Frank’s shed

Frank's shed - if these walls could talk you'd hear many a tale of fame and woe. Photo: Eddie Barkla

Frank's shed - if these walls could talk you'd hear many a tale of fame and woe. Photo: Eddie Barkla

Google is a wonderful tool when seeking to find out about people, what has been written about them or media interviews that they may have conducted or a history of accolades of their sporting prowess. Well that was the case when researching this article.

We could write a book that is full of achievements but quite often they fail to paint a picture that bears resemblance of the person’s real character that is reflected when not on public stage and view. Record books of cycling hold many accounts of this person’s cycling ability and past history but what they don’t reflect is the multitude of cyclists that at some time, somehow, were a recipient of assistance from the humble dwelling of Frank’s Shed.

Frank’s shed is a place where you go when all else seems to fail in being able to get hold of an item of cycling hardware, some advice, a fix in a reasonable hurry, at a reasonable price and quite often no charge at all. There would hardly be a cyclists that has competed in Bendigo and District Cycling (and much further a field) when starting off did not darken the door way with the words “I was told to come and see you because I need…..”.

The requests were many and varied but nearly all were a need that was met at Frank’s Shed. The open remarks were along the lines of; “We needed a track frame or bike for my son or daughter”. “I need some chain rings to match this crank set”. “I need some cheaper wheels but reasonably good condition and serviceability to get started”. “I need my frame straightened out after a bingle and by the way I need this for next weekend competition!” “I need a new paint job or this frame to be modified to suit.” “I need a hand in getting the set up right I was told you could help”.

More often than not there was a quite word spoken inviting a visit to the shed along the lines of: “If you like I could help you get set up and on the right track, there is deep hidden potential and with the right start this could blossom”. It was all there in Frank’s shed along with encouragement to lift the spirit of being in the sport of cycling which at time can get the best down.

It was not uncommon to see cyclists of the World Championship Stage, Olympians and National champions come and go from Frank’s shed all treated with the same openness as a young want-a-be champion. It made no difference who entered the humbleness of the Shed; they nearly always left with a different perspective and some insight that would help them stand the toughness of the sport and what was required to be a worthy competitor.

Of course there was the times that races were re-rode and where strategic moves could have made that would have made a world of difference, but these can be used for another day when opportunity arose. There were days where circuits were planned and International events born from a vision.

Frank’s shed really had no boundaries when it came to the sport of cycling for age, nationality or abilities. Rarely were people turned away with having their need met or directed to the possibilities of where it could be met. It is like going to a library all the information was there is some shape or form and accessible to those that came to inquire.

Behind every good cyclist there will always be the encouragers, the supports and those that assist and support with little or no gratitude. Feel sure that this is the case for the man that watches from the car at the lonely road races or sits high at the track side and bides his time gauging when help is warranted and then it was a trip to Frank’s shed. How do I know this? I speak from first hand experience.

See you on the road soon God willing.

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