Spring cleaning

It was a long winter!

That is not a problem for us with bicycles. You can ride a bicycle and enjoy the cold, but fresh air while avoiding ice patches and cars that are stuck in the snow and skidding along. A lonely winter road with packed snow as road surface is just lovely.

But sadly that kind winter wonderland roads are scarce when living in a large city that are filled to the limits with cars, lorry’s and people rushing around all the time. Perhaps the first week after a heavy snow storm it might be lovely snowy roads in the city. But as soon as the road crews are out with their sanding machines, the before snowy white winter wonderland roads turns into large swamps of grey melted slush.


Seen in the city, a brave motorcycle rider defies the elements

They spread the sand on streets, pavements, cars, people and forest paths. The sand is everywhere! On the main roads they also use salt. Road salt that melts the ice so the cars got good grip. It works!

But when it is cold the snow do not melt, instead it turns in to boring, grey, salty slush. Riding a bicycle in that kind of slush is not fun at all. First of all, the bicycle tires are not made for that kind of artificial road surface. When the snow is packed it is all just fine! But when having to cruise in 10 centimetres thick greyish swamp-ish slush that are covering roads it is a different matter. The tires just keeps digging down into the slush, snow and ice.


A ride in the first days of spring

The slush get stuck on everything, wheels, mudguards, luggage rack, clothes, its is everywhere. The really sad part is that the salty grey slush also corrodes metal quick! That is really quick! After riding in that kind of poisons slush the important thing is to wash the bicycle with water and keep it stored inside rather quickly.

After the Helsinki Tweed Run my two bicycles was covered with a thick  layer of that corroding grey salt slush. I do not have any place to wash the bicycles so all I did was wiped them fairly clean with a cloth right away after arriving home again (the cloth turned black after the wiping). My intention was to ride the bicycles one at the time to a car wash at an petrol station nearby. They have separate stalls for car washes where you wash your car by hand. You pay a fee and get to use the wash equipment for a limited time.


Just finished washing the 1956 Hermes at the petrol station.

As soon the snow melted a bit and it was relative dry outside. I took the bicycles for a ride to the car wash. I guess many of the car owners raised their eyebrows a bit when they saw me standing there washing a old bicycle instead of a car.

I covered the sensitive parts on the bicycles like saddle, handlebar grips, headlights and cranks with old plastic bags. After that I covered the entire bicycle with a cleaning agent and then washed and rinsed  it all with water. Final treatment in the wash was to use a new cloth to dry the bicycle and polish the chrome/nickel parts.


1938 Wiklunds, Nordstjärnan (Northen star) got a well deserved wash. Not the Helsinki tram rails rust on the front tire. That will never go away. A visible memory an an fun event.

After cycling home and enjoying the first warm rays of spring, I dismounted the wheels and greased the axles and bearings with new grease and a drop of oil where needed. Even the spring to the stand was creaking after all corrosive salt slush from the winter. It got cleaned and lubricated with a drop of oil.

Polishing and cleaning. That is a spring event. A sure way to say good bye to the winter and greet the spring welcome.


Badly parked after the wash, the Hermes is placed inside until warmer weather


Nordstjärnan in the sunlight

 

Advertisements

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!