqued. Photo:
Milton Jones created many custom frames for his customers in his shed in Willagee. (ABC Radio Perth: Emma Wynne)
“There were a lot of bikes for charity, including three-wheeled bikes for people with multiple sclerosis, a tandem bike that was taken to Europe where it broke a record for a visually impaired rider,” Mr West said.Although he has been tracking down owners for several years, on Saturday Mr West will host the largest ever gathering of Milton Jones bikes and their riders.It’s an event he is both excited and anxious about and is hoping he might find the 50th Jonesy to add to the register.”These current bikes will one day be of historical interest,” he said.”I’m in a position to follow up with some of the cyclists and get some of the stories direct from people’s mouths about the building of the bikes and who they raced with.””This really is just a very pleasurable pastime.”Details of the MH Jones register and open day can be found at the WA Historical Cycle Club website. “She was really good to me and helpful,” he said.”And she said, ‘You know, I’ve still got Rod’s bike in the shed’.”

Photo:
One of the Jonesies made for Rod Evans, now in Frank West’s possession. (Supplied: WA Historical Cycle Club)
“I looked online and the only article I could find was an obituary by his wife Mavis,” he said.”In that article she hinted that quite a number of state representatives had ridden his bikes and there was a chap called Rod Evans who broke a number of Australian and world records on his bikes.”Finding ‘Spike’ JonesMr West tracked down Mavis Jones and Rod Evans and learned what he could about the man who had made his bike.”Milton Jones started in the bike industry about the mid-1940s as a young man,” he said.After working in several bike shops, in 1956 Jones opened his own — Super Sports Cycles in North Perth.He later moved into working in motor and marine engines, but continued making bicycles in his shed at home under the names MH Jones or Capo.”He was well known among the cycling fraternity to the point where at major races, if a rider rocked up on a new Milton Jones bike, the call went out, ‘you’ve got yourself a Jonesy’.”But Mr West also discovered that Spike’s bikes were disappearing and set out to find and record the frames that survived. “He told me he had put one out on the verge, which was the bike that he used to be the first Australian to cross Australia on, that got picked up and that’s gone,” he said.Mr West spent 12 months restoring the frame he had bought then took it to show Mrs Jones. (Supplied: WA Historical Cycle Club/Frank West)
Mr Evans, who broke six world cycling records between 1989 and 1994, told Mr West he still had some of his Milton Jones bicycles.
ABC Radio Perth

By

Emma Wynne

Posted

July 12, 2018 10:07:18

Photo:
Frank West fell in love with the work of bike maker MH Jones. (ABC Radio Perth: Emma Wynne)

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Perth 6000
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