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Frank Bowden was a remarkable young man.
Wealthy in his own right. An instinctive businessman. A natural public relations and marketing man. And a man whose will to live eventually led to the founding of Raleigh - a firm he built into the greatest cycle company in the world.
For when he arrived back in England from Hong Kong, the 38-year-old was told he only had months to live. He refused to accept this and seized on the advice of a doctor who told him: "if you want to save your life, take up cycling". Cycling was enjoying its first great boom and young Frank took the doctors advice with enthusiasm. Six months later he was a fit and active man again.
He was so impressed by the bicycle on which he had ridden back to health, that he traced the manufacturers to a small workshop in Raleigh Street, Nottingham. It was owned by Messrs. Woodhead, Angois and Ellis, and they were turning out three bicycles a week.
Frank Bowden bought an interest in the company, and injected both fresh working capital and his entrepreneurial talents.
It was December 18, 1887 - the beginning of the company which three years later was to become the Raleigh Cycle Company.
Raleigh never claimed to be the first company to manufacture bicycles - after all the forerunner of the modern cycle was trundling along the roads many years before. And between 1790 and 1839 there were cycles driven by devices like swinging and foot operated levers.
But Raleigh led the world in mass production of high quality cycles. By the time Frank Bowden's dynamic influence emerged, the cumbersome and difficult "Pennyfarthing" had been overtaken by the safety cycle - a machine with two equal sized wheels.
And what made Raleigh great was the flair and determination which he brought to refining the cycle as a means of transport.
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