A sunny afternoon with Rex

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon here in Stockholm. Why not bring out a bicycle and take a trip around, enjoying the weather and cruise down the roads. Today I decided that it was the Rex Duplex tandem bicycle that was going to be used. Why not, after all. I have not used it so much since I made the renovation.

It is not in good shape, the paint is worn and the rear hub is close to being a write off. But with the parts I got to it a while back, it now looks like it was updated back then. The ornament on the front mudguard. It is not the original Rex lion, but a cool arrow. The front light and dynamo, handlebars grips and worn Brook saddles. It look used in a good way.

How about the handling? Well, it sure feels that the rear hub is totally worn. Breaks? The bicycle breaks like it turns. Like a battle ship in heavy sea. It takes time, when riding it you really need to plan ahead. The front break are only there for decoration! It only got 5% breaking!  Now the break handle is useless for anything except hurting your self. There are sharp corners and badly fitted parts in the handle. So my thought is that, since the break is useless in any case. Why not use the leaver I found on an different bicycle and use it as an “parking” break. A simple on-off lever. That would make more sense rather than having a front breaking handle that never works. I will sort that one out.

Starting and stopping is a thing that comes after a few trials. The simplest way so far I found out is that the front rider mounts first. Then the rear rider mounts, makes redy by putting a foot on the driving pedal, then pushes on and the bicycle starts moving the front rider starts to pedal too and there we go. Stopping is simplest by having one foot on the ground, the rear riders dismounts then the front rider dismounts. With some practice it get to be a good routine.

Going up hills are rough, but you can really get the bicycle going when two people pushes hard. The we have the adventure of going down hill. Well, let me put it like this, speed is not a problem. The breaks are!

But it is fun, people look and smiles. It is an eye catcher. About the Bike in Tweed event. There has been some updates and possible changes. Stay tuned. I will make a full report on that event with photos and lots of information later on.

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Modern lights on a old bicycle

Once again I went out in the night for a ride with my old bicycle. It is a soothing feeling, just to ride around in the summer night. Feeling the cool wind in the face and listen to the sound of the nature. Now and then you can meet another bicyclist on the paths around the city. But they often got those 20 geared monster bicycles that you lean forward on while riding. So they got no time to enjoy the suroundings. For me, well I sit upright and just pedals along in a calm fashion. No need to press on or ride fast. I look around, enjoying the moment. No need to rush.

The important thing is when riding a bicycle in the night is to have lights, both front and rear. It is among other things a law to ahve lights when riding at night time.  The Hermes bicycle got the original Robo dynamo and front light from 1950’s. Sadly they have not been used since the 1970’s, so the dynamo is more or less dead nowdays. But they are a part of the bicycle and belongs there as part of the original conditon. Also they add to the look of an old bicycle.

Earlier this year I went by a shop, you know the ones of those shops that got millions of small electronic gadgets. There I bought a set of diode lamps for bicycles. It was the kind that are mounted on the handlebars with a small rubber band that you thread around the handlebar and hooks on to the light it self. Great product, easy to use! One press on the button and the light is one, two presses the light blinks, three presses you switch of the light. Easy and practical. Of course they are not as good as the headlights on a car. But they show the position of you and they shine a light for about 2-3 meters in front of the bicycle. I guess I paid about 7 Euro for the set. I think it was a good investment, for saftey and  I can be seen by others. Also see some things in the darkness (to some extend).

Since the diode-light set is so small, both lamps fits easily in the small tool box that is mounted underneath the luggage rack. Perhaps I have mentioned it before, but the Hermes bicycle from 1955 is the top of the line regarding small details in my opinion. For example, the toolbox locks when you lock and remove the key from the mounted lock on teh frame. I can have the lights with the bicycle all the time. When shopping or even more important, having a cup of tea, away from the bicycle. The lighst are always there, safe.

The “Bike in Tweed 2015″ event is getting closer. I think I better start to polish the old Hermes bicycle if I am going to use that one. Sadly the previous owner have painted the frame in rust-protection paint. But underneath the cranks there is a small patch of original paint. Once it was metallic red with with details. It sure was looking good when it was new. I am having a constant debate about I should have it repainted in original colour or leave it as it is. It got plenty of patina now, but it would been better if it never was repainted in the “brush and bucket of paint” method that was used by the old gentleman back in the days of old.

Replacing parts in general is easy. Beside, then I even could fix a new (original) dynamo that works.
But still, it looks good as it is. It is a used bicycle, made for using. Not a museum artefact.

I will keep it as is… Or should I…?

 

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Lack of updates

Dear reader!

I know it have been a lack of updates lately. There is no excuse for me not writing. But perhaps I can offer you some news as compensation?

There is now a date for the “Bike in Tweed 2015″ event! The date is set to September 19th. Soon they will start to accept registration for the participants. I will be there, that is sure. This year I waited to plan my vacation until after they released the date. I am looking forward to the event, meeting the other bicycle fanatics that also loves tweed. Perhaps saying hello to some of the people I meet there the last time. Who knows? Perhaps I even might see you there?

This year I am torn between two bicycles. Since the tandem we used the last time is now used by the owner and his wife. She got hooked on the entire bicycle and tweed idea. So that leaves me with two bicycles, the old brown Hermes one. It is a good working horse. Never fails, just keep on going. Then I also have the Pelago racer I build earlier. The advantage with the Hermes is that it got a luggage rack. I know that it is a great idea to bring tea, sandwiches and other bits and pieces in a bag since it is going to be a long day. Bringing things are difficult on the Pelago racer.

Then we have the clothes. With the racer I need to turn up the trousers since It has no chain guard. The Hermes is more a commuter bicycle, simply hop on and ride away. The sad thing with that one is that is in a worn condition, so it is not as a eye catcher as the Pelago racer. Also I need to mend the stand. It is crooked and all rusty, the spring has already broken while using it. Then perhaps I will think of a use for the extra adjustable leaver I found and mounted the handlebars. But it is a long way to September. I will think of something.

Before the Bike in Tweed event comes the summer. I will start my photo project with the Pelago racer. Let us hope that It will work out fine. I will write about any updates about that project here if you like?

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Tweed, haggis and bicycles

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. DSCF7166_sch

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Tweed and bicycles

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

Parts  Brand Price S/H Total
 Break (front) Cavo, bought at an auction  12  6  18
Grips NOS from -50’s 15 4 19
Grease Mirum 8 8
Frame Pelago Bristol “classic” 275 25 300
Pedals Sylvan Touring Silver 35 35
Saddle Ideale 80 42 6 48
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)
 Total, 669€

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