We went to Scotland, the lowlands and Edinburgh was our destination. A few days in April filled with tweed, bicycles, haggis and drinks. You always hear about rainy Scotland and the cold weather. But for us this time, it was like any sun vacation around the Mediterranean sea. Sunny, warm and very nice weather. The days was focused on tweed safari, visiting Harris Tweed shops, Walker Slater, woollen mill outlets. Observing ladies and gentlemen using tweed as everyday cloths. We were amazed by the natural way so many used tweed jackets, suits, coats, skirts, scarfs, hats and caps. They where not going by the rules of the modern fashion icons. They all used their own mind to create a look that represents the person instead of being a follower of fashion. Just sitting outside in the sunshine at an pub located at Grass market, looking at the display of all people waling by was real treat. Almost as an cat walk. Sadly the weather forcast told us that it would be rainy and cold upon arrival. So I decided not to use my own Harris Tweed. That was a bad mistake. Since the spring had arrived, the birds was singing and trees was blooming. A tweed jacket had been the right choice! Edinburgh is a town build upon hills. Streets, stairs, up and down. Having a tea in Princess street gardens, a glass of locally brewed ale at Tollbooth tavern on Canongate or trying a small Whiskey at an pub on Cowgate. A nice town with lots of atmosphere and things to see, parks to visit and steep streets to walk. There were bicycles to, the regular ones. But there were some interesting ones standing here and there. Among others there was a display outside a coffee shop. British roadster, all original with rear coil springs and a front loop leather seat. Rod brakes and a delivery carrier mounted in the front. Then we had the rat bicycle, fat tires, a Sögreni style chain guard. Down turned handlebars. But many bicycles we noticed was used as commercial. The best example was of the rusty worn old racer that was commercial for a repair centre where then learn you how to repair things (sadly not bicycles, more furnitures). What about the food? Haggis, the traditional dish. It is served everywhere. Traditional with “neeps and tatties” or with breakfast along the sausages, beans, tomatoes and eggs. Why not try it as a burger? There is all kinds of serving haggis. We found one place that served the haggis burger with the option of sausages on top. That was a bit to much for us. We settled with “bangers and mash”, fish and chips or one of all pies. But the Scotch egg is a real treat! So strange, but so perfect. It is an hard boiled egg placed inside a layer of sausage meat, then coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried. Absolutely delicious! Now I must make some Scotch eggs for the Bike in Tweed event. In short, it was a good visit. It was 4 years since last visit to the Great Britain, but my first visit in Scotland. Will I return? Tweed, haggis and bicycles? Of course! But the next time I will use my tweed jacket.
Posted by schneebremse on April 18, 2015
The theme for 2015 will be tweed and bicycles.
First up is the result of a long time of designing, thinking and putting together a sort of retro/vintage/classic-looking bicycle. It is made of different part from different brands. But the main part is the frame and that ids made by Pelago in Helsinki, so I guess that makes it an Pelago racer. It turned out really nice, the black paint, chrome parts and gold details. I have mentioned it earlier in many different posts. But now it is finished and been out for a test run. The fist impressions are that is is a quick and light weight bicycle. There are some small issues that needs to be adjusted, bolts to be tightened, adjusting the chain and raising saddle and handlebars.
But first, tweed! Later this summer there is a visit to Edinburgh planned for me and a friend. While we are there we will eat haggis, drink beer (perhaps a small whiskey to) and see the town. But more interesting and tweed related, we will take a train ride up to the highlands to look for Harris Tweed cloths. Perhaps I will buy a suit or at least a pair of trousers and a waistcoat that matches the jacket I already got. Then a lunch at the local pub. It will be an interesting journey, I guess there will be a post about the travel to be found later on here on Schneebremse blogg. Complete with images and describing photos of the scenery.
Why this obsession with Harris Tweed? Well that is a difficult question. But the short and simple answer might be that tweed is a classic, durable, great looking cloth. Also the brown Harris Tweed in herringbone pattern coat I got from my father when I was a teenager. He bought the coat at Nordiska Kompaniet in Stockholm in the mid -60’s. He used it back then, but later on it ended up in an closet. When I got it in my teens, the fashion was a bit different. Everyone was using leg warmers and pink slacks or leather jackets with studs. But I used to walk around dressed in suit trousers, white shirt, dark tie and a tweed coat. Of course I had a black umbrella with a bamboo handle when it was raining. Mind you, this was in the mid -80’s. I guess I was rather along looking odd, dressed like that (sadly no photos exists from that era). But I liked it. It was long before it became “hip” or “cool” to dress like that. After all, one of my biggest heroes at the time was Harry Palmer.
By unfortunate events I lost the coat but before that I got different tweed jacket from different brand. It was in a dogtooth pattern, almost in a black and white “op” pattern style with a lovely ox blood red lining. I used the jacket so much that it literally was falling to pieces many years later. By then I bought a three piece suite in a red-brown herringbone pattern, yellow lined, Donegal Tweed from Ireland. I used it a few times, but never got around to really enjoy it since it was slightly to small.
After that I went back to the Harris Tweed brand by buying a “stock” pre-made jacket in grey herringbone pattern. Now I had found my way back, it feels just right. Perfect fit and the nice contact with the retailer made the jacket a really good purchase.
It all starts and ends with Harris Tweed from the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.
So travelling with train to the Scottish highlands in tweed, buying more tweed is either pure madness, or it can turn out to be a great event and a lovely experience.
Back to the bicycle for a moment. The idea was to replicate an 1930’s path racer bicycle. The style of the turned down handlebars, clean design and “less is more” attitude. I think I got it right, it do not look like any other bicycle on the market today. Not like this. I think I got it right.
Let us go straight to the facts about the new bicycle. Here is an approximately price what I paid for all parts. There might be errors all over, so see it as a rough guide and not as an exact list. I was not aiming for the cheep parts, I just bought the ones that I wanted and had the best design in my opinion. The parts was bought over a long period of time. In the end the total price is about 670 Euro, but I like to adjust it up to 700 just to be safe. It feels more accurate that way.
After it being completed, the weight are 14.3 kilos.
Bike in Tweed 2015, here we go
|Break (front)||Cavo, bought at an auction||12||6||18|
|Grips||NOS from -50’s||15||4||19|
|Frame||Pelago Bristol “classic”||275||25||300|
|Pedals||Sylvan Touring Silver||35||35|
|Handlebar||NOS from -50’s||7||4||11|
|Cranks||(no name from Australia)||15||6||21|
|Stem||NOS from -70’s||10||4||14|
|Chain||Classic cycle (gold)||18||17||35|
|Saddle post||n/a||Bought from a friend, 160|
|Tires / tubes||Swalbe Delta cruiser||(same as above)|
|Wheels / hubs||Van Schothorst / Shimano||(same as above)|
Posted by schneebremse on March 12, 2015
Well, I am afraid that I will spoil the big surprise by posting this.
As you know there are one project that I have been working on for a long time. Many other projects has crossed my way since I started searching for parts to my “project”. But now, at last it is finally complete. You might know after reading and following my blog that I, for a long time had an vision to have a old bicycle. But since old bicycles often are in need of constant service, and even sometimes are rare and expensive (I know since I have vintage bicycles too). That made me look for all sorts of modern bicycle brands and models. I realized quickly that modern ones did not quite cut the mustard for me in either design, style or”feel”. After a long search on internet I found that the Finnish made Pelago bicycles was the ones I was looking for. More specific the model the calls “Bristol”. It is a classical looking bicycle in a roadster style, black colour, nice details in lugs and frame work, simple but still vintage looking. While I was looking around and searching I noticed the Pashely Guvnor and was hooked right away by the design of the “path racer” from the -30’s. I started to think how the Guvnor was made, designed and found out that it was just a regular frame slightly changed and modified, but was still keeping the standard look.
I could not stop thinking of the great style of the Path racers and the way Pashely made the Govnor.
After a while I decided to simply build one myself. I just needed a good frame to start with. I started more and more to like the look of an path racer with the turned down handlebars, no mud guards, no chain guard. A really fast looking one, but made with vintage parts. I decided to give it a go and that I would go all the way with this one. It was going to be 100% perfect in my taste. I had time on my hands so there was no rush. The deadline was set so I could enter the Bike in Tweed event for 2014. The Pashely Guvnor was a great inspiration in all the process. But I wanted something different. Something in a more “less is more” style or simply in “my” style. But sadly I could not attend the 2014 event. So everything was put on ice for a moment.
After listening and talking to people I found out that there was going to be an 2015 event of Bike in Tweed. Then I suddenly got about a year to build and finish it to the 2015 event. That became my new goal!
Last summer I visited Pelago while I was on vacation in Helsinki. They was very kind and helped me out with the frame, I also bought the pedals at the Pelago shop (so to be honest the bicycle started out as a pair of pedals). I later bought front and back wheels from a friend that had a set of brand new wheels in spare, he also had an seat post that fitted the Pelago frame that I bought. The saddle, the complete front break system, handlebars and the grips was found on internet auctions.
The stem was an adventure by it self. I found a special made one in United Kingdom that I bought. But that one did not fit the look at all, so I found a old one I had in a locker down in the cellar. That one fitted like a charm. The bell comes from UK and has a lovely tone. I found the crank set in Australia, the chain are from Germany, so are the tires and tubes.
It is an truly international bicycle. But in a European style, perhaps even a Nordic style. So I collected parts for about 6 months for this bicycle, time was not an issue. I had more than a year to get it ready.
Now it is done!
I will present the bicycle better as soon as the winter turns in to spring and the weather is nicer. It is a user bicycle, but I like to take good photos in good conditions. But for now, here is a photo from the hallway. I will also present all the bicycles. It is getting rather confusing now with all projects. At least it is confusing for me.
Posted by schneebremse on February 27, 2015