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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