I met Ian Steel at the London Cycle Show in the late 1950s after he had retired from racing. He was present on the Viking Cycles stand, his former sponsor, looking very smart in a suit and very much the gentleman. Ian Steel was a credit to Viking and a great ambassador for the sport of cycle racing.
He was very patient at the cycle show and answered all of my questions on the different variations that might be available on the "Severn Valley" cycle. I can't imagine any of today's professionals doing that, even the UK riders.
The 'Severn Valley" bike was later used by the German Ruberg team, which included British pro road champion Keith Butler amonst their ranks. Ian Steel retired from racing prematurely. Like many top British cyclists, he arrived on the scene a decade too early and never really fullfilled his true potential.
Whilst watching the Belgian amateur road championships at Ronsse in the early 1970s, my friends and I were pleasantly surprised to note that the neutral service vehicle was equipped with a Viking "Severn Valley" road bike. Although I never did purchase one myself, the "Severn Valley" was excellent value for money and later used by taem riders when Viking re-entered the British road racing scene with teams of "Independents". Brian Haskell, Stan Brittain, Albert Hitchin, Ron Coe and Dave Bedwell were probably the most distinguished of the British riders who rode for the original Viking Cycle company, between 1958 and 1967.
Viking Cycles were bought out by an American by the name of Lambert and bikes produced under the Viscount brand. Viking Cycles were re-launched (in the late 70s/early 80s?) with Sid Barras leading a strong team in the UK, co-sponsored by Campagnolo. Colin Coe