City of Learning

On a recent visit to Oxford I found that there are a number of interesting buildings among the many bicycles. Walking through the city centre one sees huge numbers of bikes, often in droves like this,

and everything being a matter of getting one´s preferences right, I decided to see what nice bikes these heaps might hold. There was a surprising number of them. Let´s start with this old battle horse, a Dawes made from Reynolds tubes which once must have been a rather capable touring bike despite its frame not having the nicest lugs.

The fixie craze has obviously found its way to the province, complete with all the horrible misgivings like being able to make a fixed gear bike out of a frame with a low bottom bracket and forward facing rear dropouts. Examples:

There are some real path racers, too; one wonders, however, how long a lifespan this rather nice bike still has:

Harry Hall – I know that name, but Harry O? The Marquise´s hubby?

This isn´t really a sporting bike, but interesting nevertheless. On the Sturmey AW it said 81.

I just couldn´t resist snapping this one. It´s so typically British, basket and all. I imagine a girl in a beautiful dress on it, cycling along carefree, through flowery meadows, with whatever a girl like her carries in the basket, possibly on her way to… well, let´s not go into that, but most definitively in the pouring rain. This is England, you know.

I really like the reflector on the rear mudguard. It positively precludes the use of a sensible carrier rack and will perpetuate the front basket.

Lastly, this marvel of art and craftsmanship. I spare you the rest of the frame. These things are ridden by elderly ladies putting out 49.5 Watts on a good day, they get cleaned and looked after, of course, while beauties like the Harry O wither away.


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