Neither Canadian, nor a Washingmachine

Last weekend we had two rides in a part of Germany where places are called Wellingholzhausen

or Borgholzhausen

or Werther (where Werther´s Originals were made originally, they now originate from neighbouring Halle),

and where bakeries sponsoring cycling clubs are called Junkercalefeld (sounds like “Baron who owns a barren field”). Other typical names are Großekathöfer (“the farmer who lives in a big rented house) or Ottenottebrock (not the slightest idea). In short, the length of the names shows that life is like a quiet, slow river in Eastern Westphalia. Well, on sunny weekends, anyway.

Unless of course you are involved with one of the global players which can be found in the area too (Dr. Oetker, Bertelsmann, Miele). Miele in special have had a history of innovation which is quite breathtaking, numbering bicycles among their long list of products. In the late twenties the firm took over a bicycle works in neighbouring Bielefeld, producing cycles until the early sixties. There still is a large group of dedicated followers, and they ride Miele bikes as if there were no tomorrow. Using nothing more than three speed hubs, because that was the genral state of art in Germany at the time, they have conquered most of Europe´s famous rides. They even had jerseys made, all black, with a red “MIELE” on the back.

One of them rode alongside us for a couple of miles until he zoomed off into the middle distance. Before that I was able to take a few quick snaps of his bike.

The chainguard is missing from this bike, and it has some paintwork damage, but after fifty years plus of use, it´s pretty good.

Some nice details here, like the mudguard embellishment, the typical Miele globe and arrow. The dynamo and lamp are Lohmann, of course Bielefeld made. The clamp may well have been OEM, German manufacturers at the time not being very detail conscious. The rough look of the fork crown is explained by the fact that many bikes then had chrome plated hoods over the fork crowns covering such rough spots. Those hoods rust easily and often were discarded during an overhaul of the bike. The chrome mudguards are of the rare narrow variety.

Here´s the special Miele sports bike headbadge. The standard, mostly black bicycles had different badges. Also the lugs are a bit more special, but only a bit – on might remember that there were Nervex and Ekla and what not about at the time, so the lugs alone put this bike firmly in the middle price point and quality group. Tubing also was no name.

The bottom bracket area still shows some of the box lining. The complete bike used to be Bielefeld made, the crank set is, I believe, PWB. There is a small oiler on the b/b shell; at the time it was recommended that the bearings be oiled rather than greased. The fashion during the fifties in Germany was that the chainstays, sometimes also the seatstays, showed a ridge on the outside, clearly visible here and enhanced by a white line.

Here they are again. With the marked indentations on the inside to accomodate large tires, the stays don´t look very rugged to me, but watching the bike being ridden by a strong rider showed that there was no sway at all in the rear triangle.

A chrome bell, regulation equipment in Germany since time immemorial, with the maker´s name, was de rigueur for a long time; private label bells are now a major collection field.

The same goes for lamps, only that private label lamps were much rarer and only used by premium brands.

The whole three speed actuating equipment is later and unoriginal. The dropouts are nicely done, drop forged, it seems, but the end of the luggage rack betrays the bike was made to a price point.

The seat cluster also shows this. Some brazing residue is clearly visible on the lug just above the seat stay tips, the tube has most probably not been milled as the lug is long enough to accept a straight cut end and acts as a structural part – not exactly premium work.

Also at the start there was an NSU cycle, 26×1.75 shod, on which the chrome fork crown hood is still visible. The mudguard embellishment shows the NSU flying tadpole which is not repeated on the headbadge.

A great number of very well kept NSU bikes with 26 inch wheel still are around because the West Berlin government stored several thousand of them during the cold war to ascertain basic mobility of Berlin citizens should a new blockade happen. Those bikes were sold off sometime during the eighties, I think. The headtube shows “geflammt”, literally flamed, paintwork: The grey shadowing really is clear coated candle soot. It was the fashion in the fifties to apply this to heatubes and rim and mudguard centres.

But now some nicer steel; the usual crop. Not much comment necessary, I think.

Is this a Bio Racer in disguise, I wonder?

And lastly, another thank you to another group of riders who took us along and enriched our day. This time it was a group of riders who were just completing a beginners´ course in club cycling, offered by neighbouring Emsdetten club. They started out with 18 participants, 15 made it to the end, but only five, all of them girls, came to the somewhat rainy ride which ended the course. Here they are:

The blue bike has a rather special detail to its rear triangle:

Anyone seen this before?



  1. tobit
    Posted June 25, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This is a braze-on for Pletscher type racks.
    I have a similar one on a Wulms ladys frame.

  2. Posted June 26, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks, Tobit. I had thought something like that but wasn´t sure.

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