Monthly Archives: September 2013

Two reasons to be envious

Just a few photos from two bikes I was able to snap in century rides over the past couple of weeks. Wrapping up the riding season, so to speak.

There´s always the problem of taking discernable photos at control posts – people usually don´t want to spend time talking about bikes, and there´s no way anyone wants to find a suitable backdrop, so I hope you will forgive the lack in quality of my snaps once more. Maybe it will have been noted that there have been far fewer of these photos this year – here´s the reason. One particularly sad example were two wonderful American bikes I tried to snap; the pictures just didn´t come out.

The Colnago owner says he has used the frame for about 25.000km every year for the last 14 years, since he bought the frame new. I envy him, I have to say. We rode a few miles together until he proved too fast – small wonder with his training.

The Tommasini is about my size, not quite high enough, but I would be able to ride it.

















A Private Invitation


This blog seems to grow – by sheer numbers of posts, readers (thank you), even followers (a special thank you), and on me. So it seems only natural that I have to introduce a way of facilitating all our ways around the more than 100 posts, and I have decided to diversify the categories, introducing more of them for a start. Today it´s the Ride Reports that´s new, and I have also started to re-classify older posts by categorizing them anew.

As you will have noted, this post also is in the Ride Reports section. The reason this is possible at all is that my son and myself braved torrential rainfalls for 200 kms in our trusty 740 Volvo to be rewarded with an afternoon´s worth of riding in brilliant sunshine in Amerongen, Province of Utrecht, Netherlands. As soon as we turned off the motorway the rain stopped, and by the time we reached Amerongen´s Restaurant Buitenlust, situated in Burgemeester Jonkheer Hendrik van den Boschstraat, the sun had come out.


One after the other more than 60 riders turned up, from places as far afield as Groningen and – well, Germany. It took us about 30 minutes after the 11 o´clock starting time to look at all the bikes, take photos, and get acquainted or greet old friends.




Then we took off, straight onto a muddy path which made all those glitzy Italian seventies and eightes bikes look much more authentic. My ca. 1941 FW Evans fitted with an Osgear is in original paintwork, this being a description of a severe lack of any cleaning for years, so there´s dirt and rust everywhere anyway, plus it has mudguards, so I was not able to profit from the mud on the path. What I did manage was a gear change or two on the 75 kms we rode, which made me really proud of myself. My bike´s Osgear being the Pro version, a gear change necessitates a manual detensioning of the tension arm, overshifting the indexed quadrant, then dropping the lever into the right notch, and finally re-tensioning the tension arm.

The mech worked flawlessly, only all those steps were too much for me first time round, promptly making it necessary to dismount and to re-rail the chain which I had dropped onto the spokes. Luckily there was no harm done, but my pride was hurt, and to top it off all of this was filmed and published on Youtube. There are at least two films now, one called Retro Race Amerongen 2013, the incriminating one being titled Retro Toertocht Utrechtse Heuvelrug 2013.

A few kilometers after the start I tried to take a few pics of the bunch, which wasn´t easy as there were so many riders. And no, I didn´t stand on the newly laid concrete.



Pulk3John, the organizer, together with family and friends, had managed not only to devise a very nicely cyclable and scenic route, but they also had set up two refreshment stations on the way, decorated with old jerseys, with friendly helpers doling out all sorts of versnaperingen from Dutch breakfast cake Ontbijtkoek to Italian Liqueur.





All of this, more than enough for 60 plus riders, was paid for by them, with participation in the event being free. John and the others, there is a huge thank you in this for you, and my son and me will bring a surprise to Apeldoorn on October 20.

In general the nice weather and the company was enjoyed by all, there were no accidents I heard of and only two punctures. Onlookers also were content, although their cheers sounded somewhat strange.


Here now are a number of impressions, without further comment. I will present two especially interesting bikes further down in this post.





















It being the Netherlands, there were dozens of interesting bikes around everywhere. It seems that the Dutch don´t resist modern trends in utility cycling, so one finds bikes like these:


This is a split top tube on a Sparta Amazone with a child´s seat fitted between the rider´s seat and the handlebar.




Towards the end of the ride we passed Rhenen, one of the two towns which Queen Beatrix visited on her last proper Koninginnedag in 2012. One rider´s daughter actually presented the Queen with a bunch of flowers. In the background there is St Cunera church spire, one of the most beautiful gothic spires in all of the Netherlands.


Now for a closer look at two very special bikes, one British (of course), the other Dutch.

Here´s a Raleigh SBU with R753 tubing.

Raleigh753 1980sticker





And here´s a Gazelle anniversary bike fitted with a Campag anniversary groupset. It belongs to a former Gazelle executive who has owned it since new but took it for its first ride in Amerongen. If this isn´t special I don´t know what is.













Blue Streak


Some days ago when on a bikeride I stopped at a cycleshop I didn´t know to ask a few daft questions, like if they had a used steel framed racing bike for my collection. Many salespeople don´t know there is such a thing, but this time I was lucky. I was led to a remote corner in the impressively large shop and there it was.

DRadfullThey had this strange mixture of bits and pieces for sale, at a price which made me race back home and fetch the car asap. I´m sorry about the quality of the pic, but it´s possible to see that there´s all sorts of parts on the bike, from the beatiful frame to a new suspended seat pin. I think can also see that the rear rim is bent beyond remedy, but then I know it is, and maybe that´s what makes me think it´s visible in the photo.

DradMod53This snap makes the problem about the bike clear. Note the beautifully thin stays and the Modell 53 Fichtel & Sachs 3sp. It doesn´t go together IMHO. I don´t know too much about Dürkopp, only that they were considered the German BSA, but I do know that other German quality manufacturers had heavy sturdy bikes they would sell as sports bikes with three speeds and simple alloy rims, whereas this Dürkopp definitively looks like a road bike which has lost most of its original parts complement over the deacdes.

There´s more indications that the parts on the bike weren´t on it in the early fifties when the frame was made. Some are just too young, like the lighting, others have traces of different bikes they once were fitted to:

DradvorderschblSee the trace of some other mudguard mascot under and behind the Dürkopp one?

Now the frame as such. I took the bike to bits one evening last week and found to my horror that the paintwork is disintegrating in many places over the chrome, flaking off or forming little bubbles. These are not rust spots working their ways through from the inside, I made sure of that by scraping one or two off. They´re far too many, anyway.

DfullSo this is it. I have taken the liberty to replace the cheap Taiwanese suspension seat pin with a very thin and lightweight steel one I still had in my box. As pictured here, c/w seat pin, fork, head and b/b bearings and chainset, the frameset at 58 cms c/t weighs 4.3 kg, which I think is pretty good. A Miele or Torpedo sports bike of the same vintage weighs much more, about two kilos. Another hint this frame may be a road frame.

OTOH, the rear brake bridge never had a brake caliper fitted to it. This may be due to the fact the the bike originally may have been fitted with a Renntorpedo or a Torpedo based three speed derailleur coaster brake hub.

DBrakeBridgeThe little scew underneath it is for fitting a mudguard. Clever. Road frames in the fifties often had braze ons for mudguards, but this little thing is special.

DbbspindleMore special stuff: The hollow b/b spindle. There´s still some dirt in it.

DforkcrownAnd of course the twin plate fork crown. This is something I really like.

DsteeringheadAcres of chrome, very flashy.

DSteerTopProbably Dürkopp made steering set; the b/b bearings definitively are made by Dürkopp.

DreardoRather simple pressed steel dropout ends, a bit disappointing. Do we have an early form of drillium here? But note the thinness of the seat stay.

DforkdoSame thing in the front. Some of the beautiful box lining has survived on the fork.

DbbThe dirt really has bonded with the rough surface of the faulty paintwork.

DIndentThe indentations obviously are made for fat tires. Note how close the chainwheel is to the stay.

DKurbelSchriftzugThe Dürkopp brand name is found in many places on the bike.


DseattubeAgain loads of little bubbles around the seatcluster.


DRearLightBrazeonThere is a brazeon for a rear light or reflector; a nice touch. I´ve seen this on a number of Dürkopp road frames.

DOberrohrThere are three little loops brazed under the top tube to take the brake cable. Neat, especially considered what others were doing in this regard at the time.

So, who can say definitively what this was? Lowly sports or the real fullblood road bike frame?

A day later: Theo Ernst has written to say that it is the real thing, he remembers having sold them in the day. Wonderful.

I Need Some Sweets

Something really daft has happened: I have missed today´s veteran bike ride in Holland. I had checked earlier in the year and noted down Sept. 8, and when planning the next week a few minutes ago I found that it was today.

Now only a little chocolate can help.