Miele Time Again

So it´s the beginning of May, and Gütersloh beckons again. No long ride this time, sorry to say, only from neighbouring Halle to Gütersloh which is about 20 km. The reason was a really awful weather report, with forecast rain and high winds, which turned out to be incorrect after all. Ah well. My son and myself arrived in Halle by car and met a friend who had taken the train.

Soon after meeting up with the friend at Halle train station we set off. It only took three quarters of an hour to cover the short distance to the meeting point, Gütersloh Stadtmuseum, which had had a marquee erected by Gütersloh Stadtmarketing, and a number of bikes had already assembled. We arrived just in time to listen to a speech made in honour of the original organizer of the event who had died earlier in the year.


XallesMiele Xcockpit


This time there were not so many very old Miele cycles, but some nice original condition ones, like this late thirties dumpster find:

Xprewfull Xprewsaddle Xprewmasc Xprewheadlamp Xprewheadl


The oldest known Miele bike had also found its way to the meeting. Its frame number is five digit and starts with a “13”, which means that chances are slim that an older one will ever surface.

Xhajobb Xhajosks Xhajofull


However, some very typical German ideas of what an old bike should be like or have as an accessory were also there. I must admit that I don´t like either aftermarket kick stands


or the proverbial milk container or fire brigade bike. These more often than not show what owners think bikes should be like, but miss historical reality by miles.


A really weird and wonderful speciality from the early fifties is this Rex Hilfsmotor. Rex was one of a whole array of auxiliary engines made to fit bikes more or less well, like the Lohmann Diesel, the MAW or the Steppke. These engines had a very short tenure as Germany´s way into mass motorization as mopeds took over soon, being much more practical and a good way of showing that one earned enough money to do without the old-fashioned bicycle.

This Rex is in a marvellous condition and emits a sound not unlike that of a Velosolex.


Pre-WWII mudguard mascot


Soon after 12, a 36 strong crowd assembled in front of the museum to set off on a 20 km tour though the countryside surrounding Gütersloh.


The ride, as usual well planned and led at a pace of about 12 kp/h, culminated at a restaurant where Gütersloh Stadtmarketing invitied all participants to a meal and a drink. En route there had been numerous opportunities for interesting conversations with many riders.

After having partaken in the welcome refreshment, our small group of three people set off, deliberately missing the 4pm return to the Stadtmuseum because we thought we´d better get going as the weather was deteriorating. Our friend had a satnav fitted to has late fifties Miele sports bike, and asked it politely to show us the shortest way back to Halle train station. The little machine on the handlebars must have sensed that I detest such apparatus, and led us far astray, making our friend miss his train by two minutes. What the satnav had obviously not taken into account was the ice cream parlour next to the station, where we settled down to have a great time waiting for the next train, so we did get the better of it after all.

In all, the Sunday turned out to be a very nice day out, hopefully to be repeated next year, when I also would very much like to cycle the whole way from home to Gütersloh again.




  1. Sergio Montes
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 1:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    On the front brake of the Mieles. Can you comment on the efficiency of the pad pressing against the tyre? Was it used to the end of Miele production? It seems to have been abandoned almost everywhere a long time ago, I cannot recall a single British or French or Italian bike from 1900 on with such a device. Still, most interesting reunion of fine bikes at Gütersloh in good state of preservation.

    Sergio Montes

  2. Posted May 7, 2015 at 6:45 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Sergio,
    well, those brakes (“Stempelbremse”, plunger brake) – you can´t really comment on their efficiency because there was none. Of course, more expensive bikes (sports bikes) had calipers.
    Stempelbremsen were kept on because most bikes in Germany at the time had very efficient rear coasters, and the law demanded two brakes (unlike in Holland, where a rear coaster is sufficient). Stempelbremsen were cheap, I guess that was the main reason for their survival, and of course German vehicle customers used to be unimaginative and conservative beyond belief (VW Beetle).
    The 1980s Postal Service delivery bike I use a lot (shopping) still has a brake like you describe, so the end of Miele Production ca. 1960 was not the end of the sad story of the Stempelbremse.
    The meet in Gütersloh was great, you´re right. We could do with an international atmosphere, so why not hop on the plane next year, borrow one of my Mieles and have fun? Lunch will be free after all 🙂

  3. Sergio Montes
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 1:55 am | Permalink | Reply

    The meet in Gütersloh was great, you´re right. We could do with an international atmosphere, so why not hop on the plane next year, borrow one of my Mieles and have fun? Lunch will be free after all 🙂

    This is very tempting, as I will travel to Europe next May, for another try at the Camino de Santiago, starting from Lisbon. To combine this with some cycling in the N. of Germany would be really excellent. If not the Miele meeting, quite likely there would be other rallies that could be attended. Please let me know how this fits with your activity.


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