The Pelago Path Racer

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.


Happening in white

Today when I was down in the basement, searching for some old books I had in storage there. While I was there I took a look at the old Monark bicycle that I re-build earlier a few months ago. The one that was going to be the “silver arrow racer”. That I was going to build but never got around to do it. I had to move the white Monark out of the way to access the drawer with all the books. When I was going to put the bicycle back I got the idea of checking out the air in the tires. I remember the seller telling me that the bicycle needed new tires and tubes since there was no air in them. But after filling the tubes with air at the time of the re-build earlier. It was still air in the tubes today! The ires are bad, but that has to do with that they are rather inexpensive. But they do their job. Then I got a silly idea.
Why not try the Monark out, just to see if all parts are in place and works as they should.

I brought it out on to the street and looked at it in the sunlight. Well, to be honest. It is a bit scruffy and dirty. But it sure is a looker. There is a certain “cool” look about the old bicycle. If it was a car it would perhaps be called a sleeper. Beaten up, but a real racer underneath. First I started by putting my right trouser leg inside of my sock. We used to do back when I was a kid. After all, I have no chain guard, so a trouser leg fluttering in the wind might be problems waiting to happen. So with my trousers securely tucked in my sock I mounted the bicycle and put the right foot on the pedal and pushed away.

I need to mention that the streets here are now covered with a layer of snow and ice. Also the tires on the Monark is old, inexpensive summer tires. The first thing that happened was that the rear wheel started to spin when I pushed away, no traction at all. But with some technique and routine from the youth when I was riding bicycles all year around I quickly got some speed. The ride felt really nice, a but bit unusual  for me with the low handlebar position. Last time I had a racer bicycle was about 24 years ago (that one was scrapped after a nasty fall in high speed). So it was a simple matter of adjusting the riding position for me, riding low, riding fast. The saddle is a bit worn, so I am thinking of replacing it with an Brooks saddle I have laying around. It could be great. It was fun to suddenly after so many years remember how to ride a bicycle in snow again. Skidding along the road with those cheep low profile tires, making rear wheel braking into a action filled event.

I am looking forward to this summer, I will ride the Monark often. Just for fun!
But I realized that I had completely forgotten about the headlight. I was planning to fix it so it did not need a dynamo to get the light going. I was thinking of building in a battery inside the headlight housing. It was a really cheep lamp so if it breaks, no big problem. But the Monark looks really great with that big head light mounted. So now in the winter it is a perfect time to try to solve that puzzle.

After trying the bicycle for a short time. I took a photo of it so I could write a new post for you readers. After all, it was a long time I wrote here. I am sorry for that. But it is winter here in Sweden. Snow and ice are not so great for bicycles. Let us be honest. It is more fun to ride along in the summer and to take photos with old cameras.

By the way, I heard a rumour earlier. It was one of the Bike In Tweed organisers that talked about the event this year. They are thinking of having it at the regular date, that is the  first (or second) weekend in October as it was before. That is just great! Let us all hope for great weather so all nice bicycles and owners will be there this year. See you there perhaps?



A ride in the snow

Today I took a ride on the Pelago that I have, the one with three gears. It was such a nice weather this morning. The sun was shining, only a few degrees below zero, birds was singing. A lovely day for sure! I took a ride to the place where I always take photos of my bicycles just for fun, adding a winter photo to the collection. I am leaning the bicycle against the same tree every time I am there and takes a photo. Just for fun. A sad note is that I will most likely sell the Pelago to a friend, he want to buy a good bicycle that will last him many years. He has currently an old Swedish army bicycle that he never uses. Because it is so heavy to use, with no gears and a frame that are made of solid iron (it feels like that anyway). The tires comes straight from an old tractor or somethi9ng like that. I mentioned to him that I have this black Pelago bicycle and I am not really to happy with the gearing (I am used to only one gear and finds 3 gears a bit to much, “less is more” so to speak). Perhaps I will take his army bicycle and fix it up to original condition. It would be a fun project. We will see how it all turns out.

As I was sliding along in the snow I was thinking of the fact that tomorrow is new years eve!
Then the year 2014 is over and we are entering 2015, a new year!

It feels strange in a way. After all, it was only a few weeks ago I mentioned “Bike in Tweed”, right? It can not be a whole year ago?! Anyway, a year ago I was going on about how I really wanted to be a part of the Bike in Tweed event next year (this year 2014). How I got an tandem bicycle and everything around that bicycle with my attempt to fix it up. Only so I could enter the tweed event. Then got other bicycles that I was also fixing up in time for the tweed event. But due to some odd planning I could never join the tweed event.
I remember the disappointment I felt when I realized that it all went down the drain with my planning.

But soon, really soon it will be 2015 and I will make a new attempt to join the tweed dressed people in a bicycle ride around Stockholm. This time I will not make any promises. But I can say that I will really try the hardest to be there next year!

Since of the renovating of “lady blue” last winter and the tandem bicycle this summer. I am currently having 2 more projects in the cellar that you have been reading about. It is the old Monark bicycle that I will build into a “ride-for-fun” bicycle. I will try to make it as good as possible, I realize that the style is not going to be typical like the 30-50’s era. But it will be a reliable racer with a very own style. Then I still have the Pelago frame with all parts that I have bought. I am trying to bring together to a retro path racer, also as you might have been reading about earlier. How that one will turn out, well that is a different question. All parts and so on is a quite a challenge to bring together. Or at least put it all together so it all fits in a good way.

I realize that I might have taken a chance with that project. But I will try to complete it as good as I can.  It will be an expensive and complicated learning experience. But fun! So far I have learned lots of things I did not know about bottom brackets and the different styles of taps, cranks and all those other things. Things you never think about when riding a new bicycle that you bought. Especially for me that in all times have been mending and fixing old bicycles that was made in the 40’s. The Pelago is brand new, using brand new components and techniques.


I hope both projects will be completed until the “Bike in Tweed” event in September 2015. Then I have 4 or even 5 bicycles hanging around. The question is what bicycle I ride, but also who will ride the others. I hope that the blond girl would like to ride “Lady blue”, she said it would be fun. But she needs a tweed dress, in a weak moment of confusion. I said that I would help her to find a dress. But I have no clue of where to find a vintage tweed dress in her size. Or in any size of that matter. I know where she can find new made dresses in tweed. But they are not so much vintage looking. I will try to persuade her.
For my own appearance I am thinking of buying a new tweed suit, since I gave away my old one. For me personally the brand is not an difficult option. For me there is only Harris Tweed. The cloth is made in the Outer Hebrides islands just north of Scotland. The cloth are woven by the weavers in their homes and the cloth is then sent to the tailors that also are located in Scotland. I am thinking of having a dark colour tweed suit this time since I am using a grey herringbone tweed jacket almost everyday,  it might be a good idea to change colour sometimes. Beside a dark suit is usable in so many different settings so I think it is a good investment. Not only a fun thing for use at an bicycle race around the city once a year. But it is representable at party’s and other social events. After all, tweed never gets old or out of style.

Back at work I have talked to a bunch of people about the Bike in Tweed event that they would like to join it to with their own vintage bicycles. It sure would be a real treat if we all could join and experience that day. If that happens I will post a photo of us here, along with an report from the day. Bicycles, tweed, tea and sandwiches. But I hope that 2015 will have more fun events with bicycles and also having nice picnics. Packing up an old spirit stove, a can of beans, bacon, eggs, bread and make an English breakfast outside in the nature. Of course the enamel mug for tea is joining. Why not make it in to a photo shoot to? I think the blond girl would like that idea of a tweed picnic.

This year was not so bad out of bicycle view. I got much made on my own bicycles and I actually helped out a friend with his family’s bicycles. I repaired and adjusted them and did an general overlook of them. It was easy thing to fix, but it was also fun to work with bicycles. One of the ones I was adjusted was an old Swedish army bicycle from the 50’s same style as the one I mentioned earlier! All original and in a great shape. A great rider, made for riding thousands of miles on old gravel roads. I hope that the friend will join the tweed event 2015, or perhaps a picnic. After all there are so many advantages with an old bicycle, you get exercise and fresh air. Saving the environment and getting healthy at the same time. Noting bad with that really. When getting back home from my winter ride. I removed all the snow from the tires, rims and frame. I wiped off the water from the mud guards and pedals. Back in the basement, parking beside Lady Blue and the other bicycles. See you all next year!

Finally I wish all my readers a great 2015. I hope it will be filled with lots of nice rides and many great memories.

See you at #bikeintweed2015


The winter is here

The winter came with snow and cold winds outside the basement. Of course you can ride your bike this time of year to, you only need to dress well and have good tires on the bicycle. For the really leather skinned bicyclists, this is no match, they might not even need winter cloths. Even I used to take the bicycle all over, all year around back in the olden days. But now days, when I am working far away. It is not really a good idea to ride a bike to work in the same way as back then. Besides I am bit older now.
But just because it is winter does not mean that everything stops regarding bicycles and ideas. No, quite the opposite in fact! Now is the time to repair, mend and fix the bicycles that have been used all summer. Bicycles that have been riding along cobblestone streets and now need to be readjusted and all screws that came loose needs to be tightened. Regarding projects I have my two path racer projects I need to build. They are just standing all deserted in the storage now.  One of them are The black Pelago racer, that are still in parts. Some parts are even missing and other parts are laying around in my closet and some parts can be found in drawers here and there. Why it still is in parts is rather simple. I have a few main issues with that project. One of them is that I want it to be, not only in perfect working order, but I want it to be in a perfect cosmetic way. The looks is important. For example, the frame is black so then the saddle must be black too. The details are in chrome. So the other parts and details must be in the same style of chrome, and so on. The cranks need to be in the correct style for me. After all, I have my vision of how it will look in the end. Also I really do not like to use cheep parts, since the other parts are in good quality and of a known brand it would be a shame to mix them all. I really would like parts that are genuine and solid. No flimsy plastic parts, but parts made of steel and iron! Since the wither is long so I have no rush in buying parts. I am looking for the right parts, at the right moment.

The other project I have going is the “rat-rod-path-racer” or what it should be called.
It started as an idea of an drop bar style bicycle all in metal finish as I mentioned in an earlier post. But that project will end up in a strange hybrid of all different styles. It has gone so far that I am thinking of keeping the original paint since it is has such nice decals and are not to abused. I need only to get rid of some brackets on the frame (the ones for the chain guard and the kick stand) as they are not needed any more and are only disturbing the lines of the frame design.

As I was trying to dismantle the old Monark bicycle, I found out that I did not have the correct tools for the job. So I was thinking that when removing the parts that are partly stuck and will be damaged while I am trying to remove them. I would try to get new parts, that will substitute the ones I will remove. Especially since they most likely will be totally unusable later on. For example, today I tried to take the rear hub into pieces for a clean and lubricate job. But one of the nuts must have been damaged or the thread on the axle it self was damaged. It was impossible to make the nut to move or even budge the slightest. In short, I need better tools for that work or I will damage the thread on the axle.
Strength and good tools is the key word!

But I managed to clean it up. That is an very good thing. Especially since the entire bicycle has dirt, grease and smudge on it since the end of 1950’s. For example I can mention the chain. It needed to be in a cleaning aid bath, soaking for an entire week before the grease even started to dissolve a little. It still got grease left on it after a week of cleaning agents and me scrubbing it with a brush!

The front fork is a bit unstable and are most likely in need of cleaning, lubrication and adjusted. But the special nut holding it all together have not been adjusted or loosened since the person who assembled the bicycle back in the days tightened it. It is stuck there like a rock, it will not move at all! But I will manage to loosen it and make it work with me, a big set of pliers and some brute force will sort that one.
Today I did a quick test assembly of the “white lightning”. It looks really good, it feels really comfortable to ride to! On the photo there is a headlight, I added it just for fun. Since I could not remove the bracket that are for the original headlight. So I decided to reuse it, I had the headlight from that old (new) Chinese bicycle I bought a long time ago. It is rather impressive item with its size and with the chicken head style knob on top. The knob has 3 settings and the headlight it self has 2 bulbs inside. Almost like an old moped. One bulb for position lights and one for headlights. I was thinking, since I do not want to use a dynamo to power the light I will try to build a battery compartment inside the headlight (it is large so an battery will easily fit inside the headlight). Then I can use the knob and use different light settings. That would be a nice effect and useful when riding at night. Sadly the mount for the bracket on the headlight itself are a bit weak and wobbly so I am not sure how it will work. In any case, let us find out!

The look of the bicycle with the handlebars, the headlight and the slim profile all together. It is really looking good! A fun project. I think I will keep the details as they are. It is a racer made to go fast and fearlessly. It has the signs to the the story.

The only question are, will it be accepted at Bike in Tweed 2015?


The Silver Arrow, or?

Projects! The never ending stream of ideas.I mentioned a long time ago that I had a black frame made in China that did not cut the mustard to be used as a project for me. Well, right away I started the search for a new project. By luck I found the lovely Pelago frame and started to order parts for a great modern/retro build with the English Pashely Guv’nor as a huge inspiration. But along the way to receiving parts to the Pelago Path Racer bicycle I stumbled over an interesting add on the internet. There was an old 1950’s bicycle in poor condition that was for sale. After all, I was looking for a frame to build the “silver arrow” as I mentioned a few weeks ago. I replied to the add and asked about the price and about any issues about the condition of the bicycle. The seller replied very quick and told me that the tires was in bad shape and that the bicycle was not complete. But the price was good. The seller also included some photos of the bicycle in the basement in his reply. The photos showed an late 1950’s early 1960’s Swedish made Monark in white paint, with lots of usage and flat tires. The photos where rather bad but I wrote an email back to the seller and said that I would buy it. I was thinking that is would be just for fun. To have something to do during the cold winter months here in Sweden. Remove all paint and polish the frame and all parts. Only to build the “silver arrow” replica of that racer that I once saw.

A few days ago the packaged arrived by delivery to the front door. As I opened the package I realized that the bicycle was in much better condition than the seller and photos made me believe. The decals with the model name and decoration decals was in great shape! The paint was of course scuffed in many places, but it is after all, an over 50 years old bicycle made for be used. Not so much rust at all. A very good project! The next thing I did was to start to take it all apart. Then I discovered that the rear mudguard was broken and repainted in a bad way. I removed front light, the extra battery pack that was mounted on the frame back in the 80’s. All the old wires for the front and rear lights went into the trash. The rims was in good shape, nice chrome, just in need of adjusting the spokes. The luggage rack was a bit beaten up and a bit damaged. So I decided to rescue some parts of the luggage rack to the other bicycles, as spares.

As I was fixing and removing parts I realized more and more that I simply can not remove the paint from the frame, to make the “silver arrow” model I wanted from the start. The lovely decals and the paint are in very good condition. The typical two tone paint with an metallic base on the details they used back then was really shining after I tried to polish it a bit. I will most likely just polish up the frame and keep it as it is. Just get handlebars, pedals and tires. In short some parts that are more “path racer” looking. The frame it self is light, the rims and all will create a great quick fun racer. Perhaps it will be finished this summer to the Bike In Tweed event. Who knows. But who will ride it?

But first of all! It is ceaning time!



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