Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Two-Event-Day

On May 17, I got on a bike, rode in two events, had great fun, and nearly forgot about it. How horrible.

First, there was the RTF/century in neighbouring Stemwede-Levern to where I usually cycle, but this year I took the car because after the 08.00 hrs start for the short route 75km there,



The 1931 Miele standing next to some more likely bikes for a century ride


next to the the first control post (And look at the weather!)


I arrived back by about 11.00hrs, loaded the bike again to drive to Enger, another place not too far away. I just made it in time for the 13.oo hrs start of the veteran ride there. Phew.

In fact, I was a little early and was able to have a look at the location of the start of today´s ride #2. It is the Widukind-Museum, which took part in the national open museum day that day.


EnmusEnsymbWidukind was a Saxon duke who led a resistance movement against Charlemagne between 777 and 785. Subsequently he became a mythical figure in the early 20th century for German nationalists and neo-pagans, being pressed into posthumous service by the fascists as well by being made into a symbol of Germany fighting France in the person of Charlemagne.

The Enger museum originally was a memorial place erected in 1938, and embellished with all sorts of reliefs around the entrance, like the Odal rune (above, under the word “Gedächtnisstätte”, in the sérif version) which is a symbol for inheritance, lineage, possession. When I looked around, I could find no explanation what those embellishments mean and what they were used for in Germany´s darkest era. I think that luckily knowledge of these things has been lost in the vast majority of Germans, but still the absence of any sort of explanatory note left a somewhat stale aftertaste.

Soon, however, a number of fellow veteran bike nuts arrived, and the atmosphere became somewhat less inclined to brooding.



We then set off on a well-chosen trail, mostly following a disused railway line.

EngruppoThere was a major break on the way, of course, during which the bikes could be looked at, old friendships could be renewed and new ones made. That´s life, I´d say.

EnHWMEnOP EnPause2 EnPause

EnDürkWe then arrived at our destination, a veteran car meet in a neighbouring village, lined up our bikes,


and were content with the fact that we were regarded by the motor people as slightly odd, possibly retarded, but definitively to be healed.

Nevertheless, there were some nice vehiclesENautos2 EnAutos1 to be looked at.

Some, however, were not really that nice. There was a 50s Chevy which seemed to consist of nothing but putty, and this VW wasn´t much better, either.

ENVWsidepanelI was sorely tempted to draw an Odal rune onto this thing with a screwdriver. Maybe we should try to convert the owner to the real religion.

After a short stay, I went off on my own, returned to Enger, loaded the Miele and went home. I´ll be back next year, for sure, even if the old car meet is included again.

A High Bicycle

Here´s one more episode from the series “Bikes on Vinyl”.

Found in a fleamarket recently, and sold for a little less than a Euro, this 1971 Czech gatefold sleeve shows a great supposedly Czech ordinary. Czech cycles, aero engines and cars were famous for their quality up until the forties, and even kept some of their originality in communist times (Tatra lorries and limos, for example). So the front sleeve possibly alludes to the great Czech past in producing advanced transportation technology.


Look at the nickeled centre spoking on the small pic, taken from the inside collage.

SAM_6225The rock group “Olympic” who are featured on the disc (yes, there´s something more than the bike) was founded in 1963, seems to have been very popular in Czechoslovakia and is in existence still. The album title “Jedeme, jedeme” I think means “Let´s go”, but I´m not too sure about this. Anyone who is?

Another Tall Bike, and a Puzzle or Two

Some years ago, a decade ago more like, a friend from the Netherlands emailed that he had seen a very tall (65cm c/t) RIH frame in the Dutch equivalent of CL. Did I want it? It came with a number of parts lying in a box, some actually usable, and was to be had at a good price, so given the fact that classic frames in my size aren´t exactly frequent, I got it and collected it some months later. When looking at the frame, I was quite impressed, I remember that.

xrihdoenttransfWhat with having had the frame hang from my study wall for the best part of five years (reason: see below), and RIH having been in the news recently with the passing of owner Mr van der Kaaij last December, the closing of the workshop in Westerstraat 150 in Amsterdam´s Jordaan quarter where the firm had been since 1928, and the moving house to a modern facility, I somehow thought I might want to try out the frame on the road after all.

Slowly, and more precise: Thanks to Marten I have received info not to be found (by me) on the net. I could vaguely remember reading about this on CR, but have not yet found out how to access and search their archives.

First, Wim vd Kaaij´s wife fell ill, and he closed the shop after not finding any new owner. Later he did find successors, even taught them framebuilding in the new venue in the North of Amsterdam, and then died quite unexpectedly, literally overnight.

After all like after finding out that someone had drilled a massive hole in one of the seat stays to accomodate a chain hook:


No chrome on the screw; can´t be original.

Or like after discovering that the frame has either been built in a hurry or has had a crash already: The undersides of the top and down tubes have very small, but tell-tale ripples just aft of the headlug tips. They are that small that they don´t show in a pic at all, but they can definitively be felt. Luckily steel usually doesn´t break suddenly like light alloy does, so I´ll just give the bike a try.

xrihheadbAnother reason for not doing much with the frame was that its headbadge also was somewhat intriguing, making it look like it had been changed during a respray – possibly after a crash repair. There are three different badges, and mine didn´t really fit in the right category:

– one on which it says Holland, which some, for example on a Dutch old bike forum, say belongs to the other RIH,

– one on which it says Amsterdam, said to have been used by the Westerstraat custom shop, and

– one on which it says neither.

The somewhat unreadable letters in the diamond mean Gebroeders Bustraan , Bustraan brothers, who were the original founders of the shop back in 1921.

The other RIH? Yes, there are two firms, one, Cové in Venlo, which makes off the peg (city) RIHs, and the original firm in Amsterdam which produces the made to measure frames.* The Venlo people nowadays use the “neither” headbadge. Amsterdam RIH, more precise Willem Bustraan, the son of one of the founders, sold the rights to the cheaper half of the RIH name to Cové in 1972. Earlier, there had actually been a detour via the Fongers works in Groningen who made the cheaper RIHs for a while, even using headbadges with “Amsterdam” on them, and stamping their own year letter frame numbers on the frames, but Fongers then got taken over themselves. If you look things up on the Cové website it seems as if there never had been an Amsterdam shop after 1972, but I was there, I know there was one. Here´s a quotation from their site (my translation):

Great racers like Peter Post, Gerrie Knetemann, Leontien van Moorsel, Ingrid Haringa, Gerrit Schulte en Henk Nijdam were their customers. In all,  63 titles, Olympic gold medals, tour etappes en world championships were won “op een RIH.

That was of course mostly before the name was sold.

But now look at this:

RihAmstheadbHere´s another RIH headbadge, with Amsterdam on it, (and the “R” in RIH being of a different design). This one came off a crashed frame with its number under the b/b, and which was very obviously a cheapish, bought-in Italian eighties affair. I´m sorry I don´t have any fotos of it, didn´t think of it at the time. Amsterdam RIHs have their frame numbers (four digit mostly) on the lower headlug, like mine:

xrihframe#So mine definitively is an Amsterdam RIH, and the bike on which it said Amsterdam was not. OK, sold by them, possibly, but not more.

Before the whole thing gets even more complicated, let´s get on with my bike. I was lucky enough to be able to squeeze one more non-date matching Campag Record groupset, a modern Cinelli handlebar and an old and battered Brooks Pro from my Box, so I set to it, and after a few hours the bike was there. When the wheels are already built, Campag and RIH quality combine to make a build very easy and quick.


click pedals show that I really want to put the bike through its paces

So, some more pics of the frame. I said I wouldn´t make things more complicated, but I´m afraid there´s one more puzzle: My frame is a “Model Cock van der Linde”, sold at van Doorn´s bike shop in Beverwijk.

xrihcocktransfDon´t ask me who van der Linde was/is, I was told that he used to run a bike shop, and if you enter van Doorn in a search engine, there is mention of a C. vd Linde/van Doorn cycleshop in Beverwijk/Noord-Holland. They don´t seem to have an email address. So next time I happen to be in Beverwijk…


Here´s the rest of the pics, and no more complicated questions, promised. OK, there´s one, but only after the pics.


fork crown drilled for smaller dia brake bolt – had to cannibalise a cheap Weinmann


transfers on both chain stays

xrihbb xrihcableeye xrihbrakebr


looks like clean brazing

xrihforkcr xrihftdo xrihforktransfxrihseatcl xrihreynolds xrihrearhub xrihreardo xrihlwrheadl

Now for the last puzzle.

I love Campag two bolt seat posts; have been using them for ages, and I find the precision with which one can adjust the saddle unbeatable. Also I find that fitting a saddle is very easy – if I don´t use the Campag tool from the tool kit.

campatoolI have been told repeatedly that this bent contraption is a two bolt stem tool plus Brooks nose bolt spanner, although I can´t really believe it. I must say that for a nose bolt the original Brooks tool is much preferable, but what happens when you use the two bolt stem end is this:

camptoolrearhexYou can´t reach the front bolt. The rear one is OK, admitted.

So what do I do? Simple, I utilize my standard cranked spanner,

camptoolrearcrankand everything is fine. Am I missing something?


* Sorry, not going into the Vienna/Austria RIH here. They´re just too far away, and the only connection is a horse, anyway. Look up the horse yourself on the net, you might not believe me.

Heroes of the Tour de France

Yes, I went, and you know what: It was great. Despite the 210 km distance to be covered in the car, despite the scorching heat, despite everything that can rightfully be criticized about the TdF. Actually, an esteemed Dutch co-member of the CR list, when I asked if we couldn´t meet there, told me that he preferred to keep a sober distance to the whole circus, and nearly made me reconsider, but then my son, a French exchange student he met at university and another esteemed Dutch co-member of the CR list decided to stick with our plans, and so we went. The plan was to meet a friend and to leave the car at a P&R parking about 35km from Utrecht city centre, to cycle there and them to enjoy the games. As there were three of us in the car, we managed perfectly with stowing the bikes, some necessary luggage and ourselves. It´s all been tried and tested, and the by now very nearly 24-year-old Volvo always takes loads like this in its stride.

Back to the TdF. It was so great because the Dutch people made a huge cycling feast out of the whole thing. There were 4.200 volunteers around to help at every corner, literally, with the Dutch actually creating the word tourmaker to make them stand out. They certainly were heroes, if only because of braving the weather.


UbidonThe special feeder bottles were on sale, too, but had sold out, of course, when we asked.

Uhero2The Tourmakers had their own system of supplies being taken round.


Besides, there also were thousands of regular police and paramedics, but they very much kept to the background.

OTOH, Utrecht had been more or less closed down for days, especially at the TdF route, which must have been quite a nuisance for the neighbours, but they didn´t let the fans feel it. More heroes.

UbordUhouse Uhouses

When we arrived the caravane was already in full swing.

Ucaravan1 Ucaravan5 Ucaravan4 Ucaravan3 Ucaravan2

Shortly after, there were some trial rides by a few riders, and then business started in earnest.

UTTfirstEvery racer was heralded by two motorcycle outriders, and my guess is that riding a motorbike in 40 deg cent. in your full uniform can´t be much of a pleasure.

There must be some sort of hierarchy among racing teams, or possibly even single racers of a team, as there were some competitors who were followed by cars with only a one measly spare bike on the roof rack,

UTTonebikesome had two or three,

UTTfullbut others really wanted to show that they didn´t see any necessity in saving bikes.

UTTburstUTTmorebikesUtrialFunnily enough, every rider only rode one bike at a time. Maybe being filmed from a helicpter was a consolation.


In the meantime, there was another hero: An elderly gentleman who actually brought his Ko Zieleman bike, locked it to a signpost, and left. The bike was still there when we decided to return to the car.

UZielembb UZielemtt UZielemseatcl UZielemfull UZielemfrontSadly the frame had been powdercoated at some date, and the coater had not seen any necessity in saving powder.

But to my mind the real heroes of the day were those Utrecht inhabitants who opened their water taps, or even sprayed passers-by with water.


My guess is that they prevented about a dozen heat strokes per hour. I certainly made good use of being showered and to have free feeder bottle refills. (A half liter plastic bottle of cheap mineral water was three Euros on average at the food stalls, and half a liter didn´t last long.)

More heroes: The bicycle orchestra who actually tried to beat the ubiquitous chaos on the cycle paths – first the chaos,

UArrivalUbikeparkUcrowdUDutchcycle1 UDutchcycle4

Uhero5 UDutchcycle2


then the orchestra.


Uorchcell Uorchtandbak Uorchrearhub Uorchfull UorchcellsolarpAll the instruments were either loaded onto or even integral parts of Dutch bakfietsen, transport bikes. The electronic cello is fed electricity by a solar panel on a trailer on the bakfiets.

Back to the cycle racing. On the other side of th eriver from where we stayed, jealously guarding our half tree´s worth of shade, there were hundreds of spectators assembled in a small park. They looked so unbelievably orderly in their neat rows

Uspectorderlywhile trying to catch a glimpse of the time trial taking part on the other side of the river. Cheering rose to quite a noise level, however, whenever a Dutch rider or one of the greats emerged from the tunnel.




Who won? Didn´t care, it was so hot.