The story of a bicycle

I got an old bicycle from a co-worker some time ago. The reason why is simply that I was talking about an event in Stockholm called “Bike in Tweed”. There is an “Tweed run” in London that has become an regular yearly event, people dressing up in vintage clothes (often tweed) and on vintage bicycles are doing a parade around London. That idea has become a huge success so many other city’s have done similar events. For example in Helsinki / Finland the have the parade in the winter time. For anyone interested, just do a interweb search for “tweed run” or “bike in tweed”. Lots of great photos of lovely clothes and bicycles.

Back to the bicycle. It was the co-workers mothers bicycle. She dont use it any more so she was glad to get rid of it. I am not 100% sure of the personal history of it. I will do some research.

But the bicycle itself is a old Swedish one. It is a Hellas made by Fagergren and Johnson in the southern town of Kalmar. A approximately way to date the bicycle is to look at the rear hub. Almost every Swedish made bicycle in the years 1925 up to 1960’s used the German Torpedo hub. Those hubs are stamped with the last two digits of the year.  That gives you an roughly date, add a couple of years and you are in the ballpark. Add the details of the bicycle, such as frame paint and other small details. So with all that in mind I can say that the bicycles hub is made 1931 and the frame has the details of late 1920 and early 1930’s.

Today I started to take it apart to check on details and do some cleaning. I must say, its is in very good shape for its age. Hardly no rust, some dents on the mudguards. The handlebars are repainted many years ago. The handles are stuck, but that is not a big deal. After all there was many different versions and styles of handlebars at that time. Also the most popular handles where so called black “Rambler” handles. The saddle is most likely in a to bad shape after all exposure of weather and wind. But I dont think anyone will blame me for getting a new “aged” Brooks saddle in a vintage look. As for the handlebars, I might be able to find a better used one. Rambler handles does surface on auctions and so on from time to time. I might ask my connections in England to help out on that one.

I will wash, clean the frame and mudguards. Take apart the hubs and clean them out, re lubricate them (I have grease from the 50’s so even that will be vintage). I have 11 months to complete the bicycle. It will be in the “Bike in tweed 2014”. There is all reddy a person that want to use the old bicycle all dressed up in vintage clothes. If it all turns out well, a photo will be taken of them two for the Schneebremse blog readers.

I will keep you all updated on how it all turns out.




Stockholm Bike in Tweed 2013

One day I was browsing videos on youtube and found a video about an tweed event in London called London Tweed Run. I thought it looked fun and interesting. All those dresses and bicycles. After all I have been to UK many times, mostly back in the 1990’s. But even later on too. Also being a lover of Jeeves and Wooster I had a silly affection to the imaginary British. After some research I found out that there was an similar event held in Stockholm. What?! I really wanted to join that event, it sounds really fun!

What could it be? Could I join? After reading about it I realized that I had all the requirements for the tweed event. I all reddy had what could fit the bill. An vintage bicycle, No problems, only need to fill the tires with air. But then we had the issue with tweed clothes. I have my old herringbone Harris Tweed jacket, an old pullover in a semi-English style. But no tweed trousers… What to do? Deep inside the closet I found a pair of old grey trousers, they had to make do. I guess I will had to buy a tweed cap to complete the look.

After talking to a co-worker at work, that also loves tweed and odd things, he wanted to join the event too. Sadly, he did not own an vintage bicycle. It was at that moment I came up with the idea of us riding a tandem bicycle. We browsed the internet and found a blue Rex Duplex tandem for sale, just south of the city a few minutes drive from where I live.

Communications with the seller was set up and after an agreement we meet and bought the tandem bicycle. It needed some cleaning and small adjustments after many years in storage. That was easy, a few weeks later we meet and started to fix the bicycle. It was summer and nice weather, a BBQ, some beer and bicycle repairs. Changing tires, saddles, handlebar grips and so on. The old tandem turned out great!

Number 23, our blue Rex Duplex tandem bicycle next to number 131 a brown Rex Duplex that two girls was riding

On the morning of the event I packed my grandfathers old bicycle bag with some bottles of beer and a bunch of cucumber sandwiches. I headed over to the co-worker that had the tandem in his basement.

When we was heading off for the Bike in Tweed event it was the first time we tried to ride the tandem, ever! Not bad to decide to ride straight for a 4 hours when never riding a tandem before. We managed to reach the start at Kungstradgården in central Stockholm. There we meet up with the organizers registration and got our starting numbers and saw all other absolutely fabulous dresses, suits, hats, bicycles, people. It was amazing to see them all!

Registration and map of the route

Lovely girls at the start in Kungsträdgården

I could only dream of looking this dashing

What a great smile! Everyone was happy

Waiting at an traffic light

We made it to the finish line at Stadsmuseet at Slussen where we all parked our bicycles and received a beer to cool down before the price ceremony! After the handing out of prices for bes dressed man, lady and best looking bicycle. We headed inside for dinner. Cottage pie with salad and all trimmings. Tasty!

We decided at that moment to attend next year too.

Price ceremony

Not only tweed, vintage clothes works just as well

A refreshing beer at the price ceremony

Happy tweed!