Category Archives: Tidbits

Time Flies

On April 29, it was Stalen Ros time again, one more year over. So we went to Deurne again, second time already that the event hasn´t taken place in Neerkant anymore, and had a great time. Many visitors, much metal to see, a few bits to buy – as I said before, the quality of the items offered for sale in the numerous stalls isn´t exactly increasing.

Still, many visitors came.

The organisers had requested people who brought expo bikes to have a special focus on RIH, the Amsterdam builder and one of Holland´most famous ones, so there ways a huge number of unusual bikes by that brand to be seen.

Great stuff.

Bicloun from Paris had a really rather special bicycle for sale, a Dilecta showing most features of a good tourer, but equipped with a cheaper version of the Osgear Super Champion derailleur – very unusual also the top tube gear lever which has the cable exit at a 90 degree angle. Else, nice brazing everywhere, and a super original condition, even the alloy cap of the Osgear tension arm spring is still present. However, the little cage that circles the chain under the tension arm roller to keep the roller on the chain in rough riding is not.

Here´s a few uncommented photos to show the high quality of this mid-range bike. I´m lucky enough to own a four speed pro version of that derailleur, so I wasn´t tempted.

Two cars will also have to be mentioned here: One, my old Volvo who had a huge breakdown on the way back home (con rod failure at 3.500 rpm and 466.000 kms; going from super smooth sailing on the motorway to clanking horror in less that 20 seconds),

here parked next to a Dutch registered 940, and this beauty, a team car based on a Citroen CX 2nd series Break, just look at it. Dream car, I´d say.

So until next month hopefully. Coming to Holten on June 3, anyone?

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Just a Few Photos This Month

This month´s post is about me. Having written about so many other people, bicycles, books and what have you, it´s my turn now.

You might remember posts about century rides, about rides to meets, and so on – no such luck today. Today, however, marks a special day as it was the first time in 18 months that I sat on a road bike, and literally. A spate of phases marked by utter work overload, an accident damaging my foot, infections (for instance the genuine flu) and other illnesses (among them a recent one leading to me losing 8 kgs of body weight in three weeks) has kept me off the bike for that long. Not nice.

Now that things seem to possibly look up again (touch wood) I´ve tried very slowly to get myself re-accustomed to cycling, which is bloody hard work. In the past weeks I went out on the bike whenever the opportunity opened itself, and I was out quite a bit.

Starting out from our small town

I cycled over hills, from the distance looking at a nearby ice cream cone factory (not joking here),

and also a few trees,

and old houses.

I rode over canal bridges

and even overtook a Harley on the way.

I first used my trusty, sturdy Rohloff equipped KFS.

Today I upgraded to one of the best road bikes I so far have had the pleasure to own, my NR equipped RIH:

But would you believe that I´m still walking hills I didn´t even notice were there two years ago? Or that I wasn´t half as tired two years ago after a day of 150+kms on a heavy, 1956 Miele roadster, resplendent with a three speed hub, than I was today after 45kms (taking nearly THREE hours) on the RIH?

Will I ever get back to the shape I was in two years ago, I wonder, or will the 56 year old fart that I am have to be content with walking shallow inclines? Looks like the latter right now.

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.

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!

London…

… is full of bikes now, really.

blogtouristsTourists borrow them,

blograiling bloglockall sorts of railings are adorned with them,

blogcanarywthey´re tucked away in the most impossible places even in Canary Wharf.

Fixie riders zoom past that quickly that you´ve hardly got a chance to snap one. Balconies are also used to store them in an age old attempt to secure them.

Also the Powers That Be have taken note:

blogdismount

Half a Post

Yes, I´m still here.

After a rather un-satisfying summer, there´s not much to report – I missed nearly all of the interesting meets and rides this year, for reasons of overwork, bad luck with double booked weekends, and also a few instances of sickness.

I feel a bit like the cyclist on this record cover:

SAM_6623

Yes, there is one. Look at the bottom left hand corner:

SAM_6624The front wheel of his bike is just visible, but he´s been relegated to the rear:

SAM_6622Turning the record over, there he is, looking none to pleased to have been left off the front cover. His bike is quite OK, equipped with what looks like Suntour gear and a Turbo saddle. And look at his Cinelli socks!

Let me add that Eros Ramazotti isn´t exactly the music I usually listen to, but the cycle on the cover affords at least some optical attraction.

As far as I´m concerned, I´m hoping for a better 2016 cycling season. Until then, and unless I can find the time and an occasion, I guess I´ll prolong my blogging break.

 

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.

SAM_6223

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?

Will This Work?

After a fortnight of not blogging, and no end in view of being sidetracked, here´s at least a small tidbit.

There´s loads of pictures of bicycles in children´s books or on other children´s media which really are no illustrations, but abominations and insults of young people´s perception of the world and their technical understanding. I can very well remember as a child thinking, when confronted with similar illustrations, will this really work?

Here´s one particularly strange specimen:

SAM_5137It´s on the sleeve of a 10″ double album of A.S. Pushkin´s fairy tales called “Recordings for Children”, issued in 800 copies in 1981, costing 2.10 Roubles, at the time no mean sum for people on average incomes.

SAM_5139SAM_5138

Back to the bike pic: Look at the front fork, twisted and rigidly attached to the frame, the non-existant connection of the rear wheel to the rest of the bike, fittingly hidden by the leaf which must be there for the reason that the creator of the illustration probably did not know what a bike really looked like. As an excuse it must be said that in the Soviet Union there were few more unpopular pastimes than cycling.

Still…

Amazing Figures

When receiving the annual statistics the other day I thought I´d fall over backwards: Last year servers from 97 different countries tried to get at starostneradost contents. My guess is that in this day and age of encrypting and other still more cryptic things going on on the net, not all of these countries will actually have detailed readers to check on my blog, but even if there´s only people from 50 countries who were honestly interested in what I´m doing I´d be very pleased. The countries with the most readers were Germany, the US and the UK, in this order.

Bildschirmfoto 2014-12-31 um 21.56.03

My posts were viewed 19.000 times in all in 2014, which I consider to be one more amazing figure. Sure, Sinéad O´Connor´s “Nothing Compares to You” – video on youtube has had more than 123 million clicks, but then again I´m not (yet) quite as bald as her, so it´s OK. I´m content with any figures as long as at least some of you are with what I´m doing.

Until recently I thought that whenever I hit the “publish” button, at least my followers would receive and read what I´d written, but it seems that most of them are spammers – which wordpress doesn´t allow to remove from the list. It´s very strange that whenever I publish a book review there´s at least a couple new followers, none of which has an interest in bikes visible at the surface, but all of which have either books to sell or advice to give on how to write or to sell them.

So, a happy new year to all readers, visitors, followers and spammers alike, and I hope to be able to carry on blogging in a way which won´t waste your time. And hopefully see you on April 19.

A Penny What?

I hope I won´t be chastised too badly for admitting that I never liked Penny Farthings, or Ordinaries, or High Wheelers, or whatever you´d like to call them. Still, it seems I have one in my collection now:

PFrecord

And digging a bit deeper in my boxes, I found this one, too:

PFpfI like the cheeky little wren on the farthing, but the difference in size between the two coins isn´t too impressive.

However, did you know that at least in the thirties, the farthing wasn´t actually the smallest diameter coin in the UK?

PFp3pThe threepence was still smaller. So should it really have been the Penny Threepence? Sounds funny.

Now look at this:

PFflwptThere´s a coin like token which is valued at a penny, issued by the Flint Lead Works in 1813, when coinage was scarce (I was told). Not surprisingly, the token is made from lead. What looks like a deranged carnival procession are the sorry remains of the Flint Lead Works buildings, after much biting and gambling by previous owners.

PFpptThe penny token is still larger than a real penny from the thirties.

PFpt3pShould it be a Penny Token Threepence instead of a Penny Farthing? Size-wise we´re getting places, but the sound of the word doesn´t bear thinking about.

Now you know why I never really liked Ordinaries.