Paris in the Rain…

… is what I´d fully expected to see, after the show stopping thunderstorms on the way out. Here´s a snap from the motorway in Holland, dry for a change, with what one might consider to be a spontaneous Volvo 7/9 meeting. BTW, my car (guess which one it is) topped the 420.000 km mark during the hols. XVolv

But no, the weather was wonderful all the time, and the friends we visited live in a very picturesque part of Normandy. Cycling was great too.

XnormOn our first day there we took it easy and just went to rather small neighbouring St Germer-en-Fly with its rather big cobbled together church.

XnormSGDurchf XnormStGertourisYou see a great number of cyclists in the region, what with the new London-Paris cycleway having opened, of which more later.

XSGbikes XSGCathSt Germer is a French village in which time seems to have stood still. Don´t know what the inhabitants think of living in a god-forsaken corner of France (our friends´ sons made some remarks in this direction), but I just love it.

XSGFils

Doesn´t this somehow remind one of Champion´s grandmother´s house in Les triplettes de Belville?

XSGafficheThe affiche really was still hanging near the church last week. You can´t say that people are hurried in St Germer. [“No, we´re not taking it down. We want tourists to think that we´re not hurried in St Germer.”]

The next day, we were off to Paris.

XPBiketrainIn French trains, bikes travel free, which was helpful. We boarded at neighbouring Gisors, and after just one and a quarter hours we arrived right in the middle of Paris at St Lazare station. My family wanted to have a detailed look at a certain exhibition in a modern arts museum, but especially on the bright day it was I couldn´t imagine not being on the bike, so I took mine. It fitted right into a corner in the entrance area of the double decker rolling stock, and while this meant that I couldn´t go upstairs, the folding seats quickly were taken by families with prams, and I got talking to a father of a wonderfully active and bright two year old who was fascinated by the red chronometer seconds hand of my watch.

Having arrived at St Lazare, this is the first thing one sees (and hears):

XPKlavThe piano is there for all to use, and it seems that vandalism has stopped short of it so far. Sorry to say that talent also stops short of its many users, excepting this one, but there you go.

Hardly had I left the station, when I saw my first classic bike. When I think of Paris, of course one of the first things that come to mind of a subscriber to Bicycle Quarterly is Wonderful French Bikes.

XPVeloSLThis one was a little less than wonderful, and the picture would stay that way. While I have had the pleasure of seeing one of those Wonderful French Bikes right out in the open about 15 years ago (see post), this time there was no such luck even in Paris. What abounded were users of those rather doubtfully designed Vélibs.

XPvelibuse

These are found absolutely everywhere in the inner city, and it´s really cheap to use them. An annual subscription starts at 19€, and with the first 30 min of every trip being free of charge, for most short trips this is all it will cost. If you use the bike any longer than that, an hour is a Euro, with rates increasing with the length of time you use it. The rationale behind it might be a high frequency of change, and consequently less bikes necessary.

If you want to use a Vélib`, all you need is your subscription card, which you swipe over the top of the parking pod, a large magnet will let go of the bike, and you´re off.

XPvelibrow XPvelibrearh XPvelibhbars XPvelibfaceHaving just said all you need is your card, I have to correct myself. For me at least, the cost in nerves it takes to cycle in Paris traffic would be far higher than the few Euros Vélib`rent. In theory, there are pistes cyclables everywhere,

XPcyclepbut in a traffic jam, or the normal peak hour madness, life for a cyclist can become very dangerous indeed if he/she insists on using the piste. The problem are not so much parking cars, not even cars in use, but the ubiquitous motor scooters. They don´t care a hoot about anything and will literally push you to the side.

So there I was, in the middle of Paris, with an afternoon off, and of course, where does the beginner visitor go first?

XPetnetouchExactly, to the thing you mustn´t touch. Quite how people are supposed to touch the Eiffel Tower at all remains a mystery, but still.

XPETeb XPetfull XPETfromfarIt´s completely overpoweringly huge, and completely different from what I´d thought it to be. I think this is all it takes to describe the atmosphere:

PETcolaThe cup was given to me by a bench neighbour who had no intention to take it home. He was one of two people I got talking with while feeding on my bananas, the other one being a guard, who professed that he had become quite used to the Tower which now was nothing special for him.

Right, next. Le Jardin des Tuileries.

XPTuilgateQuickly dealt with. Unless, of course, you´re a tourist who wants the extra kick: A sighseeing tour of Paris in a Wehrmacht grey sidecar, starting from in front of the garden.

XPRetrotmotfull XPMotblocWhat precisely the attraction of a min. 25€ tour in a brand new, re-painted Ukrainian motorbike can be escapes me. But then, perhaps, people might think it´s the real thing? Who knows. The website mentioned on the sidecar doesn´t open because it´s regarded as “attacking” by my browser.

Paris and movies – an endless story. Here´s the next chapter.

XPTuillfilmThere´s such a lot of money everywhere in Paris. The cars you see which are there only for the show – unimaginable. What do you do with a Lamborghini or a Ferrari in the middle of a capital city? Or with an Aston Martin Volante Superleggera?

XPAMvol

Before not being able to use it for what it was built, you have to have it brought into the city centre on a flatbed. The flatbed man must have discovered an economic niche I wouldn´t have dreamed of being there at all. He said he was very happy being able to work with cars like this. As the owner of the AM, what do you say to him? Don´t drop it?

What do you do if you want a photo like this and if you want to pay hommage to the eternal flame under the Arc de Triomphe? Easy, either take the pedestrian tunnel under the Etoile, or your life into your hands and cycle there. In light mid-day traffic it takes one round of the Etoile to work your way into the middle, or out again.

 

XParctrbike XParctr

Time for a break. While approaching the somewhat more distant parts of Paris, like Levallois Perret, you will be able to find loads of bakeries selling wonderfully fresh sandwiches based on French bread. While consuming your bread at one of the tables on the sidewalk you might even be asked by some elderly coffee sipping Jewish gentlemen about your bike, and how life is in general, and the pretty saleswoman might also join. And do you know that there´s a cycle shop just around the corner.

So you carry on over the Boulevard Périphérique,

XPASboulper

pass by this road sign

XPASLevalPand this one, which suggested to me it couldn´t be far now.

XPASsquareAnd indeed, a couple of metres, and there I was.

XPASfullThe little old house, squeezed right in the middle of many high rise buildings.

XPASbike

Would you say “the little old house where time has stood still”? Oh no, because it hasn´t. Victor´s new bike for instance is equipped with Campag ten speed. The difference to usual cycle stores is that time has stood still where development has reached a peak, as in framebuilding. It definitively has moved on in areas in which there is room for improvement.

XPASbbchrXPASdetbrake XPASdetbrchrXPASrearmugsWhen walking though the door I was greeted in a most friendly way, even although everybody was quite busy, even preparing a PBP bike. I was allowed to lean my Ellis-Briggs bike to the counter, where it was looked over with interest, I then was explained the ins and outs of the shop, shown a second hand randonneur, and the atmosphere in general was relaxed in a way which comes from absolute mastery of one´s metier and the seemingly effortless superiority it gives.

In a way, this old and battered sign, which must be the understatement of the decade,

PASartisanalement

Bicycles made to measure Made by craftsmen and built up to customers´ specifications

is a good reflexion of the whole shop. It´s not the exterior that counts. To top everything off, I was actually given written instructions on how to find another cycle shop.

It was this one: XPSMschr XPSMfullYou can spend 3.960 Euros on the electrically assisted cycle in the window, and when I asked if I could come in with my bike because I didn´t want to leave it outside in this

XPSMTiquetarea, I was told it was not possible because the shop was busy. Would I mind waiting outside. Is this the difference between the letter written “dealer in beautiful bikes” and the old, battered cardboard sign? You bet.

What else was there in Paris? So much I don´t know where to start.

 

XPbldgBut then, that´s not what you come to this blog for. Maybe this is:

XPBblondXPBpeug XPBportfull XPBtranspAfter another sandwich bought at a place near the station, more expensive, less nice and eaten without a word from the chic people around me, it was time to return.

Next to where I ate my second sandwich I happened to see a spoon lying in the road. Tending never to let anything useful go to waste, I had nearly picked it up when I noticed that its underside had been blackened by heat, and there was a residue of some white powdery crystals on it.

Back in St Lazare, I had to wait for the train, and looking around I suddenly got an idea where to cycle to the next day:

XLAStlazLes Andelys with its Chateau Gaillard. While my family drove there, I set off early and was rewarded with a wonderful ride through the gently rolling Normand countryside.

XLArougemThis old style road sign shows the way to a WWI memorial, but its design, typeface and colour scheme took me right back to the seventies when I first went to France with my parents.

After about 35km, I arrived at Les Andelys and was greeted by this panorama.

XLAhlm2 XLAhlm1HLM (social housing), it seemed, and hardly worth visiting as I had seen much more impressive specimens the day before, in Paris. But then, it turned out that the town can also be like this:

XLAcastlefrombelowXLAstreetChateau Gaillard is visible in the top photo. Easy – or so it seems.

XLAhairpHaving covered those hairpin bends, one is rewarded with one of the most spectacular views imaginable, which sadly are not rendered well in my snaps.

The chateau dominates the Seine and its chalk cliffs, and looking down one has a feeling rather like flying.

XLAseineXLAlaXLAGaillXLAbikecastleA quick blast back after a meal at a small restaurant, and a great day came to an end in the cozy kitchen of our friends.

XLAreturn

Lastly, the London to Paris cycle route, the “Green Avenue”.

XLPoffsign It´s a project shouldered by the départements and Dieppe harbour society on the French side, and Sustrans on the British side. If you don´t know what Sustrans is, look it up on the net – it´s great. The Green Avenue wi(e)nds its way through picturesque Normandy countryside, branching at St Germer, offering two routes to Paris after that village. It seems that the French at least care for the lives of their tourists:

XLPsign

Let´s share the road

Part of one route to Paris is the Trans´Oise (Oise being the name of the local département) bike track on a disused railway line. If you thought that carrying a bike on the train can be boring, try the Trans´Oise track.

XLPtransoisesignFirst, there´s a Stop sign for the cyclists at every crossing with motorized traffic, signalling to cyclists that they´re still not taken serious on an advanced level. Next, there´s a complete absence of any roadsigns, excepting the ones telling you you´re on the track, which you´ve probably known for ages. There´s one or two giving the distance to Beauvais, but if you want to go from Beauvais back to, say, St Germer, you´re stuck, because there are hardly any identification points in the green hell of the nearly straight track and you don´t know where to turn off.

XLPtransoisegreenhellIf you´re training for speed, the perfect surface of the track is great. It´s new, however, and I´d rather not guess what it´ll looke like in ten years´ time.

So you´ve got this slight decline into Beauvais, for 30 km or more, and you zip along at about 40, your cadence only broken by the Stop signs. Of course you´re a tourist, and you´re clueless about the locality, and then the track ends here:

XLPtransoendNo signs whatsoever telling you where to go. So, for those of you who will be in the same situation like myself: Turn left here, follow the road up a slight hill, past the Renault truck dealership, until the next major crossroads (500m, perhaps). Turn right, and you´re pointed towards the cathedral – that´s what you´ve probably come for.

Before this, however, there´s a surreal experience to be made. The tunnel-like green suddenly stops, and St Paul fun park appears. When cycling along the track, I began to hear children screaming through the near-total silence, then mechanical noises, wondering what was wrong with me, and then saw this:

XLPtransoisestpaulI cycled past it to be swallowed by the green tunnel again. Not long until Beauvais now.

XLPBeauvholsten XLPBeauvcath XLPBeauvbikeA gate not unlike Lübeck´s Holstentor, and of course the magnificent cathedral is the reward for having mastered the Trans´Oise track. On the way back you have about 30km´s worth of finding out what a false flat is.

The short holiday had already come to an end, and after a pilgrimage to Vera Brittain´s fiancée´s grave, covered with violets, at Louvencourt,

XLOUVtop

the Nécropole Nationale de Notre Dame de Lorette,

XNDLfull

and Vimy Ridge Memorial

XVIMfull

on the way back I have to hope for next year.

 

This was my twohundredth post. Who´d have thunk it would come to this, and more than 54,000 views too. Thanks. Taking a break now – no idea how long it will be.

 

The Two-Event-Day

On May 17, I got on a bike, rode in two events, had great fun, and nearly forgot about it. How horrible.

First, there was the RTF/century in neighbouring Stemwede-Levern to where I usually cycle, but this year I took the car because after the 08.00 hrs start for the short route 75km there,

 

Stemwstart

The 1931 Miele standing next to some more likely bikes for a century ride

Stemwkontr2

next to the the first control post (And look at the weather!)

 

I arrived back by about 11.00hrs, loaded the bike again to drive to Enger, another place not too far away. I just made it in time for the 13.oo hrs start of the veteran ride there. Phew.

In fact, I was a little early and was able to have a look at the location of the start of today´s ride #2. It is the Widukind-Museum, which took part in the national open museum day that day.

EnMustag

EnmusEnsymbWidukind was a Saxon duke who led a resistance movement against Charlemagne between 777 and 785. Subsequently he became a mythical figure in the early 20th century for German nationalists and neo-pagans, being pressed into posthumous service by the fascists as well by being made into a symbol of Germany fighting France in the person of Charlemagne.

The Enger museum originally was a memorial place erected in 1938, and embellished with all sorts of reliefs around the entrance, like the Odal rune (above, under the word “Gedächtnisstätte”, in the sérif version) which is a symbol for inheritance, lineage, possession. When I looked around, I could find no explanation what those embellishments mean and what they were used for in Germany´s darkest era. I think that luckily knowledge of these things has been lost in the vast majority of Germans, but still the absence of any sort of explanatory note left a somewhat stale aftertaste.

Soon, however, a number of fellow veteran bike nuts arrived, and the atmosphere became somewhat less inclined to brooding.

Enerste

EnStart

We then set off on a well-chosen trail, mostly following a disused railway line.

EngruppoThere was a major break on the way, of course, during which the bikes could be looked at, old friendships could be renewed and new ones made. That´s life, I´d say.

EnHWMEnOP EnPause2 EnPause

EnDürkWe then arrived at our destination, a veteran car meet in a neighbouring village, lined up our bikes,

EnTREffen

and were content with the fact that we were regarded by the motor people as slightly odd, possibly retarded, but definitively to be healed.

Nevertheless, there were some nice vehiclesENautos2 EnAutos1 to be looked at.

Some, however, were not really that nice. There was a 50s Chevy which seemed to consist of nothing but putty, and this VW wasn´t much better, either.

ENVWsidepanelI was sorely tempted to draw an Odal rune onto this thing with a screwdriver. Maybe we should try to convert the owner to the real religion.

After a short stay, I went off on my own, returned to Enger, loaded the Miele and went home. I´ll be back next year, for sure, even if the old car meet is included again.

A High Bicycle

Here´s one more episode from the series “Bikes on Vinyl”.

Found in a fleamarket recently, and sold for a little less than a Euro, this 1971 Czech gatefold sleeve shows a great supposedly Czech ordinary. Czech cycles, aero engines and cars were famous for their quality up until the forties, and even kept some of their originality in communist times (Tatra lorries and limos, for example). So the front sleeve possibly alludes to the great Czech past in producing advanced transportation technology.

SAM_6223

Look at the nickeled centre spoking on the small pic, taken from the inside collage.

SAM_6225The rock group “Olympic” who are featured on the disc (yes, there´s something more than the bike) was founded in 1963, seems to have been very popular in Czechoslovakia and is in existence still. The album title “Jedeme, jedeme” I think means “Let´s go”, but I´m not too sure about this. Anyone who is?

Another Tall Bike, and a Puzzle or Two

Some years ago, a decade ago more like, a friend from the Netherlands emailed that he had seen a very tall (65cm c/t) RIH frame in the Dutch equivalent of CL. Did I want it? It came with a number of parts lying in a box, some actually usable, and was to be had at a good price, so given the fact that classic frames in my size aren´t exactly frequent, I got it and collected it some months later. When looking at the frame, I was quite impressed, I remember that.

xrihdoenttransfWhat with having had the frame hang from my study wall for the best part of five years (reason: see below), and RIH having been in the news recently with the passing of owner Mr van der Kaaij last December, the closing of the workshop in Westerstraat 150 in Amsterdam´s Jordaan quarter where the firm had been since 1928, and the moving house to a modern facility, I somehow thought I might want to try out the frame on the road after all.

Slowly, and more precise: Thanks to Marten I have received info not to be found (by me) on the net. I could vaguely remember reading about this on CR, but have not yet found out how to access and search their archives.

First, Wim vd Kaaij´s wife fell ill, and he closed the shop after not finding any new owner. Later he did find successors, even taught them framebuilding in the new venue in the North of Amsterdam, and then died quite unexpectedly, literally overnight.

After all like after finding out that someone had drilled a massive hole in one of the seat stays to accomodate a chain hook:

xrihchainhook

No chrome on the screw; can´t be original.

Or like after discovering that the frame has either been built in a hurry or has had a crash already: The undersides of the top and down tubes have very small, but tell-tale ripples just aft of the headlug tips. They are that small that they don´t show in a pic at all, but they can definitively be felt. Luckily steel usually doesn´t break suddenly like light alloy does, so I´ll just give the bike a try.

xrihheadbAnother reason for not doing much with the frame was that its headbadge also was somewhat intriguing, making it look like it had been changed during a respray – possibly after a crash repair. There are three different badges, and mine didn´t really fit in the right category:

– one on which it says Holland, which some, for example on a Dutch old bike forum, say belongs to the other RIH,

– one on which it says Amsterdam, said to have been used by the Westerstraat custom shop, and

– one on which it says neither.

The somewhat unreadable letters in the diamond mean Gebroeders Bustraan , Bustraan brothers, who were the original founders of the shop back in 1921.

The other RIH? Yes, there are two firms, one, Cové in Venlo, which makes off the peg (city) RIHs, and the original firm in Amsterdam which produces the made to measure frames.* The Venlo people nowadays use the “neither” headbadge. Amsterdam RIH, more precise Willem Bustraan, the son of one of the founders, sold the rights to the cheaper half of the RIH name to Cové in 1972. Earlier, there had actually been a detour via the Fongers works in Groningen who made the cheaper RIHs for a while, even using headbadges with “Amsterdam” on them, and stamping their own year letter frame numbers on the frames, but Fongers then got taken over themselves. If you look things up on the Cové website it seems as if there never had been an Amsterdam shop after 1972, but I was there, I know there was one. Here´s a quotation from their site (my translation):

Great racers like Peter Post, Gerrie Knetemann, Leontien van Moorsel, Ingrid Haringa, Gerrit Schulte en Henk Nijdam were their customers. In all,  63 titles, Olympic gold medals, tour etappes en world championships were won “op een RIH.

That was of course mostly before the name was sold.

But now look at this:

RihAmstheadbHere´s another RIH headbadge, with Amsterdam on it, (and the “R” in RIH being of a different design). This one came off a crashed frame with its number under the b/b, and which was very obviously a cheapish, bought-in Italian eighties affair. I´m sorry I don´t have any fotos of it, didn´t think of it at the time. Amsterdam RIHs have their frame numbers (four digit mostly) on the lower headlug, like mine:

xrihframe#So mine definitively is an Amsterdam RIH, and the bike on which it said Amsterdam was not. OK, sold by them, possibly, but not more.

Before the whole thing gets even more complicated, let´s get on with my bike. I was lucky enough to be able to squeeze one more non-date matching Campag Record groupset, a modern Cinelli handlebar and an old and battered Brooks Pro from my Box, so I set to it, and after a few hours the bike was there. When the wheels are already built, Campag and RIH quality combine to make a build very easy and quick.

xrihfull

click pedals show that I really want to put the bike through its paces

So, some more pics of the frame. I said I wouldn´t make things more complicated, but I´m afraid there´s one more puzzle: My frame is a “Model Cock van der Linde”, sold at van Doorn´s bike shop in Beverwijk.

xrihcocktransfDon´t ask me who van der Linde was/is, I was told that he used to run a bike shop, and if you enter van Doorn in a search engine, there is mention of a C. vd Linde/van Doorn cycleshop in Beverwijk/Noord-Holland. They don´t seem to have an email address. So next time I happen to be in Beverwijk…

xrihdoorn

Here´s the rest of the pics, and no more complicated questions, promised. OK, there´s one, but only after the pics.

xrihbrakenutfront

fork crown drilled for smaller dia brake bolt – had to cannibalise a cheap Weinmann

xrihchainstay

transfers on both chain stays

xrihbb xrihcableeye xrihbrakebr

xrihtopheadlugtip

looks like clean brazing

xrihforkcr xrihftdo xrihforktransfxrihseatcl xrihreynolds xrihrearhub xrihreardo xrihlwrheadl

Now for the last puzzle.

I love Campag two bolt seat posts; have been using them for ages, and I find the precision with which one can adjust the saddle unbeatable. Also I find that fitting a saddle is very easy – if I don´t use the Campag tool from the tool kit.

campatoolI have been told repeatedly that this bent contraption is a two bolt stem tool plus Brooks nose bolt spanner, although I can´t really believe it. I must say that for a nose bolt the original Brooks tool is much preferable, but what happens when you use the two bolt stem end is this:

camptoolrearhexYou can´t reach the front bolt. The rear one is OK, admitted.

So what do I do? Simple, I utilize my standard cranked spanner,

camptoolrearcrankand everything is fine. Am I missing something?

___________________

* Sorry, not going into the Vienna/Austria RIH here. They´re just too far away, and the only connection is a horse, anyway. Look up the horse yourself on the net, you might not believe me.

Heroes of the Tour de France

Yes, I went, and you know what: It was great. Despite the 210 km distance to be covered in the car, despite the scorching heat, despite everything that can rightfully be criticized about the TdF. Actually, an esteemed Dutch co-member of the CR list, when I asked if we couldn´t meet there, told me that he preferred to keep a sober distance to the whole circus, and nearly made me reconsider, but then my son, a French exchange student he met at university and another esteemed Dutch co-member of the CR list decided to stick with our plans, and so we went. The plan was to meet a friend and to leave the car at a P&R parking about 35km from Utrecht city centre, to cycle there and them to enjoy the games. As there were three of us in the car, we managed perfectly with stowing the bikes, some necessary luggage and ourselves. It´s all been tried and tested, and the by now very nearly 24-year-old Volvo always takes loads like this in its stride.

Back to the TdF. It was so great because the Dutch people made a huge cycling feast out of the whole thing. There were 4.200 volunteers around to help at every corner, literally, with the Dutch actually creating the word tourmaker to make them stand out. They certainly were heroes, if only because of braving the weather.

Uherobag

UbidonThe special feeder bottles were on sale, too, but had sold out, of course, when we asked.

Uhero2The Tourmakers had their own system of supplies being taken round.

Uhero1

Besides, there also were thousands of regular police and paramedics, but they very much kept to the background.

OTOH, Utrecht had been more or less closed down for days, especially at the TdF route, which must have been quite a nuisance for the neighbours, but they didn´t let the fans feel it. More heroes.

UbordUhouse Uhouses

When we arrived the caravane was already in full swing.

Ucaravan1 Ucaravan5 Ucaravan4 Ucaravan3 Ucaravan2

Shortly after, there were some trial rides by a few riders, and then business started in earnest.

UTTfirstEvery racer was heralded by two motorcycle outriders, and my guess is that riding a motorbike in 40 deg cent. in your full uniform can´t be much of a pleasure.

There must be some sort of hierarchy among racing teams, or possibly even single racers of a team, as there were some competitors who were followed by cars with only a one measly spare bike on the roof rack,

UTTonebikesome had two or three,

UTTfullbut others really wanted to show that they didn´t see any necessity in saving bikes.

UTTburstUTTmorebikesUtrialFunnily enough, every rider only rode one bike at a time. Maybe being filmed from a helicpter was a consolation.

Uheli

In the meantime, there was another hero: An elderly gentleman who actually brought his Ko Zieleman bike, locked it to a signpost, and left. The bike was still there when we decided to return to the car.

UZielembb UZielemtt UZielemseatcl UZielemfull UZielemfrontSadly the frame had been powdercoated at some date, and the coater had not seen any necessity in saving powder.

But to my mind the real heroes of the day were those Utrecht inhabitants who opened their water taps, or even sprayed passers-by with water.

Uhero3Uherovict

My guess is that they prevented about a dozen heat strokes per hour. I certainly made good use of being showered and to have free feeder bottle refills. (A half liter plastic bottle of cheap mineral water was three Euros on average at the food stalls, and half a liter didn´t last long.)

More heroes: The bicycle orchestra who actually tried to beat the ubiquitous chaos on the cycle paths – first the chaos,

UArrivalUbikeparkUcrowdUDutchcycle1 UDutchcycle4

Uhero5 UDutchcycle2

 

then the orchestra.

Uorcvhname

Uorchcell Uorchtandbak Uorchrearhub Uorchfull UorchcellsolarpAll the instruments were either loaded onto or even integral parts of Dutch bakfietsen, transport bikes. The electronic cello is fed electricity by a solar panel on a trailer on the bakfiets.

Back to the cycle racing. On the other side of th eriver from where we stayed, jealously guarding our half tree´s worth of shade, there were hundreds of spectators assembled in a small park. They looked so unbelievably orderly in their neat rows

Uspectorderlywhile trying to catch a glimpse of the time trial taking part on the other side of the river. Cheering rose to quite a noise level, however, whenever a Dutch rider or one of the greats emerged from the tunnel.

UspectorderteamcarUspectordercyclist

 

 

Who won? Didn´t care, it was so hot.

Nissan Classic Revival by Oldvelos

On Sunday September 13th 2015, Brendan Hennessy from Ireland will stage the Oldvelos Vintage International Classic.

OldvElliott Event 2013

This event seems to be very a promising and tasty affair, not least because Brendan is one of those thoroughbred classic bike guys. He´s been involved in cycling ever since he was a kid, and remembers making his own SKIL peaked cap at age 11 – that´s something. It more or less goes without saying that he used to work as a cycle mechanic. As such he has the ability to get involved with prestige projects like rebuilding Steven Roche´s TI Raleigh – for a friend, who will hopefully use the bike in the event in September, Brendan says. He himself will be seen on the 1983 Bianchi Super Leggera that he raced as a teenager.

Oldv2013-09-15 09.00.35

He explains that the club “Oldvelos” organizes a number of events each year, and that write ups of those are available on the club´s website. However, this September´s Vintage International Classic will be special in that it´s planned as a Nissan Classic revival. Participants are requested to bring any memorabilia of this race which they might have in their collections.

There should be a number of these as Brendan thinks that the Nissan Classic was a focal point of cycling in Ireland, bringing back many of Ireland´s greats to show their prowess to folks at home. Namesdropping includes Roche, Early, Kimmage, McCormick, and of course Kelly.

Brendan makes possible participants´ mouths water by mentioning the event course: Among others, the Kerry mountains will be on the route sheet, from Killarney through the iconic ‘Gap of Dunloe’,

OldvIMG_0941

a winding valley road in the Kerry mountains and on over country roads to some more tough climbing over the legendary Bealach Béime (13% all the way!) Carragh lake will be another salient point in the 75 mile run. I wish I had the time to attend.

The Oldvelos Vintage International Classic takes place in Killarney, Co. Kerry on Sunday September 13th 2015.  Killarney is one hour from Cork Airport and three hours from Dublin.

Photos courtesy Brendan Hennessy

NSU by Two

To make things completely clear: This is not about the NSU we´ve been hearing about so much of late in Germany, the terrorists which have committed so many atrocious crimes. This is about two bikes that were made by NSU works in Neckarsulm, the history of which brand is well documented on the net, e.g. by the NSU Motorenwerke entry on German wikepedia.

XNLdownttransfXNLtttransf

Anyway, here they are:

XNLfullXNHfullThe 1963, 28 inch wheel size gent´s bike is mine, bought cheaply off a cycle dealer earlier this year because he didn´t have the coaster brake spare required to make it ridable. I repaired it in a few minutes´ time (I have a number of 515 hubs I have been breaking for spares over the years), the internals being very simple. It has given some good service already, on some outings as well as serving as a spare bike for visitors. The 26 inch wheel size lady´s I saw by chance on the road.

XNHlandsch1 XNHlandschickerb

One might think that the bikes are quite similar, but there is about 5 to 8 years difference between them. The lady´s is the older one, still equipped with its original Model 55 stepped shell three speed, the blue trigger of which is quite sought after nowadays. This one even has the plastic coat on the lever still intact.

XNLtrig

XNLrearhubMy later gent´s model is equipped with the three speed after this, the red trigger, straight shell Model 515.

XNHtrigXNHrearhub

Sadly, the lady´s bike seems to spend most of its time outside in the rain.

There´s the typical one piece pressed steel headstock on both – no lugs, just a pressing.

XNLheadThe long lugs betray the fact that there are no mitred tubes inside – the lugs are that hefty because they have to hold the frame together as the tubes inside them probably do not touch. Cheap and rugged.

XNHseatcl

The lady´s, however, still has the old style brazed in drop forged dropouts…

XNLreardo

Slight bend in seatstay found often on coaster brake equipped 50s sports bikes

… while the later gent´s already has the far less refined, much cheaper flash welded stamped steel ends.

XNHreardo

Also the b/b shells on both bikes aren´t very special at all.

XNHbbshellXNLbb

The general design is quite similar on both bikes:

XNLseatst

No lining on the gent´s though – money seems to have been somewhat less of an issue in the late fifties than in the early sixties

XNHheadbXNHseattransfXNLheadbMy gent´s has a useless, but nice branded spoke lock…

XNHspokelock… and a slightly more useful chainguard.

XNHchaingAlso all the rubber strips are still on the carrier rack – quite nice.

XNHbaggdrHowever, the original chainset as well as the front hub are quite cheap items – I wonder how they have held up that long. The brake spares mentioned earlier usually last forever, so the bike must have seen a lot of use. The white pedals, which might be original too, also show signs of great wear.

XNHpedal

XNHbbXNHfronthubBoth bikes have aluminium plated mudguards – nice to look at at the beginning, but rust prone and there´s no way you can either stop or repair rust on these.

XNHmudgdesignTo finish off this post, here´s a view on the typical 1950s NSU mudguard mascot:

XNHmascot

Chance Encounter: Van Herwerden Route 531

Some of you might have read the post on the Whitsun cycle jumble in Rommerskirchen. I was sadly not able to attend the run on Saturday, but the Sunday morning was dedicated to visiting the jumble and scouring the offers – see the report two posts below this one.

I was able to buy a frame off a friend who I have met several times on rides in the Netherlands, and so it was no big surprise that the frame has  Dutch name.

VHdownttransf

VHheadtransf

 

The tower shown in the head transfer is also a part of the Voorburg coat of arms.

VH1898On the van H. website it says that the shop is about 100 years old, so might this be the  year it was founded?

And yes, it´s the same van H. as mentioned in my post on cycling around Rotterdam last year:

https://starostneradost.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/de-eenzame-fietser/

The shop is still active, offering a range of handmade steel framed bikes, very interesting. However, on the site it says nowhere how proud the shop is that these frames are made by themselves – which makes me wonder.

This what my van H. Route looks like:

VHfullIt has been a general problem with my blog recently that I have too much to write about (meets, bikes I got) and too little time to accomplish it, so I´ll re-take this horrible snap when I can find the opportunity. I hope the details are better.

While the van H. frame is made of a full set of Reynolds 531,

VH531it still is easily visible that it was made on a budget. Van H. being importers of Chesini at the time (see my post on my own Arena model), they had a top of the line bike, and my guess is that their house brand would be used to make a good, solid, middle price point effort. The 600 headset might be an indicator for this, too.

VHtoplugNo filing visible here, and this cable eye

VHbrakecbleyehas either had a knock to create the dented tube just about visible, or it was brazed on in a hurry. Also look at the paintwork finish which is not overly smooth.

That said, the frame is not horrible at all. There´s lots of chrome

VHreardoVHforkcrtangVHforkcrdecal

VHchainstcablestop

and the tang on the inside of the fork legs is a thing of beauty.

VHseatclThe semi-wrapover chainstay also adds a nice touch, even if it has not been executed with the last drop of care.

VHbb VHbbunderThe b/b shell also is nice and rugged. I like the cable tunnels – not too long to make threading in of the inners a tricky business.

So my guess is that this frame is one a rider can get a lot of satisfaction out of and fun with without having had to pay an undue amount of money to acquire it.

As I said in my post on the Motobécane (https://starostneradost.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/a-milestone/), I have come to like these things.

Williamson – Happy Ending thanks to m-gineering

Remember last year when I wrote the post on the seeming end of the way of the 1940s Williamson I had so looked forward to to riding?

https://starostneradost.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/h-williamson-or-the-end-of-it/

Exciting news: Marten Gerritsen of m-gineering has actually managed to repair the frame.

This is what it looks like now:

WRfullBefore looking at the headbearings I had had the frame at another friend´s place to get a hole in the chainstay fixed which had been worn into it by a wobbly chainwheel:

WRholeI then discovered the catastrophe of the more than worn headset, see old post for pics.

So what Marten did was that he machined down the fork crown ever so slightly to get rid of the ridge worn into it by the loose race,

WRforkcrstrengthened the fork column by fitting a tube inside its lower end,

WRtubeand here we were, back again on the way to full recovery. I have since managed to fit a b/b bearing and the headset, but so many parts are missing or u/s that I think I´ll use my boxes for replacements. Or can anyone help out with, for instance, a 1930s BSA chainset? See.

Speaking of boxes: The rear hub which came with the bike is a three speed Cyclo, and I found a (hopefully) correct rear derailleur in my box. So things are looking up, it seems.

Stay tuned for more pics as work progresses, but first a huge thank you to Marten.

Rommerskirchen Cycle Jumble

First time I went – and a good thing it was, too. I liked the atmosphere,

XRfull

met a number of people, and also found two interesting items, one at a very reasonable price, about which I´ll write another post later.

In general, however, I´m afraid my opinion about any sort of cycle jumble/swap meet has not changed. While there certainly were a number of great bicycles, both for sale and to look at, as well as other material of good quality,

XRcolnseatclXRchesseatclXRscapseatstayXRbooksXRframes

however, there definitively were other, less easily described items, too.

Like this here bike:

XRfakecolnheadThe three yard test is OK, but then what a disappointment:

XRfakecolnfrontforkXRfakecolnseatcl

And, would you believe it, the painter actually seemed to be proud of this falsification as he had stuck a large sticker with his firm´s name on onto the left hand side chainstay.

Also there was a great number of cheapo bits for sale. I honestly wonder if there were any of these sold, but then who knows.

XRceapoderbox XRchainsetsXRlevers

XRwhls

One cheapo bike was unusual at least.

XRGoldbrakecal XRgoldchainsXRRRThe bag alone is worth buying here, I guess. To finish off the short post, some more general impressions.

XRclothes XRClassic?XRbelg

 

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