Rayment Cycles

Happy days for a 12 year old

More than 50 years ago, I used to ride over to Hove to Bill Rayment’s cycle shop, to watch him making bike frames. These were the bases of real racing bikes and he made them ‘from the ground up’. Bill was quite happy for me, as a 12 year old, to potter around his shop, looking at expensive racing gear or just watching his expertise. He was, in his own way, one of my mentors. 

Do you remember Rayment’s shop? Please share your memories by posting a comment below.

Rayment’s and sponsorship

Bill sponsored a semi-professional racing cyclist called Ron Panel. Bill supplied all of the necessary kit for Ron and, presumably, took a cut from any of Ron’s wins. Ron had an awful temper and I was scared of him. I was a member of his cycling club – Brighton Velo – but clearly not, in any way, a peer. He did not mind telling me how slow or lacking in talent I was. I was happy just to know someone of his apparent stature.

I never won a race

Bill Rayment made very good frames. I persuaded him to swap my own frame, made by ‘Edgeworthy’, I think and one of the ultimate frames. for one of his own. It was bright yellow and had, previously, been owned by the above named, Ron Panel. I felt that I had ‘arrived’ on the Brighton and Hove bike racing scene. The fact that I never won any races didn’t seem to matter. 

Business carries on

It is good to see that the Rayment name has been carried on. I note that Rayment Cycles are still a presence, in Brighton; the present owners bought the business from Bill Rayment in the early 80s. Bill Rayment, always charming and optimistic, would have been proud. 


Comments about this page

  • I remember Bill Rayment’s shop well, I always bought my cycling gear there, I think it was on the corner of Rutland Road and Suffolk Street. I seem to remember that Bill was going to emigrate to Tasmania? 

    By John Cording (26/07/2015)
  • I think you are right about the exact position of Bill’s shop, John. I seem to remember that he was Australian, so going to Tasmania sounds about right, too. He was a great and modest man. I loved watching him weld a bike frame or build a wheel from the first spoke. I never did find out where his skills came from. 

    By Philip Burnard (27/07/2015)
  • I had a frame made by Bill and I later bought another one from one of the Worthing lads. When Bill sold the shop in New England Road, Brighton, he opened up another business in Lewes. Does anyone know what happened to Bill and Maggie eventually? I would love to know what Andrew and Martin are doing now. Andrew opened a bike repair business in Park Crescent in Brighton, but I see that is no longer there.

    By Michael Sayers (18/06/2020)
  • I remember Bill and Maggie Rayment’s business was Marsh Cycles in one of the streets off Portland Road. Serious cyclists used to come to the shop from miles around because Bill was honest and patient would give good advice and use quality components when making a bicycle. I have never known anyone to build a better wheel than Bill, he was a master perfectionist at wheel building. One of the wheels I still ride was built by Bill over 60 years ago, it must have done thousands of miles in England and Europe and hacked to work and back in all weathers without needing maintenance.
    The first bike Bill built for me was using a Rotrax ‘Shirley A’ frame fitted for touring. It was a truly lovely machine and expensive for those days. I used it for muddy YHA weekend tours and stripped down on early morning time trials along the Old Shoreham Road (perish the thought these days). When I moved to Tunbridge Wells it was stolen and my trust in people was shaken at a time when people were generally more trustworthy than now.
    Bill later moved to Hurstpierpoint and opened a shop in the High Street. Bill and Maggie then lived opposite the church. It was in his high street shop that he designed and built the lovely filed lug Rayment frame which I still ride. Many years later after he returned to the UK and owned the shop at Preston Circus he got the frame re-enamelled for me. I did have a wheel built for me by the lads at Worthing but sad to say it has not stood the test of time. Bill told me that the hand built machine he rode himself when at Preston Circus was stolen, like me he was pretty cut up about it. I think Bill and Maggie moved to somewhere near Plumpton.

    By Michael T (02/02/2021)

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