Stalen Ros Utrechtse Heuvelrug – ride 2014

Yesterday one of the greatest old bike rides rides this year took place in a small town near Utrecht, Netherlands.

Am I really starting this way? No, I´m not.

After taking part in last year´s Utrechtse Heuvelrug ride I thought that the amount of hospitality, good humour, company and wonderful bikes in one ride could not be topped, but I was wrong.

As a first sentence, this is not much better, either.

Is there a way to adequately describe the hospitality, the atmosphere and the good company encountered in yesterday´s Utrechtse Heuvelrug ride?

Split infinitive, heck. Oh well, I have to get started somehow. So let´s carry on.

My son, an exchange colleague of mine from Austria and myself loaded ourselves and our bikes into my trusty Volvo and set off at a quarter past eight to cover 220 km of motorway in order to take part in a ride which I had been looking forward to all the time since last year´s had ended. We arrived just on time to get the last available parking space within easy cycling distance of the meeting point, Café Buitenlust, assembled our bikes and right away saw a great number of friendly faces.

XABuitenlXAStartvorMy estimate is that there were no fewer than a hundred participants, most on truly great bicycles. We set off a few minutes after the appointed starting time, and it soon became clear that we were on the same route as last year, only the other way round. I didn´t mind that one bit as I had enjoyed last year´s route greatly with its mix of cycleways and onverhard, not tarmacked paths, some slight rises and loads of miles in the woods.

Soon we came up to a feeding station where we were fed cake and Dutch Ontbijtkoek, literally translated breakfast cake, but just as delicious at noon. Despite the sign saying “office”, there was no registering, no fees, no hassle of any kind, with the organizing family once again paying for all the food and undergoing all the work of preparing the ride by themselves.

XAFood1Now there was time to have a good look at the bikes, and what an openlucht museum people had assembled.

XAStop1bikes

Some impressions:

XAdttDelhez XAdttFrisol XAdttGaz XAdttGazChampMond XAdttGios XAdttMercier XAdttMerckx XAdttMiele XAdttMiyata XAdttPeug XAdttPina XAdttPresto XAdttReus XAdttTommas XAdttWimath XAdttZieleman, to mention but a few. To my mind, two bikes stood out of the crowd. One was a L´Express, adorned with much patina and great rear dropouts.

XAdttexpressXAExpressforkcr

Typical shoddy Nervex workmanship, left untreated in this forkcrown.XAExpressheadlExpressheadl Expressheadtransf Expressmafacs Expressreardo Expressseatcl ExpresstripleStronglI´m not quite sure I didn´t mix up bikes – look at the non-Nervex seatcluster. Perhaps someone can help? Did I mix the pics up with the Frisol? And is this built by Zielman? What a mess.

The other bike that stood out was a Masi Prestige:

XAdttMasiPXAMasibb XAMasiforkcr XAMasiforkleg XAMasiheadtransf XAMasirearbrake XAMasireardo XAMasiseatclHaving regained the road, the group was split by a train at a level crossing, giving me the chance to take a few snaps of the gruppetto.

XAScharnke2 XAschranke1Soon, the next food stop loomed. More wafers with cream, sausages, cookies and Italian Limoncello liquor waited for the none too hungry cyclists, many of which had also partaken of coffee and cake at a cafe stop earlier on.

XAfood2All of the food was very nicely decorated to create an atmosphere of exquisite hospitality, right in the middle of nowhere. Participants were even able to wash their sweaty jerseys.

XAfood2washsnapThey weren´t, of course, the jerseys were part of the decoration.

By then I had given up on taking photos of all of the bikes, there just were too many. I restricted myself to details.

XAbikecrescXAChesOlymp XAChesOlympseatcl XAChromebike XAChromebike2 XAChromebike3 XADelhezheadb XADelhezheadlNervXAPinkJaboOn a more sombre note, we also passed by Grebbeberg Military Cemetary.

XAgrebbenberg1 XAGrebbenberg2Early on in the Second World War, the Dutch Army had tried to resist the invading Wehrmacht in a battle in which 420 Dutch and 250 German soldiers lost their lives. The battle is unconnected with the famous Operation Market Garden which was preceded by the Grebbeberg battle by about four years. It had taken place on 11-13th May 1940 right were the burial place now lies, and the cemetary now is the place where on each 4th May the Dutch national day of remembrance ceremonies are held. There are now about 800 Dutch soldiers buried here.

Back to the ride which did not pass without some technical hitches. There even was talk of a crash, but I couldn´t verify this. Most certainly, though, it was bedevilled by a number of punctures. Several times a sound like a pistol shot would announce another old tubular giving up its ghost. During the procedure to get the bike on the road again, many more conversations would be held, and on one occasion we were even able to watch part of a field hockey game in a location well chosen by the tubular which had blown up.

XAStopflat1XAgroupwoodXAflat2 XAflat3However, the weather was very nice, and so people didn´t mind for the most part, not even watching game of field hockey. The ride ended considerably later than planned though, but this couldn´t mar the overall phantastic impression it left behind. It´s definitively a “tot volgend jaar”, see you next year.

Can I end the post like this? Guess so.

Guerciotti For Sale

Xtttransf2

This

Xfullbeauty lives quite near to me, and its current owner is compelled to sell it for medical reasons. No, it´s not that his heart rate goes up every time he sees it. I took the opportunity to play with it for an hour or so before it goes and as a consequence can share these photos.

If anyone of you is interested, drop me a line via the comments and I´ll pass your email on to the owner. The bike is 55cm c/c, and the asking price is 850 Euros. The bike needs a good service, but the chrome will clean up well.

I usually do not advertise bikes for sale on this blog, but once I had taken the photos I thought I might make an exception from my rule. Let me add that I do not own the bike, I have not fixed the price and I have no financial interests in the sale. Any agreement will be made between the current owner and the prospective buyer. My recompense will be a couple hundred views on the blog, I hope.

So, here we go:

Xbbshell Xbbshellb XbbshellrearXbrakebridgeXcabletoptube Xchainhook XchainstaycablestopXforkcr Xrearder3 XreardoXtubetransfXtttransf1The fly is not supposed to be part of the ointment, but if the buyer insists we might find another one. Now for the stuff hung from the frame.Xfronthub XftderXhandlebars Xheadset

Xrearder2 XrearderXbrakeXbrifterXcrankXrimBack to the frame. The paintwork really is nice, the colours being very subtle. From the distance the frame appears to be silver coloured, approaching it one realizes that there is a sophisticated paint scheme, albeit with a few light scratches.

XdossenaXpaintw1 Xpaintw3 Xpaintw4Xscratches

New Veteran Bike Ride?

I´ve been thinking about staging a veteran bike ride, once again after 17 years, if people will find it interesting. The Iron Leg ride could take place in our moderately hilly Teutoburger Wald which is dotted with loads of touristy and less touristy sights. For the Dutch I could call it Yzeren Been, I´d love that, sounds a bit like a 1920s race in Flanders, although of course it won´t be a race.

Anyone? Drop me a line via the comments.

Still Older Than the Bike

Last week I took my Dürkopp on another shakedown ride. I worked it a little harder than before, so I think I can now say that it rides well; the frame is responsive in spite of it being too small for me and rather stiff, which I like. It goes where you point it even on descents and in sharp bends. The AR feels lovely and smooth and changes well. Let´s hope it stays that way; I wouldn´t want to start hunting for spares for this really rare hub.

I fitted a TA bottle cage to the handlebars and a handlebar bag as a small saddlebag under the saddle rails. I think that with these the long stems don´t look all that lanky anymore.

Dsitzecke

The light was quite warm, so I took my camera along and made a point to visit some sights near the place where I live. I started off at the Sundermannsteine which are the remains of a 5,000 year old neolithical burial place. They are situated near a road with a speed limit of 70 kph, and when re-mounting my bike after taking the snaps, a car zoomed by at a speed which felt like double that. I was glad not to have been on the road at that moment.

DSteingr3 DSteingr2 Dsteingr

I then went to visit a very old church. It´s named after St. Dionysius and was erected in the middle of the 13th century making use of a still older building. It has been extensively re-built since, but many structural parts are 800 years old.

DKirche2DKircheKirchturm

The cemetary which had been in use since the ninth century was given up in 1922. It was moved a hundred metres down the road.

DRestpl

Here our forebears found their last resting places 800 – 1922

So with nice weather, a fine bike and a well chosen route, even a lowly shakedown ride can become quite an exquisite pleasure.

Lastly, for those of you who wonder where my ride report of  last weekend´s Huissen Tandjeterug ride is: I didn´t go. I was taken in by the horrible weather forecast which proved only partially true, and also I just couldn´t face the motoring. Taking part would have meant nearly 400 km of driving, and I´m afraid I like driving less and less, fast approaching the point where I´ll just reduce it to the bare necessary minimum for my job, which is about 20.000 km per year anyway. Let´s see if I`ll make it to Amerongen.

H Williamson – or the end of it

Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that the Williamson frame is useless after all. I had been daft enough to do a lot of work on the bike before checking out the headset. What had happened I´m not sure, however, this is what´s left of the lower headrace:

DamraceIt has been worn away on the half that used to point to the front.

Damforkcolfront

And this is what the race did to the fork column…DamForkcolside DamForkcr

… and the fork crown. The column could probably be replaced, but the bad thing is that the groove in the crown is really deep and will have weakened it.

Also the race wore away the front half of the lower headlug, and this is what to my mind has killed the frame off. The front half of the lug is only paper thin now – compare it with the rear half – and a ridge has formed where the worn away metal used to be.Damlug DamLug2 My guess is that the damage must have started right when the bike was quite new – possibly a fault during fitting, or a part which had the wrong measurements, but the outcome is catastrophic. It would have been so nice to have had a 62cm frame from the thirties – at least the many good and rare parts are worth the money I paid for the bike.

If I should ever have the chance again to work on a bike with a British headclip headset, I will certainly look there first.

Lastly, a Raleigh

The last machine I had the chance to look at in detail during my stay in the UK was a very nice Raleigh RRA – dating from the time when Raleigh, the largest cycle maker in the world, refused steadfastly to use any derailleurs, turning themselves into a fortress of British hub gear engineering in the onslaught of foreign wizardry. Perhaps another reason was that Raleigh owned Sturmey-Archer at the time. Anyway, here´s the outcome: A beautiful, desirable piece of British history.

Many parts bear the heron, and for once the RRA front wingnuts are on a correct bike. I´ve seen them on at least three other machines which were not RRAs over the years, including my own Evans.

MRfull

MRFM

1954 FM in an alloy shell – yummy.

MRhbars

Can´t do without a little bit of foreign metal.

MRpump

The pump

MRwingnuz

Even if the hub isn´t quite right, the wingnuts definitively are.

MRchainwhl MRdownttransf MRforkcr MRforkcrside MRlampbr MRtrigger Now my holidays are well and truly over.

 

The Art of the Tricycle

The same collection where the Selbach resides also houses two tricycles, one of them a really marvellous

DFoldsdownttransfFolds not only was a great framebuilder, but he also had his own ideas about making a tricycle rear axle, using steerer tubes and headsets.

DFoldsdiffDFoldsrearaxle DFoldsrearaxleright DFoldsrearderThe rest of the bicycle is not only ingenious, but more elegant, too.

DfoldsfullIt was used by Folds himself and had to be rescued at some time.

DFoldsbbDfoldsseatclDFoldsBrooksseatpin DFoldschainsetAll components are of very high quality.

DFoldsheadclipDFoldsshiftleverIt´s a fascinating machine.

Also very nice, mostly because of its neat construction, is the Grubb, in the same herd again.

DGrubbfull DGrubbhead DGrubbrearaxle DGrubbseatcl

Twenties Selbach

Another really beautiful bike I was able to view during my visit to the UK was this ca. 1928 Selbach.

DSelbheadtransf

It has a Monitor Super Cam brake in the front and everything else would make a fixie fan´s heart beat faster. I also very much like the handlebars.

DSelbfullOK, minus the mudguards for the fixie fan. But in general it´s simple, well made, light; basically just what a bicycle should be. The front fork rake is remarkably modern for late twenties.

DSelbcockpit Dselbfthub DSelbMonitor DSelbrearhub DSelbseatcl DSelbsteerhead

 

Claudine Butler

On my recent trip to the UK I was able to take part in a V-CC run, in which there also was a beautiful original 1950s Claud Butler Avant Coureur Special Ladies – top notch.

SCfullThe whole frame building, as well as paintwork with double box lining and the build is just the finest you can hope to see anywhere.

SCbb SCfrontSCrearbk SCseatcl SCseatt

This must certainly be bilaminated, even if the headlugs and the b/b aren´t.SCseatttransfThere were so many other bikes in the run, and there was such a lot of talking to do, that I couldn´t snap any more details, sorry.

A Cycling Trip on the Niederrhein

Where I´m living now is not where I hail from, and as my parents still live in the same small village I spent my youth in, I sometimes go there to visit them. This summer I also made up my mind to go and have a look at Germany´s newest bridge spanning the Rhine, at Wesel, which is only about 15 km away.

Wesel received its first road bridge across the Rhine in 1917, built due to increased transport rquirements at a time when not much other large construction was undertaken in Germany. However, the bridge did not last for three decades even as it was blown up in March 1945 before the Allieds crossed the river. Some six decades of provisional bridges followed until in the nineties a decision was taken to replace the old road bridge erected in 1950 with a modern four carriageway construction. This bridge was built between 2005 and 2009.

RBseite

For me it still was a new experience to cycle across it, so I did. Setting off near Hamminkeln, I crossed Wesel (encountering some of the nastiest compulsory cyclepaths I have yet met), the new bridge and carried on across a really wonderful cyclepath following the Rhine dykes to Rheinberg, a town blessed with some great architecture.

Approaching the bridge it becomes clear that the new structure really is huge.

RBhalfside

So you think that there should be ample and well-signposted provisions for cyclists, but there´s no such luck. The first thing you notice is the overpowering presence of motorized traffic, contrasted with the minute cyclepath.

RBcyclviewBefore you enter the 772m long bridge, there is a gap in the cyclepath surface which may well cause a puncture in a road bike tyre.

RBgapcyclepath

Looking down from the bridge you can see the remains of the old railway bridge, also destroyed during WWII, and now under a conservation order.

AlteeisenbbrIn general, Wesel suffered heavily during WWII as it was targeted repeatedly by allied bombers with 97% of its buildings being destroyed. The building with the tower, closest to the center of the b/w picture, top left of it, was rebuilt and became a high school until 1976. That was where I learnt my English basics, among other things. BTW, reconstruction of the town´s cathedral lasted until 1994, and during the early seventies when I went to school in Wesel, there were still plots with ruins on them in the town centre.

800px-Wesel_1945

Public Domain/ARC Identifier 535793/USAAF

 

Back to the present. Once you have crossed the new bridge, you have to be careful not to miss the only signpost to Rheinberg, and even when you have seen it, it leads onto a disused sliproad of the 1950 bridge, and unless you´re lucky enough to be able to ask a passer-by, there´s no way you can find the beautiful cycleway to Rheinberg.

Once you have found it though, you´re rewarded with great views of the Rhine.

WegRheinSchiffeTourists from many countries use the cycleway, and even during my short trip I talked to a German couple, a Canadian, and several Dutch. They all appreciate the fact that a well-kept cyclepath near a river makes for very easy cycling.

Also you find many restaurants and hotels right on the cycleway.

Ausfllok

Historical details abound. What used to be the strictly guarded demarcation of Prussia and Holland now is a hardly recognizable and effeortlessly crossed border between EU member states Federal Republic of Germany and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. No good old times here, again.

Milestone

The landscape being very flat, unlike the more prominent features of the Mittelrhein like Loreley, the view even from the relatively low dyke can be picturesque.

BüderichBut then you´re always reminded very quickly that you´re on the outskirts of the Ruhr industrial centre.

KraftwerkRBweitWeselWhile you can´t say the the landscape is dominated by it, the new bridge still is a well-visible feature for miles around. It certainly dwarfs Wesel´s St. Willibrord Cathedral spire.

AlteBrOn the way back the last remainders of the old road bridge can be seen.

Lastly, driving back home after the prolonged visit to my parents´, this was what my trusty old Volvo told me:

400tkm

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