Villa Road Bike with Cambio Corsa

So last week a friend of mine bought this beauty. Any idea if this is the original paintwork? Decals certainly are seventies or later. This bike is actually going to be ridden.

Fed Up

Can you see why I am?

It´s been going on for decades, cities praising themselves in the press for building short stretches of cyclepath in the centres, or for erecting signposts, but if you look at the outskirts, where much of the cycling over longer distances happens, you still see lots of impossible things like this, that only serve to make life easier for drivers.

Actually while I´m neither an engineer nor a lawyer, I´d not be surprised one bit if this sort of cyclepath were even illegal. But who cares…

Wanderer Telex

Because of an acute shortage of time, here are just a few snaps of a very interesting moped. It´s the last product of the famous Wanderer brand, already built in München, not in Chemnitz, and if the Wanderer people of yore had seen that a twowheeler of theirs would use a proprietary engine instead of an in-house development, they would have cried bitter tears. Anyway, still a number of interesting features on this weird little thing, especially in the suspension.

And yes, I think it qualifies for this blog – it has pedals.

Join!

If you haven´t already. The Veteran-Cycle Club is a great club even if you are an overseas member and can only join runs every few years. The magazines alone are well worth the membership, they make for riveting reading in their mixture of info, small ads (yes, even in this day and age of Ebay…) and well researched articles. The network of marque enthusiasts is able to answer nearly any question. Find the website on the net.

Another Ghostbike…

We had yet another ceremony to dedicate a ghostbike in our neighbouring city yesterday. No need to go through all the arguments for a more humane city traffic again, firstly because we all know them, and secondly because nothing is changing anyway. Still, relatively minor mistakes cyclists commit are often punishable by death under our system.

   

A Few German Bits

So here are three NOS items that are of German origin although one might not think so when having a fleeting look.

 

Let´s start with the Bielefeld made PWB Simplex three speed derailleur. Präzision Werke Bielefeld made it under licence, and not few either. It´s hard to impossible to snap, but it actually says three speed in German on the cage.

Next, a real beauty one might perhaps place in France. It´s an Altenburger rear hub, and the bright silver surface finish untarnished after all these decades speaks for itself. I´d put it in the late fifties. Also beautiful: In the high flanges there´s not just a circular or oval cutout, but the lying 8 of Altenburger fame. The waterslide transfer on the barrel reminds me of MaxiCar.

Lastly, a chain, not very spectacular, but the colour of the box somehow fits in with the hub and the derailleur.

All three items were purchased in a sale of a wholesaler´s giving up about 25 years ago. Purchased, big word for the few Marks I paid. That´s another story.

Ancient History

What´s this? Easy: It´s a torque arm off a 1950s NSU Superlux or Supermax front wheel brake. NOS, perfect chrome.

What is the connection to either bicycles or my Konsul restauration? There is none. I´m in the mood to write down an old story, that´s all.

In 1981, when I was in the Army, a friend got wind of a former NSU motorbike dealership being shut down, which was about time as there had been no NSU motorbikes for nearly 20 years. He only knew that it was in Liège, Belgium, and that was it. So the following weekend, a third friend who had access to an Opel Kadett C sat behind the wheel, I sat behind the second wheel so to speak (it was a car used in a driving school), friend #3 squeezed himself on the rear seat, and off we went to Belgium. Liège is a big place, but we were unbelievably lucky, the sparse directions we had were sufficient, and soon we found ourselves in NSU heaven.

We had not thought that the building was still full of spares, brochures, and other items, and everything went for next to nothing, with all paperwork being free as a matter of course. I had a 98cc Fox and a Superlux at the time and scavenged all the bits I could find, all NOS, like a Fox petrol tank in red, very rare indeed. The driver friend ran a 125 ZDB and found stuff or it, and the friend who had heard about the whole thing was the local NSU doyen anyway and filled the poor old Kadett (not an estate!) to the roof. I rode back with a pre-WWII OSL petrol tank on my lap and bags of stuff between my feet, carb parts if I remember correctly, and the driver had a Konsul frame wrapped round him like a safety belt. The whole thing was absolutely amazing, and the pictures have stayed in my head to this day. Also I still remember the smell of the place in Belgium. At the time there were still border controls, and border police officers just looked at each other and let us pass as quickly as possible. To the uninitiated, our car must have looked like a mixture of a rolling scrap yard and a Mad Max vehicle.

What followed was a large sale of those parts that didn´t go with my bikes, even then rarities all of them, and I remember being quite ok with money for nearly the rest of my stint in the Army. The NOS red Fox tank went to a man who was restoring his bike in red and wanted an exact specimen of the colour. He was very grateful to get it and paid me royally. He was also blind.

See about the torque arm now? It´s the only spare I have left of the haul.

These (motorcycle mudguard emblem, Konsul tank emblem and thirties bicycle mudguard emblem) look nice anyway, so here we go:

 

Woodentop Bicycle

Just a quick in between as time is at a premium atm.

In my opinion this LP cover is one of the best when it comes to integrating bicycle related design elements. Then there´s a pocket watch dial and a few tools too, giving an intriguing picture.

 

It´s Doing Me Head In

Why is it that nobody really seems to care about what cyclists need? Why is it that traffic is still seen as near exclusively car based? Aren´t we told all the time to cycle more, how environmentally friendly it is, how good it is for your health and how sustainable?

So why is it then that roads are built all new, using up square miles of landscape,

 

while the roads feeding this new motorway are fully refurbished

with miles and miles of brand new tarmac, while all the cycle path next to it gets is a couple of shovels full of winter mixture:

And don´t get it wrong, there are enough bits left like these:

They make the cycle path all but unusable, and hitting one of these when going downhill can be nasty.

When will authorities stop saying that cyclists will be catered for when there are any, while cycling is made all but impossible by dangerous, missing and neglected infrastructure?

Another Book: Nimführ, Luftschiffahrt

Found this litte volume in a fleamarket the other day. I consider it very interesting and it makes me divert from the NSU bicycle post I thought I´d write.

People who know my book on paced track racing might remember that there was a long history of cyclists who only used bicycles because at the time they were the fastest means of indiviual transport, and who didn´t bat an eyelid to leave bikes for motorized vehicles and then aeroplanes when those became available, or even already swapped over in the developing stages. That means that aeroplanes had much in common with bicycles if you look at design, going beyond the obvious landing gear wheels. For instance the Wright brothers were cycle shop owners and it shows.

Also, in this 1909 book on flying there are a few very interesting illustrations which I find merit a post. Not much comment is needed, so I just let the pics speak for themselves.

Sorry about the bad photos, scanning the fragile book would have destroyed its binding.