Author Archives: starostneradost

Not My Kind of Bike, not My Kind of Ride

Weekend before last there was this bicycle and travel fair at a local VW dealership. The VW people cleared most of their vast exhibition hall and made room for dozens of stalls by regional tourist offices, cycles shops, big cycle makers and some charity stalls too.

Coach companies showed off their latest bicycle trailers.

Why did I go? Looking at it with hindsight – no idea. What did I expect? The manisfestation of the return to classic bike culture? Ha.

Take these, for instance:

Electric, superfat tires, superfat frame tubes, if you can call them that, hard if not impossible to service at home, defined life expectancy, and a price tag that made me swoon:

I´m not a fan of DIY superstore bicycles, and I´ve always tried to have more expensive bicycles than cars, but this is just over the top, sorry.

And things go on. Yes, there are a few steel frames bikes, two I think, but of course they need gimmicks to induce planned obsolescence, like Pinion bottom bracket gearboxes and so on. Nothing, BTW, I saw in that fair which was praised as the dernier cri did not have some sort of precursor as far as 110 years ago, not even the bamboo bicycle with its super cheap kit.

Useful as a strong carrier rack may be, but the Belgians learned that a brazed/welded on rack does have its disadvantages as far as servicability is concerned. Now these racks seem on their way back.

What with Germany always being a bit skeptical as far as useful bicycle developments are concerned, we actually are discovering the advantages of a Dutch bakfiets (box bike) now.

One of the few occasions in the fair I had a hearty laugh also was on the bakfiets:

I think I have to administer some antidote now before it´s too late. Gimme this

and this

and this

and framebuilding like this

anytime. Please.


A Little Ray of Sunshine


One major attraction at Marten´s December open day was the presence of a Marston Sunbeam in good original condition and with some great extras like the two speed chainwheel gear. I´m not very familiar with these bikes, so I took a couple of photographs and let them speak for themselves.

This is not a 1920s cruise control but a blocking mech that facilitates any operation in which a non-moving front fork is needed – like repair, storing, or carrying.

A special fitting for the chainstays. Amazing.

The way the two speed lever is attached to the top tube.


The attention to detail in this bike is amazing and should attract the artist´s eye as much as the craftman´s. It´s not for nothing that Sunbeams were regarded as a brand apart, and among the best bicycles available anywhere in the day.

Car Eat Countryside

Today nice weather coincided with a couple of hours of free time, so I decided to hop on the bike, and for want of a better idea where to go, I decided to repeat a short trip I had taken quite exactly four years ago to snap the changes that major roadworks have wrought upon the landscape near our small town.

About 40 years ago planning started for an intergalactic bypass. It seems that nothing was good or expensive enough, so plans were made for a road which legally is not a federal highway (Bundesautobahn) but a notch below that, a Bundesstraße. However in reality it will completely look like an Autobahn, save the yellow roadsigns in place of blue highway ones. This of course means a huge loss of contryside, a huge expenditure of money, and I as a cyclist can´t help feeling cheated.

The Osnabrück area isn´t exactly known for its cycle friendliness, only a few months ago I had a potentially dangerous accident damaging my cycle (see red replacement front fork) because of what I see as unbelievably bad planning of cyclepaths in the city, and the new bypass will be forbidden for cyclists – matter of fact, the cycle route to Osnabrück will be less easy to use after the roadworks will have been finished. No way anything really helpful is planned as far as cyclists are concerned – there is talk of a “Fahrradautobahn”, a cycle highway, more or less alongside the new bypass, but to my mind that´s just an alibi. Drastic measures that would be so necessary are not tackled at all. That´s why I´m feeling cheated when looking at the construction site.

Now for my short cyclerides, today and four years ago.

I approached the site from its Eastern end, and even from several hundred meters away the yellow sand on it was clearly visible in the sun, behind the trees.


The next two views are taken from the hill in the background of this pic, looking left, basically.

The new road really eats ito the conuntryside.

Thses are two of the bridges visible in the pics above.

Carrying on further, the site today looks like this:

Four years ago this was the view one had:


Even worse, this little copse

and this slope

were completely taken away, the level of the ground being lowered to this

and this.

Turning round 180 degrees, four years ago this was what one beheld:

And now it´s like this, at a slightly different angle:

The little copse of five pictures above was roughly alongside the bridge on the excavator side of it, only nearly ten meters above 2018 road level. That much hill has been taken away. The number of trees having been felled is amazing too.

All in all, I´m not impressed. Traffic planning is, to my mind, still riding on mid-20th century tracks, and in the wrong direction.


A Bike with a USB Plug, a Car with a Bicycle Bell, and a Smoking Gun

All of that was to be found on or near Marten´s latest edition of Tubes and Coffee, which was really nice again despite taking place on a day on which there was a lot of black ice on the roads, and so sadly not too many people attended. We had our usual three people in the car

and it took us more than two hours to cover the 180 kms to Marten´s place. Suffice to say that the turbo engine wasn´t asked too much on the German Autobahn that morning.

However, once there, we were very well rewarded by Marten´s hospitality. His traditional apple crumble

looked like this minutes after our arrival:

And what was that simmering on the wood stove?

Indeed, the rightfully famous vegetarian groentesoep, vegetable soup.

But really we hadn´t come for neither cars not soup, but to marvel at more machines, in and outside the workshop. One is the Phil spoke machine, which cuts too long spokes and rolls new threads in them in one go. Marten says that its the single most expensive piece of machinery in his workshop, but well worth it. Here it is:

You insert the spoke into a little hole

crank the lever

and the machine cuts the spoke to the pre-set length and rolls a new thread in seconds.

But this marvel also contains the smoking gun: Who believes that Phil is US made?

Me no longer 🙂

And some more bits and pieces:

Like this candlestick cleverly made from wrecked SON parts:

Or other SON items like this demonstrator or special new equipment:

It´s all quite fascinating, but with Marten being the SON importer for the Netherlands, he´s just the chap to ask for viewing things like that.

More nice items, like this derailleur demonstrator use in sleutelcursussen, repair classes for members of a long distance cycling club. Marten made the demonstrator himself, and I just love it.

You can take the lever and the cable off in seconds, and everything is super well made and clear for beginners.

However, Marten is also involved in the history of great bicycles, and here we had the opportunity to scrutinize an early and famous titanium frameset:

Books – there were some quite exciting ones to be leafed through.

And of course visitors brought some rather nice bikes. The Copenhagen Pedersen is Marten´s, but the Koga was ridden from Groningen:

As M-Gineering also sell Airnimals, there was a very nice specimen on display too.

More examples of Marten´s raw materials and what he makes of them:

One last look at a really, really nice bike a customer brought, the one with the USB plug, actually,

and then we had to take our leave for another year, driving along the straight canal, drawn with a ruler into the flat landscape.

 On the way back we chanced upon this apparatus:

Here´s the car with the cycle bell. And: Does anyone have any idea what the flap in the bonnet is for?

So here we are, stuck with another year´s worth of waiting for the 2018 edition of Tubes and Coffee.

A New Bike!

Yes, after 8 years, I´m going to have another custom frame built. No photos of it yet, not British this time, but a few explanations to start off with.

What´s the background?

I´ve had custom frames made off and on for the last 30 years, and I´ve never rued any of those actions – financial, organisational, time wise a custom frame is a real action, but its advantages grow with each Centimetre of frame height, and I need between 65 and 67 of them.

I started with my Mercian, a tourer as nice as they come, and not much in use nowadays as I´ve moved away from loaded cycletouring. I was quite inexperience then, so dealing with the people in Derby was an eyeopener; see my blog post on the matter. Just enter “Mercian” in the search box top left, and there you go. Matter of fact, you can enter the names of all bikes I´m going to mention this way, if you like. I used the Mercian to go all over Europe.

Then, in 1991, I had Dave Miller build me a curly Hetchins track frame, which also was great. I did some track training at the time, and loved it, now the bike is a fixed with a three speed Sturmey. Luckily, Dave suggested at the time that I order mudguard clearance and some braze ons like a classic road/track layout. I´ve even used the Hetchins for century rides, actually, and it´s not bad at all.

After that, there was a 2nd hand custom frame – yes, something like that exists. Our dream at the time was a George Longstaff expedition tandem which we couldn´t afford new. One day in 1995, a small add showed up in the Tandem Club Journal, and off I went to the UK to pick up a bike which was absolutely our dream machine, down to the choice of colour. No mean feat if you consider that we need 65/51 frame size in a Tandem. The machine has given the family endless satisfaction, not least with our son as the stoker, progressing through all stages of kiddy cranks and so on. It actually got our son into cycling.

During my son´s and my century riding we met a rider from a place near Dortmund who was foolhardy enough to swap his wonderful custom made Rickert for a carbon framed machine – so another huge coincidence delivered a 2nd hand Rickert custom road bike to my doorstep, again perfect down to the colour. I must admit I have not used it much, but it belongs in the group of bikes which are my size and which I would have or actually did order according to my wishes.

Next, some years after my son and me had started century riding in earnest, my son going through a procession of machines which I built from all sorts of frames and parts, me riding an old bike which had changed roles so often I had lost track, my son´s growing came to a foreseeable end, and we ordered randonneuers from Ellis Briggs in Shipley because Doug Fattic had recommended them to us. I had spent the precending season (2007) taking notes after each ride and thinking about the machines, and Andy at EB got them just right. We have enjoyed them hugely ever since finishing them in 2009.

Why now?

Of course I´d be able to carry on with the bikes I´ve got. But, shortly after I had started riding the EB, Jan Heine´s influence had grown important enough to re-popularize 650B wheeled bicycles. (Which reminds me, BTW, that I have to take out another subscription of BQ.) At first it wasn´t clear if 650B was a fad or if it would last, but from the start it was clear that 23 mil wide tires are tougher to ride than 42 mil ones, and my back hasn´t been very kind to me, or vice versa, I don´t know, so this summer my decision grew that I had to have a 650B bike. I had played with the thought for some time, but now, due to my job situation and other things, I also felt I could do with a reward for some very hard work which had kept me out of the saddle for the whole season.

Also, there is this factor that my EB randonneur is not replaceable now. When Andy was still around, we could always send a damaged frame to Shipley (as we did twice) and we could count on the repair being perfect. Paul of course also is a great framebuilder as I have heard, but Andy has passed away, so I feel that I should give my EB a less hard time. I now treat it less than a bike but more as a monument to the marvellous craftsman who built it. That´s not just talk; after nearly 40 years of cycling I have recently for the first time crashed and damaged a frame. Nothing spectacular, but still.

What sort of bike?

I decided to get a 650B shod road bike, all the rage now in the US, it seems. The French would have called it a sportif in former times. No lights, no mudguards yet, but clearance for all eventualities, just a decaleur in front. The funny coincidence that triggered that decision was that an acquaintance of mine who does house clearances offered me an old beat Trek 2300 road bike dirt cheap, and I quite came to like it because it´s much livelier than the EB, more lightweight and far easier to transport in a car too. It is a bit small for me, but hols in France and Belgium using it were very enjoyable. So the bike that was used as a working basis to start from actually was alloy framed with a carbon fork and Shimano Ultegra parts. Who´d have thunk.

How far has it progressed?

Well, given the fact that a frame builder has been found, lots of decisions about the frame have been taken, and a number of spares have already found their ways to my box, I think the bike has progressed quite far, but of course there is nothing to view at the moment besides a few documents and said box.

Also I have decided to get a friction shifted bike once more, for that I found Suntour bar ends and a pair of threaded Phil hubs in my box. Also there´s a 27.2 Campag seat post, a Regina block of sprockets, and outside the box there are already a bar and a pair of wide non-Ergo Campag brake levers. In the plastic bag there is a set of very nice CLB cantis.

Also due to the great kindness of a fellow Classicrendezvous member a 1st gen Suntour GT rear derailleur and a Vx front have arrived, so that the Shimano in the box now will be replaced by something much more stylish and historical. Oh yes, some Stronglight 100 lx cranks are also somewhere outside the pic. Also I will not be able to withstand cracking an all but invisible joke: I hope to use a Phil bottom bracket bearing together with the hubs.

Who will be the frame builder?

That question actually didn´t really pose itself; I didn´t shop round or send off long enquiring emails to all corners of the world, I asked Marten Gerritsen because over the last few years my fascination with his work has grown and I found the thought of riding an M-Gineering frame intriguing.

I spent a very enjoyable afternoon with Marten, not only talking bike and filling in forms, measuring and taking decisons, but also being invited to dinner and going for a cycleride too, during which Marten watched my cycling habits, which to him, the former race team mechanic, will have looked very amateurish I´m sure. The whole experience was very enjoyable and I felt taken very serious. Also I hit the limits of my Dutch which I found a bit embarrassing.

Now dig this: My beloved EB randonneur frame on which I have spent more than 40.000 happy kilometers and which fits me like a glove was built by a man who, when asked what features he, from his own cycling experience, could recommend additionally, just answered in a Yorkshire accent “I don´t ride a bike”.

Marten has since emailed a very detailed and professional sheet on which all angles, lengths and other measurements are mentioned.


Further developments?

I´ll keep you posted.

Neerkant Revisited – Randonneurs

It might not have escaped your attention that I have a predilection for randonneurs. To me they seem to be the pinnacle of cycle construction, uniting light weight, practicability, comfort and a high degree of individuality. Also you need a very good Constructeur to build you that lightweight bike which incorporates a great number of custom made peripheral structures such as décaleurs, racks, lighting installation, brake cable stops, mudguard eyes and clearance, and what not. After all, even if you don´t go for PBP, the average (or below average, like me) rider wants a bike which will help him or her to attain the longest possible ride distance with the least discomfort. Add to that personal touches like special lugs, and there you are: Not to be surpassed.


So, about eight years ago (yes, it´s that long ago), I was lucky enough to have a custom made randonneur made for me by Ellis Briggs in Shipley (see Work in Progress post). At the time I thought one would see a big renaissance of steel framed, constructeur made randonneurs, but it seems I was mistaken, so whenever I see one, I have a good look, as in this year´s spring Stalen Ros meet. The first bike I found to be quite nice was a US made bike, a Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen – strange name, great bike. In theory I was familiar with the brand, I had read a number of Rivendell Readers, even before Grant Petersen and Jan Heine fell out over rolling resistance of tires,

so I knew that they made nice lugs

and artsy headbadges, too. I used to say that I only wanted to ride bikes with metal headbadges, but I wonder if that can be continued nowadays. Anyway, Rivendell Bike Works still have them:

And here´s the bike in full:

Some nice details:

Personally, I´m not so sure about asymmetrical lugs, but that´s a matter of taste, I assume, as long as certain limits are not exceeded. I just love the lugged extension, that´s true, although my taste for fantasy literature is underdeveloped.


There was another really wonderful bike, hard to be photographed, sorry to say, so there´s just a few snaps. Based on an elderly Batavus frame, the rider had made a great long distance bike, changing tire size to 650B on the way, and incorporating such features as remotely controlled directional lighting, reminding me of the 2nd series Citroen D-models.


So the former down tube gear lever is now attached to the brake lever body and actuates the Edelux swivel mech. Great stuff.

Lastly for today, these two nice touches:

Open Monument Day 2017 – Bielefeld Racetrack

Unexpected experiences often are the most interesting ones.

I had planned to visit the 2017 edition of the open day at the Bielefeld/Germany cycle track on Sunday, Sept. 10, expecting to witness some exhibition racing by stayers, but when I arrived at the scene, I already could hear that something unusual was going on. So through the tunnel, and into the track oval inner field.

Parallel to the cycling part of the open day there was a meeting of people foolish enough to risk not only their lives, but also their wonderful motorbikes on the track. This is possible because Bielefeld was built for stayer racing in the 50s, and so can stand the stress exerted on the track by heavy and speeding motorbikes. On the Saturday there had been heavy rainfall, so that no fun could be had by the motorbike people, who had been allowed to take the exhibition racing over on the Sunday – some of them had travelled for 1.000 kms to ride their bikes on a track, so who could have refused them?

There were some weird and wonderful bikes assembled inside the track oval, a 1929 NSU racer for example,

or a recently finished re-creation of a JAP engined track racer,

but the stars of the show on the track were the fast and hard ridden Harley Flathead WL model conversions. Strictly speaking hardly any of the motorbikes present were actual track racers, but boy did they let fly, never mind knobbly tires or other un-track-like additions.

Riders actually developed some racing ambitions and up to four serious contenders were on the track at a time. One thing bikes did not have were exhausts worth mentioning, so the warm, low key noise of the Harleys, the NSU or the JAP was contrasted by the sharp sound of a sixties Honda.

In the bends, the low pressure, large diameter tires of some bikes were visibly compressed by the G forces exerted on them at speeds of up to 100 kph.

Of course, there also were cycle related activities. Old films about the track were shown, and Christian Dippel, one of the last great pacemakers, explained some tricks of his trade at the small exhibition of cycles and motorbikes.

Outside the track proper, there was tent in which visitors could partake of cake and other delicacies, and the tent also harboured a small collection of very nice, but hard to photograph racing bicycles.

A short ride for people on old racing bicycles had also been scheduled, and one bike in it, a fully original Bianchi Specialissima, was ridden by it first owner who´d had it for quite exactly 50 years.

Soon it was time to return home, but first the beautiful weather had to be used for some photographs.

Nice Try

The other day a friend rang who had scored a Bickerton Portable MkII on the net and wanted to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Which should have made me think twice. However, being a fan of all bikes British, I went and bought it for a very moderate sum indeed. Which should have made me think twice over.

So, what about a Bickerton Portable? Checking things up on the net does not yield very substantial information, even the Wikipedia article is more than skinny. Made from alloy mostly. 10 kilos weight. Not bad.

Also, there´s a clip on youtube which shows Mr Bickerton himself arriving at a train station on one of his bikes at the same time as his train, he folds his bike down in a jiffy, and vanishes in the station, bike in hand, in time to catch his train. Great.

In the real world I had this heap lying in front of my garage and started to wonder.

Like that perhaps?


And where is this going to go?

I have seen long saddle posts in my time, being 6″6´tall, but the Bickerton one beats them all.

Just a few hours later: This is what I think it must be like.

And what does it ride like? After pumping up the age old brittle tires as hard as I dared, I took my fate into my hands. Here´s what the cockpit looks like when in flight:

Exactly my thoughts.

The bike is definitively not for fast, spirited riding. Just look at those handlebars, the unbelievable seat pin – it all adds up to a feeling which can only be described as impossibly wobbly. You´re good when the bike takes you within about 10 or 20 degrees of where you point it. Still more unbelievably, the machine sports two different wheel sizes,

the smaller one being in front and not exactly adding to anything even remotely reminding of a stable ride.

But I doubt anyone in the seventies (the Bickerton was launched in 1971 according to some sources) would have noted. Those days were the low point of the bicycle as such, the only category cycles would be classed in was price point, hardly any good bikes were to be had anyway, and the car reigned supreme. The Bickerton was expressly made as a supplement to the car (or the train), so I suppose it wasn´t seen as the insult to serious cyclists that it must be perceived as being today.

El Cheapo

And cheap it is, truth be told. Look at this dropout end. Squashed tubing, no strengthening inside, full stop.

Much was made in advertising from the fact that Mr Bickerton was an aircraft engineer – whatever that was supposed to mean. I guess I know now why I have an aversion to flying.

Chromed steel rims, cheap plated and plasic covered q/r levers everywhere, but a min insert marking as a saving grace.

Never heard of Ursuss with the double “S” – are they the Italian manufacturer of bike components who may have lost an S over the years?

Cheapest German brand of pedals, too, plus a front hub (and front dropout) in the same vein.

Also the chainset is the cheapest available given the large chainwheel size.

The funny axle nut is there to catch the rear dropout end when the bike is folded, I think. In the manual it´s not described very in-depth – there´s mention of pushing the folded down handlebars until the catch frees the wheels.

Also the construction as such is so very quirky, and definitively not made for prolonged serious use. Look at that brake bridge. Luckily my bike has a coaster brake, but just imagine a brake caliper hanging from it, and what it would do to the two small bolts attaching the bridge to the stays. Flexing is an understatement really.

Or look at this cable clip. It moves when you look at it.

Lastly the saddle, which according to some illustrations on the net could well be original.

The wrench ingeniously suspended from it was put there by the former owner who obviously hadn´t understood the folding mech and undid all the nuts everytime.

So how does it fold?

You have this funny lever which has a flat surface into which a hook hooks. The hook is attached to one half of the central square tube, the lever to the other.

You turn the lever to the left, the flat gives the hook a little play…

… which allows it to be swung out…

.. and the Bickerton becomes a folding bike. It has a hinge…

by the shape of which the bike can be indentified as a Mk II, BTW, and which is fixed to the tube by bolts, as is everything else. Bickerton prided himself by saying that he didn´t use a single weld on his bike.

The tube doesn´t just consist of two empty halves, but the screwheads in the two faces of the folded frame insert themselves into the oposite face´s holes, giving at least some little strength to the construction.

But the quirkiness goes on.

One of the pedals must be removed in transit, so in order to facilitate removal it can be blocked with the help of a small plate, showing clearly that the pedals must be original:

Now it´s free…

… and now it´s blocked and can be unsrewed. When the bike is in transit, the pedal lives in the hole in the square main tube behind the seat tube, where, BTW, it sits very losely and to my mind is lost easily.

It says in the manual not to forget to un-block the pedal when the bike is assembled, else the pedal is unscrewed when in use, but I´m not sure if the whole contraption would make today´s health and safety people happy. Also it says in the manual that the pedal doesn´t need to be screwed in the crank eye very tightly – I think that is so tell-tale with regards to what sort of use the Bickerton was meant for.

One more major headache is the complicated system of catches, safety tubes and springs which makes up the extension. (Note how the headset is plastic…)

So once you have progressed this far, the handlebars must be folded down. Mr. Bickerton did invent a device that made folding during a ride impossible, but it´s also quite impossibly complicated to use when operating the folding mechanism.

Got it? No?


Let´s turn it round

Now the Bickerton from below.

I really hope that the small bolt isn´t the only thing holding the b/b shell, but I wouldn´t be surprised if it were. Anyway the big hole is where the seat tube is attached.

This nice little plate sits on the underside of the square main tube right behind the steering head. Could anyone please explain how this bike came to be made in Australia? No mention of it I could find on the net. There´s another, different Australian plate on bickertonbicyclespares dot co dot UK (which site I am very much indebted to for much info in this blogpost), but no explanation is given as to where Bickertons were really built.

What else?

I´m quite certain that mine was made for the German market, what with the dynamo lighting and the Shimano 3CC coaster hub,

yes, the one with the cranked mech for which others just used a toggle chain,

because people here love their coaster brakes. But then, all of these items could have been retrofitted, of course.

When getting the bike a few days ago, I also was attracted to it because the whole drive train on my bike is like new, chain, sprocket, alloy chainwheel – what does that tell us?

Yes, you´re right. Think twice. But then again, every cyclist who owns bespoke or other great bikes should have a Bickerton just to remind him or her every now and then of how lucky they are.

Not getting rid of mine in a hurry.

Bikes vs. Motors

Not wanting to make too much of it, but still I can´t help thinking sometimes that bikes and motorized transport have unequally distributed values assigned to them by the makers of record covers.

I´ve already had some bike covers on this blog. Most of them showed cheap or shoddy bicycles, while cars or motorbikes seem to receive a completely different treatment.

Here´s some more examples:

Herman van Veen, who actually is Dutch, and who really should know better than to depict a completely impossible bike. Just look at the steering head.

Ok, Ray Coniff is American – so I guess he must be forgiven for endangering a child. And for running a tandem without a front brake.

Angelo Branduardi, Italian, chose the cheapest bike components around in 1980, or, in fact, ever.

The get fit parade on this record has had an illustrator who definitively didn´t get fit on a bike. Even track bikes have the chain on the other side.

And now look at the motorbikes:

Here´s some Australians who knew what a good motorbike is.

Another great British bike chosen here – is it a Triumph?

And the cars, likewise in the focus of attention:

Skandinavians (Norwegians), so I guess a pun or two about Volvos is in order. The second pic is from inside the gatefold cover. Actually, these people make good prog music.

More Volvo, a Seine Maritime registered Amazon in this case. Little Bob Story hail from the area, Le Havre, so it all works out.

Slint seem to be great Saab fans. Again the car is in the focus, well pictured, and the label also is great.

Please, can´t anyone produce a good cover design on bicycles? Or maybe there is one I´m unaware of?


Later: Yes, there is. A reader vastly more knowledgable than me in all things rock music has written in to say that Guns N Roses´ Chinese Democracy has a bike on its cover which actually looks like one. Trust Guns N Roses to get it right, and thanks, Nikki!

Inside Gazelle

In an earlier post I described what it was like to be in the big meet and retrofestival Gazelle staged on June 10. During that event it was possible to walk through some of their production facilities, like stores, production line and the paintshop. I took some photos, some not overly in focus because light was low in some spots, and Gazelle were kind enough to permit posting (cheers, Paula!).

I have just adored Gazelle bikes ever since the early eighties when I started wrenching, on a small scale, but nevertheless to earn money, and I found that you need to punish a Gazelle very severly to make it impractical to repair. Clever solutions for common problems (drum brakes and chaincases that insure full functionality of the bike in severe weather conditions, yet can be accessed easily, for instance) have always made Gazelle bikes a favourite of mine if it comes to repairs. Then the eighties and nineties bikes with their stainless nuts, bolts, and handlebars, extremely well built wheels, early adoption of high quality lighting equipment – the list is long.

Not to say that Sparta, Union, and what else there was, weren´t good bikes, but in my opinion Gazelle always had the edge. And, of course, there were those wonderful road and track bikes, but that´s what the earlier post is about.

And there I was, in the heart of it all.

I don´t think much comment is necessary, so let´s more or less speak the pics for themselves.

I personally found the sheer volume of bikes overpowering, but then I´m not too often inside mass producers´ plants.

It seems that no production these days can do without pep talk for the workers, if it makes sense or not. BTW, Gazelle is in Dieren, which is in the Netherlands, not in the US.

Some older parts of the works cleverly integrated into more modern buildings.

Maguras – very tasty.

Of course, you daft computer – it´s a Saturday.

Items to be returned as defective.

Attention to detail – not only in the bikes, but also in production failities.

Oh well…

The last two pics are taken in the paintshop – all powdercoating, of course.