A Teaser

Good news or bad news – what shall I start with? OK, the bad news. I haven´t posted anything for 11 days, and I will not be able to do much more about the blog in the next fortnight or so. Not fishing for compliments here – those who think that this really is the good news won´t read this at all.
The good news is that after all this time I still remembered my wordpress password (pressword?).

The reason for my comparative silence over the last month or so partially this:

and this

and this,

but mainly this

and this

and this.

Let me explain.

About nine years ago, when we moved house, I sold all my Miele stuff because there was less room for our bikes, especially my bike collection. Some years later, some cyclists in Gütersloh/Germany got together and founded a loose group of late adopters of Miele bicycles, the last year of production of which had been 1960.

Of course I then wished I still had had the bikes I had sold, especially the sports bike, as those riders in Gütersloh really mean it: They go on long rides, some longer than 200 km, on their trusty steeds, and they are kind enough to let me join – under the condition that I ride a Miele.

Fast forward to late July of this year: A friend rings to say he has a Miele frame which he wants to sell, could I come and have a look as it seemed to be something special. And it was; I bought it on the spot. At home, perusing the fantastic “Miele historische Technik” website, I found to my amazement that the frame I had just bought (that´s all there was left of the poor bike, frame, forks, headset and b/b bearing plus crankset) was made in or around 1930, quite early for Miele who only started making bikes in 1924.

The transfers and lining are still original, and it seems that the b/b bearing is unique: Available only on request, no other specimen seems to have survived. As the bearings still are very smooth indeed, and as oil or grease had seeped out of them onto the b/b shell during the frame´s long storage time, I thought it wise not to do anything about the bearings. German square taper steel cranks from the classic era have no crank puller threads so they have to be prised off using a special technique, mainly consisting of wielding a large hammer.

The really good news is that, while the frame is definitively too small for me at 55 cms, the top tube measures 62 cms, so a long seat post will do.

A quick search in my boxes revealed that I had nearly everything at hand I needed to make a quite nice 1930s tourer: A pair of 1930s mudguards came with the frame, a pair of beautiful Dunlop Westwood rims was in another cellar. I had this idea that I wanted roughly period correct gears for the long rides I plan to go on riding the Miele, and of course reliable brakes, so I hit on the idea of using a pair of late 30s Sturmey Archer ABC and BFC hubs, some rare spares for which (“Patent applied for” trigger, for instance) I already had.

A wrecked fifties Raleigh ladies roadster found quite by chance a couple of days before the Miele rendered a nice old fashioned pair of handlebars, 635 mil tires and some other goodies, so that I was ready to go.

But what with wheelbuilding (including freeing the rims from rust, old spokes and useless hubs), finding spares like a long steel 25.8 mil seatpost or special nuts, bolts and washers, also solving the many problems that come with rebuilding such an old bike which must be reliable and comfortable for a century ride, a ground up and rather involved restauration like this one takes ages to finish.

Sometimes progress is so slow that it´s not visible at all on the bike in the repairstand, for example when one has to fix a loose headbearing cup that is moving about in the headlug. A friend had the right idea how to settle this problem and was kind enough to come to my house to get it done.

That´s why there´s only very few snaps here, and also why I have spent so little time on this blog recently. There´s a job to look after, too, and a family.

Part of the family, my son, wants to take part in the fun of joining the Miele cyclists´ group, so we had to get a bike for him, too. That´s the red one a few teasing details of which are visible at the top of this post. It´s a rather rare and well kept 1952 sports version with a three speed coaster hub and modern rims. We bought it for a moderate sum from Heinz Fingerhut at Velo-Classic – it was the only nice Miele he has had for sale for some time as it seems that well preserved examples are sought after, so we were lucky again. We repaired this bike, no restauration necessary, and excepting the bearings damaged by some former owner by overtightening there was not much wrong with it so my son has used the bike on two rides already totalling about 100 miles. That problem out of the way, I could start in earnest with my bike.

I´ll be back with a proper post and some photos of the finished 1930s bike soon, I hope.

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