My first vintage bicycle

Perhaps I have mentioned the first vintage bicycle I once had before?

If I have, well here we go again. After my military m/42 bicycle was stolen back in early 1990´s. I decided to pay the local bicycle shop a visit to see if there was any good bicycle there that I could buy. This was the time when vintage bicycles was just old bicycles, that old people was using. 1940’s bicycles without gears was not the kind of bicycles that people wanted back then.

Among all sorts of bicycles standing outside the shop I noticed an old grey bicycle for sale, it had modern plastic grips, reflectors all around and an modern headlight mounted, the price tag was about £25. after trying the bicycle, I handed over the money to the shop owner and rode it home. Just a fun detail, the shop where I bought the bicycle was an old 1950’s shop that was owned by an gentleman and his wife. My father remembered them from when he was a kid in the 1950’s. They had the shop since 1950 up to 1990’s when they sold it to a new owner who just a few years later closed down the shop and had everything removed. The old shop was all original from 1950s, including the old neon sign “Sjögrens cykel och sport”.

The bicycle I bought was an Panther, made in Stockholm in about 1942. It became my daily commuter bicycle for a long time and I used all the time, summer, winter and everything in-between. It was a great bicycle that kept on going, in rain and shine, mud and snow, all year round on its old tires.


One of the only photos of my bicycle from back then. The photo is made by taking a photo of the original photo with a smartphone. Today I have no idea where the original photos are, perhaps even thrown away

After a while I started to use my grandfathers old bicycle bag bag on the luggage rack to have more space for luggage.  The old bag looked great one the bicycle. In fact the luggage rack had areas of worn paint from the start, exactly where the hooks for my bicycle bag was hanging. It was meant to hang there. I replaced the modern plastic saddle with my grandfathers old leather saddle and noticed that the bicycle looked more “complete” in a way. That was when I started to look around for old bicycle parts. I started to get an idea of replacing the 1960’s headlight with an really old one. One day I found some handlebars with the old wooden style grips. Away with the awful modern handlebars with the plastic grips. Now it started to look like an complete bicycle. Later on I found other parts, parts that fitted the bicycle well in its dark grey paint with black details and golden contours.

Back then I was wearing vintage cloths, not to be fashionable. It was more an reason of having clothes handed down by elderly friends and relatives, “you can have his old jacket, I have no need for it any more”. Also money was a bit of an issue, so I could not buy cloths so often.

Nowadays I think they would call it eco-friendly, re-usage or something like that. But back then I was grateful for the old clothes, after all they fitted better than modern clothes. They had way better durability and looked way better, old shirts with huge collars and bell bottom trousers. Almost all looked good, the lilac velvet jacket with silver buttons from the 70´s that was given to me at one point, that was a bit odd, even for me.

A few years later after I bought the Panther, perhaps in the mid 1990’s. I decided to do an small adventure just for fun. I got the idea of taking a long ride in the forests south of Stockholm with the bicycle. Riding for fun, but also to take some photos of the nature with my old camera. That was when I used to develop and print my own photos in the basement, it was a fun and creative hobby.

I loaded the camera with film, I wrapped some bottles of lemonade in newspaper to keep the bottles cold, and made sandwiches that I warped in baking paper and tied up with some string. I put everything in the old backpack that I had bought at the old military surplus store at the same time I bought the military bicycle. The backpack was from the 30’s and reeked of an mouldy, damp old cellar. But it was cheep.

All set up and ready to go, I headed away. It was a lovely day, the sun was shining and after I left the main roads, rolling down the gravel paths in the woods, I started to really enjoy the bicycle ride. The fresh air and the wonderful smell of the forest filled my lungs. Now and then I stopped to take an photo at the forest and trees, or when I was sat an the cliff looking out over an lake, having a picnic with sandwiches and lemonade.

It was many years later I realized what I had done back then. Without knowing it, I had made an Tweed Ride event long before it even became a thing.


Here I am sitting in the grass, having a tweed moment

Many years later I met a girl at work who wanted an vintage bicycle. I had my old Panther, of course I helped her out by selling my own bicycle. Why i did that? The Panther was an size 26″ and was ever so slightly to small for me. So I removed all my personal parts of the bicycle and replaced them with other old parts, parts like my grandfathers saddle and so on.

When writing here about all my bicycles, I thought I had mentioned them all. But I forgot about the old Panther, until I found an old photo of the old bicycle. The camera I used back then is since long gone, sold, given away. The cloths was worn and torn beyond repairs. But the bicycle, the old Panther, that I sold is still around. In fact, the girl who bought it asked me to help out and fix it a few years later.

We decided to meet one day, there is was. The old bicycle that I bought many years ago, it was well taken care of and looked all fine. After some general service, change of tires and adding some parts I had laying in my boxes. The old Panther turned out to be a very nice bicycle that will be a great companion for many years to come.


The vintage black and brass ASEA dynamo matches the grey/black/gold colours of the bicycle perfectly!


A proud Panther owner

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