Monthly Archives: April 2014

A Collectors´ Item

This is a bike which I haven´t had for a very long time, couple of years, perhaps, and which I have put together with bits which I still had in my box. So I obviously haven´t ridden it and won´t ever, but I still like it for what it is, a typical British Path racer – made for both the track and for road use, featuring a rear brake bridge, drilled front fork and mudguard stay eyes. Here it is in track kit.

WfullI haven´t been able to find out much about its maker, excepting that Hilary Stone says it was round the corner from where he grew up. Also it´s not clear if Westland actually made the frame or just badged it. It is clear, though, that it´s got no helicopters in its ancestry.

WdownttransfIf one applies modern standards, it could very well be a lady´s bike, what with its small size and its colour. I think it´s not unfair to call it pretty. Here´s some more impressions.

Wbb Wbkbridge Wchainwhl

I know, it doesn´t feel quite right, but I guess it´s the correct period (the cranks have the lips inside), and I just didn´t have a Chater or BSA set.WdowntliningWext Wextfront Wforkcr WfthubdoWGB Wreado Wrim Wseatcl Wseatpin Wseattransfer Wseattubelining WsteerheadI left whatever it is on the chrome as it comes off easily but seems to have protected the plating well over the decades.

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An Old Friend

Imagine you are rung by a friend who tells you he´s just bought a bike for you which he has seen in a newspaper small ad. This must either be a very good friend or chances are that he is no longer any sort of acquaintance. This one still is a friend.

Rtttransfer

So he says on the phone that he has found a very cheap but good quality road bike, Rossin framed, hung with a mixture of all sorts of stuff, but very probably originally sold by a legendary bike dealer, long deceased, in a neighbouring town. There were some telltale signs, like the choice of headset and the spacer:

Rheadset

And it´s 64 cms frame height. Built from extra strong Columbus tubing, and with an extra long top tube. Wasn´t it just what I was looking for, so shortly after getting into cycle sport again after some years absence. It was.

Rfull

The bike quickly proved to be very able, a great hillclimber (it definitively “planes” if I may use Jan Heine´s diction), and quite fast. I just loved it. The only problems with it were that it is a road bike with no space for mudguards and with a racing gear ratio. Still, I stuck with it for some seasons, with its mixed bag of bits, and it served my purpose well until I bcame fed up of being wet and muddy even after the slightest rainfall.

I then graduated to a real randonneur (https://starostneradost.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/work-in-progress) and the Rossin got laid off and parked in the cellar. As a recompense I had repeatedly promised the old chap to be made over with Super Record stuff, something that happened a few years later when I chanced on a bike thrown together with just what my Rossin lacked.

Rbb Rbkbridge Rbottlecageeye RbridgechainstaysRdowntube RforkcrRlwrheadlugRseatclRRonbbshell RRonlwrheadlIt is a nice frame, no doubt about it.

RchainwhlRftchgRhbarsRrearbk Rrearchg Rreardo RrearhubRsaddleRseatpin RshiftleverNow I keep promising the bike to ride it again, or clean it, for that matter. I´ve nearly made my mind up to take it to the Haarlem/NL Tour d´Historique in June, but let´s see what happens until then.

Sins of the Past

Older restoration – a term which makes me shudder usually, but I keep the shudder internal as I know that I  produced one myself, nearly two decades ago. Well, there was not much to have done, the bike was incomplete, the original paintwork had long gone, and the nickel wasn´t my fault, but still. Luckily I didn´t do anything irreversible to the frame as it is very special.

Ffull FfullftIt is a ca. 1923 Favor split tube, from France, and the ancestor, or one of the few ancestors, of all British Funny Frames.

Fchainstay

FdowntubeAs you can see, my camera also found the concept confusing and focussed on the ground between the down tube halves.

Why all this? People say it must have made the frame stiffer, but I don´t think so. My idea on the real reason is: The design facilitates the transport of small items like cameras.Fphotobag Anyway, when I got the bike it was a complete wreck. It had been used by some Dutch student as a hack bike, had received a modern front fork, and there were hardly any old parts on it. Helen March kindly sent me the photocopy of a sales catalogue, from which I selected the colour option Delft Blue, and my search for the bits started. I was lucky enough to find the remains of another twenties racing frame with a good fork which was perfect in steerer length and angles, and the two headsets matched, too.

FforkcrbheadlFforkcrbk

The original chainwheel had long ago gone and was replaced with a standard part. Funnily enough, not too far from where I am there is another Favor split tube – that one lacks the headbadge but has the chainwheel. It´s a tough sport, cycling.

FheadbFseatclFheadjoinWhere the frame is unmolested, it displays beautiful lugless workmanship.

FreardoFrearbridgeNow for the bits. Sorry to say that the platers made a mess of things by not rinsing properly: All plated surfaces of hollow parts are slowly being eaten away by acid. This is especially sad for the old Rigida rims, but you only find out about these things many years later.

FrimFextFchainwhlFftfkbkFfthubThe hubs seemingly are original; they are very old anyway. I can imagine the wheels having originally been wood rimmed and with smaller hubs, but then again all possible options were in the catalogue.

FrearhubFheadclipFsaddleAnyway, passes the 10 ft test and gives some sort of impression of what racing bikes looked like 90 years ago.

Critical Mess

Just couldn´t resist the pun, though it´s probably very old and tired. Sorry.

So here I was, at my first Critical Mass – April 2014 edition in Osnabrück. The local press had been full of it when CM was first held last summer, what with cyclists actually taking what is theirs – the road, and making it abundantly clear to motorists that the city centre is not theirs exclusively. The police had been there, too, giving the whole affair some disreputable, even illegal touch.

Now the weather was fine, even unusually so for end of April, and no police car was to be seen. They seemed to be busy, or had forgotten about CM, or – well, maybe they had seen that CM is a menace to noone, a very friendly and good-humoured thing in all, and very orderly, too. What was this saying Lenin coined about German revolutionaries who will first buy a train ticket and them storm the station? Although most attending seem to pronounce the name Critical Mess, it was far from one, so maybe the Police had done something very un-German, just letting it run its course. Actually, so did most motorists, who seemed to have gotten used to CM already. Some even stopped to let us pass. The whole atmosphere was  relaxed, some would say disappointingly so, and being taken serious feels different.

A few minutes before the advertised start, not too many people had shown up, but that changed rapidly.

CMfewWhen we set off, taking all of one lane, to which we were entitled because there were more than 15 of us, there were more already.

CMfrontA quick view to the rear showed that there must have been about 70 of us, including fledgeling families in transport trike boxes, small kids on their own little bikes, cheap old students´ bikes and top of the range touring ones. Everyone was avoiding bike lanes, of course.

CMmore

CMrearAs far as I could see, none of the bikes looked unsafe, made any noises or failed in any way – it seems that participants in CM are cyclists who merit this word.

I think I´ll go again next month, if I can make it – it´s a great outing for all the family.

What´s in a name?

OK, I shouldn´t complain, or even comment, what with my blog´s name being Russian and all. But “itstartedwithafight.de”? What started? What fight? Has it ended yet? Mysterious.

It´s a bike blog, would you believe it, and a great one at that. It actually has real, paid for ads. And it´s local to where I am. And it´s made by the only bike blogger I ever spoke to in person.

ISWFTopThere´s a wide choice of topics, ranging from bike politics and technical matters to – wall mounted cycle storage devices. Another one of those mysteries? Don´t think so.

The riders I met at todays´s CM (see following post) were most of them young, university or even college students, and had great bikes. They have little space, typically, and also little reason not to keep their steeds in their accomodations. Wall mounted bike storage devices, bingo.

ISWFchoiceAlso Daniel, the blog owner, has been instrumental in erecting a Ghost Bike, Osnabrück´s first, in the place where a cyclist was killed recently. He has been mentioned favourably for this in the press.

Bildschirmfoto 2014-04-25 um 21.57.46

So if you have any German at all, try one of Germany´s most influential bike blogs (it has just been voted onto a list of 50 of them), and let´s hope it doesn´t end too soon, whatever it was that it started with.

And don´t ask what rank on the shortlist my blog made. The jury didn´t even know it existed <sigh>.

A Mystery

Dear me, in what area of human life were the early eighties not a low point?

Again, a vinyl record sleeve is telltale. This time it´s the 1982 Hot Chocolate “Mystery” record which shows bikes.

MystfrontfullHere they are in all their post bike boom el cheapo glory. Four of them are Raleighs, and I´d be grateful to hear from anyone who can identify the last bike. It´s the one which is so savagely kicked in the chainblade by its non-rider.

MYstkickWhat is nice about these bikes? The Weinmann centrepulls on the blue cycle, but I guess that´s about all, excepting perhaps the typically British lamp brackets on the front forks. And, maybe, as some sort of smirk of history, the short mudguards.

MystorRalCertainly not the brake levers, nor the chrome rims, both of which seem to have been invented with the sole purpose to keep people from cycling by making it suicidal.

MystbluehbarsAnd look at this one: Bike straight out of the box, bars not fitted properly and probably still loose. For good measure, here´s the rear of the sleeve:

MystfullrearThe chap in the middle proves again he´s not a cyclist really by putting his foot on the chainwheel. Also, am I mistaken or do some of the bikes look too small for their riders?

Dear me.

Neerkant 2014

Again it was late March and a friend, my son and myself found ouselves in the trusty Volvo motoring down to Neerkant for yet another edition of the fascinating “Stalen Ros” meet. What would expect us this time?

N14MainHallOf course, there was the same venue which miraculously seems to grow small-ish halls and additions every year. And it needs them, too – Stalen Ros´ success cannot be overlooked. Of course, there were the same friendly people as every year, and the international appeal was audible. The bikes to watch were mostly of superbe quality, though many of them were relatively modern. All of this is great.

N14RosaMerckx

But to be quite honest, it seems as if cycle collecting as I know and understand it has come to a turning point. Stalen Ros seems to be smothered by its own success – it is undoubtedly an important factor in the current popularity of veteran racing bikes in the Netherlands. A swap meet in which there are 1.000 times more nineteen-eighties and -nineties Japanese parts than nineteen-thirties ones from any country put together does not hold a big attraction for me. The good stuff there was was hugely expensive, it being clear of course that any collector´s item is worth just what someone is prepared to pay for it.

N14Hbarprice

Also this is not to say that modern Japanese parts are no good or not collectable – that´s for each collector to decide, but this year´s Stalen Ros definitively shows that we seem to be at a point which I witnessed in motorcycle collecting some time during the early eighties. The good stuff was gone, it was as simple as that.

N14Tablehubs

My consequence then was to get out of old motorbikes. While I´m not thinking old quitting old bikes I think I´ll have to get used to the idea that my collection will not grow much any more. I´m just not prepared to pay 100 Euros for a non-functional aftermarket four speed Osgear lever, for example.

Anyway, the bikes in the expo were mostly wonderful. As a Brit Bike lover I just had to snap the Great Magnum Bonum Hetchins with an original FW/two sprocket conversion.

N14Hetchdrivetr N14Hetchforkcr N14HetchfullBikes in Neerkant are there to be looked at, placed in two rows, so taking decent photographs is hard.

N14RowbackTo make good for my rant earlier in this post: Some people had interesting items, some useful, some eye catchers.

N14Transfers

N14Gold

N14ToysLastly, this was what some visitors used to come in this year:

N14HPV

This is a short film my son made:

Berlin

After nearly a month off-line here´s at least a re-start in the shape of a 12 inch vinyl record from the early sixties which contains the famous Berlin Sportpalast Waltz, played during all six days and other cycling events. This one features “Krücke´s” original whistling.

BerlCover BerlLabel