|Jack pictured on the right.|
Jack was a great teacher of cycle mechanics and, though it didn't always seem so at the time (short cuts were never encouraged - tyres were to be inflated by hand despite the compressor under the bench and power tools were a strict no no!), he took a great deal of effort in passing on the intricacies of the trade. With hindsight I think he also took pride in the fact that working for him could be seen to be character building. Furthermore a rich education in the full expressiveness of the Anglo Saxon language was part of the package and it seemed Jack's sincere wish that I should exit the shop slightly less of a soft **** than when I entered it.
As a teenager I worked in the shop Saturdays and school holidays, slightly older I came back and helped out in the college holidays and later on I mucked in when I could at the Christmas rush.
|Hearne frame headstock detail.|
So here's to you Jack. Thank you for mentoring me through the cycle trade and my teenage years. Thank you for your friendship and generosity.
Geoff 'Jaffa' Orange has written up about his time as Jack's assistant during the Stoke Poges and Slough years:
I'd like to add some memories of his time at Blandford Forum.
Jack came down to Blandford Forum with his wife Peggy in the early eighties. They took over a guest house in the nearby village of Cashmoor. Though it was supposed to be a retirement it wasn't long before Blandford's cycle shop, then known as 'Lucas Cycles' came up for sale and, with cycles in his blood, Jack couldn't stop himself.
I started working for Jack just shortly after he had bought Lucas Cycles; immediately changed to Jack Hearne cycles and the shopfront signwritten in Jack's trademark black writing on yellow background. The story Jack gave me behind the trademark colours was that he had been told by a knowledgable biologist customer that black on yellow was the most instantly recognisable and stand-out colour combination to the human eye due to the danger association with stinging insects.
|My Jack Hearne fixed wheeler.|
Before too long Jack had decided that the shop's configuration wasn't up to scratch and with his brother he set about levelling the floor space (previously several sets of steps connected the shop front to the cottage) from front to rear and doing a proper job on creating a selling space for cycles. Being a listed building the shop front couldn't be altered at all and some 200 tones of rubble had to be wheelbarrowed out through the side entrance to the shop.
As the shop became established trade picked up and, if Jack warmed to you, his willingness for a chat in his semi-retirement job the shop became a magnet for local characters.
Jack became a well known and liked figure in Blandford and the village he and Peggy moved to after Cashmoor, Pimperne. And it was in Pimperne that the well attended and fitting memorial service was held.
The cycle I rode along is one of Jack's track frames that I have refurbed with as many period Campagnolo parts as possible in homage to his preference for the brand.