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Bike retail veteran funds derailleur history project with sales of t-shirts and mugs

Edinburgh Bicycle co-founder Mike Sweatman has a website listing 485 historically-significant derailleurs, and is aiming to expand it to 1,000 listings funded through the sale of merchandise. DisraeliGears.co.uk now has an online shop selling t-shirts and bone-china mugs. 

The three t-shirt designs feature hi-res images of a Paul Powerglide from 1995, a Zeus 2000 from 1979 or a Precision Billet Proshift from 1994.

Sweatman says the £29.99 tees "make good presents for the bike-geek-who-has-everything."

Why Disraeli Gears? The term originated in the 1960s – Disraeli Gears was the name of the second album released by British rock band Cream. 

Band member Ginger Baker remembered: “You know how the title came about – Disraeli Gears – yeah? We had this Austin Westminster, and Mick Turner was one of the roadies who’d been with me a long time, and he was driving along and Eric [Clapton] was talking about getting a racing bicycle. Mick, driving, went ‘Oh yeah – Disraeli gears!’ meaning derailleur gears … We all just fell over … We said that’s got to be the album title.”

In 1977, Sweatman was one of the founders of Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative – then known as Recycles Ltd – a workers’ cooperative. Before retiring last year he was the co-op’s buying director.

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