The green bicycle, Husqvarna 1948

As always, it all started with one project to many.

A fellow tweedian mentioned to me one day that he was searching for a special type of bicycle. One that he could modify to be his daily commuter ride. His criteria were; a silver coloured semi racer with derailleur gear and luggage racks, both in front and in the rear of the bicycle.

It so happened, that I had my fathers old 1980’s Meteor racer bicycle standing in my basement. My fellow tweedian was intrigued by the bicycle, it was a good foundation for his project. Was it for sale?

I knew that among all bicycle projects he has in his basement, there was a old 1940’s green Husqvarna bicycle. It would be perfect for all the spare parts I have collected over the years. Parts that never fitted any of my earlier projects, instead ended up in boxes marked “might come in handy”.

Especially the Versol derailleur from 1940’s, that never fitted any of my projects. It only fits frames with rear dropouts with their opening forwards. All my bicycle projects so far has their rear dropouts with their openings backwards. I knew that the green Husqvarna have rear dropouts facing forwards. That would be perfect for my Versol derailleur.

I suggested perhaps a trade would benefit us both, my fathers old bicycle for his green project. It ended up with me coming home with yet one more project. I think it is the third time I said it was the last time for projects. But here we are again.


Fellow tweedian working on the Husqvarna 1948 project.

Back home I checked out the bicycle more. It is a Husqvarna made in 1948. I realised that many parts on the bicycle actually were original parts and in very good condition. Parts like the front chain wheel, the nut that holds the front fork in place and the front light holder. The mudguards were not original but they looks great together with the frame, both have the same nice green tone. But most important my Versol derailleur fitted like a charm.


Handlebars that fits the bicycle. This can be a great project.


Versol derailleur…


…and gear leaver

Right away I started to look in my boxes for other parts to complete the bicycle. Handlebar, grips, a front light. I had two wheels with stainless steel rims standing in the corner, they fitted perfectly. I traded some other parts I had laying around for a fitting stem. The handlebars with grips was mounted on the stem along with an original Husqvarna bell. It all started to look like a cool bicycle. Green, black and silver.

I decided to make the front light battery powered. Because I wanted to use one more odd part that never found any usage. An old east German made bicycle bell, “Radlaufglocke” or “Sturmklingel” that they are called in German. The bell is activated by pulling a cord so the flywheel of the bell is pressing against the tire and starts to spin. Then the bell will ring as long as the cord is pulled or as long the wheel is spinning.

All the bell needs is a dynamo bracket mounted in a way that the bell can pivot onto the tire to make in spin. I mounted the Sure enough, it worked like a charm. It´s steel housing and red flywheel fits the look of the bicycle just perfect. For activation cord to the bell, I used an chain from an old Swedish dog tag.

That is one cool bicycle bell, it sounds like a old tram on the run when used. It will most definitely get attention when used. I still had the old Berko battery box which I removed from the 1928 Crescent. I took some old electrical cord and make the front lamp work.

Only to make the bicycle somewhat legal to ride in the night.


Berko battery box with a cloth wound electrical cord along the frame to the front light


Bicycle bell that will ring as long the cord is pulled and the wheel is spinning


I also added an old id-tag. That type of tag was patented in 1942, so it is really a 1940’s bicycle


The bearings was in desperate need of grease

Now it was time to mount everything together, I bought new a bunch of old stock screws (shiny screws are needed for a shiny bicycle) and got to work. Mudguards, double kick stand, headlamp with visor, cleaning, oiling and greasing up old bearings. It all worked well and in some way, it seemed like the parts, although they were different brands, were meant to fit together from the start.


I tried to keep all the parts it in the same era as the bicycle frame, mid to late 1940’s.

Then we have the issue with the, by now infamous, Versol derailleur. It was a slight pain to adjust and to make sure it worked, or at least almost working as it should.

First of all, there are no fixed positions for the gear leaver. Changing gear is made by feel and listening on the chain travelling across the cogs. 3st gear, no problem. 2nd gear, well it is there somewhere keep trying. 1st gear? Well, now we are getting a bit optimistic aren’t we? Let us stay on 2nd gear for a while instead.

Then there is the ever so slight issue of being able to bring the bicycle to a stop. Since the derailleur are used on a coaster hub with a built in brake, it means that the chain will slack considerably when peddling backwards to brake. With a standard hub you only need to peddle backwards slightly to engage the brake. The Versols attitude towards braking, is that small and quick peddling are for wimps. There is more of effort to peddle at least half a turn while the chain might derail at any moment if the rider are being careless. So with the Versol derailleur system, braking is like stopping a boat forging ahead. You really need to think in advance and plan your stops well in advance.


Fitchel and Sachs chain guide makes use as a spring bracket. Yes I know, it is all wrong.

Correctly adjusted it is not such a big deal. But having to slack the chain in a way that there is need for a guide to make sure that the chain stays in place and not derails. Well, that is not what I would call a optimal riding experinace. But still, Versol derailleur system derailleur was the most popular derailleur/gear system in Sweden during 1940’s and 1950’s. Perhaps because there were no others? Or, the alternatives where so complicated, impossible to adjust or perhaps just weird? Who knows?

My grandfather had an old Rex bicycle from the 1940’s with an Versol derailleur system mounted. Completely, utterly and totally insane. Not to forget the minor detail of it being really a really dangerous bicycle. I still remember my grandfather riding along the streets with his bicycle that had no front brake at all, only relying on the rear hub brake. While riding his bicycle wearing clogs at the age of  75. Could he ride his bicycle like that, so can I!


Headlight visor adds to the look


Modern Brooks B66 saddle, but it fit the colour theme of the bicycle, green, silver and black.

The green bicycle, dangerous and almost original. If I can’t brake, at least I will be able to use the tram bell so there will be a heads up before the crash.

But still, it is really good looking bicycle.

Enskede Tweed, (Vårrullen 2020)

Care for a spring roll? Not the eating kind am I afraid, although they are tasty and nice. But what I am referring to, is the 4th Enskede Tweed society event, called the Spring roll, “vårrullen” in Swedish.

The explanation is rather simple. The name came up during the dinner party at the Enskede Tweed society event Höstrusket last autumn. “Let us call it the spring roll”, one of the participants said. After all, it makes total sense! We will roll on our bicycles in the spring, the spring roll. Brilliant! It was decided right there and then.


Last minute preparation, the rear hub needed desperate attention.

9th of May 2020 was set for the 4th Enskede Tweed society event. Our events are just for fun, a good opportunity to meet others tweedians, dress up in nice clothes and use our old bicycles for a slow and calm ride around the parts of Stockholm where we live. It is a tweed event, right in our back yard.

Also, riding bicycles are good, both for the environment and yourself. After all, with all the current virus tragedy going on with isolation and quarantines. It is only good to get out and about, to have a bit of fresh air ventilate the old tweed. Spiffing good show, I say!


On the way to Stockholmsvägen and the meeting point

The weather forecast for the day mentioned heavy overcast and about 10 degrees Celsius. In other words, perfect weather for a ride in tweed. The bicycles were serviced, picnic hampers and bags were packed, tweeds were brushed. We were ready!

The event should started at 1300, but due to some mishaps, the entire staff of Enskede Tweed Society was delayed for a bit.

The issue of an exploding rear tire, made for some last minute changes in the bicycle department. An stand in bicycle was quickly made ready for duty, a simple matter of making sure the tires had good pressure, adjust the seats and off we went. Arriving only 10 minutes late to the meeting at the start. Rather hot after a brisk ride, the staff arrived at Stockholmsvägen, the usual meeting point for members in Enskede Tweed Society.


Fellow tweedians joining up


Well packed picnicks hampers and blankets to sit on during the picnic


Having a chat while enjoying tea and cake in the sunshine

The chairman of Enskede Tweed society offered hot tea and home made cake, just as the last event. It really got a British touch to it with tea and cake. Perhaps next time, we should tell everyone to bring along real cups and saucers for an afternoon tea instead of an picnic?


Ladies and gentlemen, get ready to start the ride

After finishing the tea and cake, and after talking about other things, of shoes and ships and sealing wax. Of cabbages and kings. It was time to start the ride. We started our route by taking the back streets along the old parts of Enskede. Watching all the gardens with their spring flowers in blossom and all the bright green leaves on bushes and trees. The weather forecast was wrong, it was not overcast. In fact, it was sunny and warm, a perfect spring day.


Riding along the cycle paths


A short break before entering the Forrest cemetery


Photo opportunity


Along the roads at Forrest cemetery

We took the route in to Skogskyrkogården (Forrest cemetery) as usual. The calm and tranquillity you experience there are really soothing for everyone. There are no cars racing around, blasting their horns. Just to ride along and enjoy the smell of forest while listening to birds singing is very peaceful.

Shortly after we exited the Forrest cemetery we stopped by the Olympia park in Tallkrogen and set up our picnic on the large meadow. We parked our bicycles and put out blankets on the grass and unpacked our picnic hampers. Sandwiches, cakes, tea, beer and gin and tonic. Music and laughs all around, we had a really great time.


Our bicycles needed a rest…


…as did we


Lovely weather at Olympia park

After about 1.5 hours it was time for us to head on again. The last stretch of the route took us along the streets of 1930-50s houses and areas. Along the route there were people waving and smiling at us. It seems that tweed and bicycles brings out happiness in both riders and bystanders. It is a rather harmless and fun thing to do, ride along on a vintage bicycles while being well dressed, not necessarily in tweed.


Group photo at the usual site

After the group photo, we headed on our way to the finish line at Enskede Gård. Sadly, we never took a photo at the mansions stairs like we use to. There was a man standing right above the stairs fixing his car. It would have been a strange photo, a modern car all torn down in pieces in the photo, while we were standing there with our bicycles. A slight clash of styles one might say.


At the finish line, when will next event take place?

The organizers thanked everyone that had joined the Spring roll, the first official unofficial Enskede Tweed society event of this year. Some riders left the group, the rest of us headed down to Enskede värdshus for a cool refreshing drink. The weather was so nice, that we ended up in the garden of the inn to relax before it was time for us to leave.

Next event is planed to take place in October. What the name will be for that event? Who knows, but I guess it will be something autumn related, in some way.

Until next time.


Riding back home in the sunset

Lady blue

I just realized that I have never presented the bicycle I call Lady blue. Perhaps now is a good time as any.

Some years ago I was asked about an old bicycle, it was standing unused in a basement for many years. The owners said that they wound never ride a bicycle again, so it was time to pass it on. Since they knew that I was looking for a vintage bicycle, they thought that it best to ask me. I was told that the bicycle was given to the present owners from a friend of theirs. The original owner, a elderly lady from south of Sweden, had received the bicycle as a birthday gift when she was 8 years old back in mid 1930’s.


Hella, made in Kalmar in about 1935 as I got it

It was a nice story behind the bicycle, I headed home and started to think how I would restore it in the best way. Restore it to how it once looked, adding accessories from the period. The bicycle it self had a headbadge with the name “Hella” and the text “made in Kalmar” written on it. The rear wheel Torpedo hub was stamped with 31, so it was made around those years. That was completely in line with the story about the young girl receiving the bicycle as a present around 1935.

Since it was my first vintage bicycle restoring after I had sold my old grey Panther, I felt like doing a good job, or at least as good as I could. All with the knowledge, tools and parts I had in my possession to renovate and restore the bicycle. The first thing I did was to completely disassembly the entire bicycle in to small parts. All bearings, screws, and parts were inspected and cleaned. Some parts were in very good condition, but others like the handlebars and wooden grips were in a really bad shape and needed replacement.


New tires and tubes to be mounted on the newly cleaned rims


The frame is clean from parts, I have just mounted brackets and wheels to see how it looks

It was during the cleaning I found the serial number on the frame. Of the number I learned that the frame was made in the town of Gävle, far from Kalmar.

Back then Gefle Velocipedfabrik manufactured bicycle frames and sold them to local bicycle shops that created their own style of bicycles from parts and named them after their own shop. There are may examples of that practice around Sweden in from the start up to about the 1950’s. There are numerous small branded bicycles, many are built with parts from one of the few large bicycle parts manufactures at the time. But they have all sorts of brands, often the name comes from the shop owners own name, a Greek god, perhaps a town and so on.


Torpedo stamped with 31, the hub is made in 1931.

I found new old handlebars on an auction site, there I found an old bicycle bell, chain guard and other parts that I needed. After cleaning all parts, polishing the chrome, the fun of mounting everything together started. This time I took my time to get the bicycle done. I did not want to rush the process, it was my therapy and I wanted to show the old lady the result.

During the restoration I tried to keep the parts I got as replacements in a 1930s range. The vintage crochet skirt guard, 30’s style Swedish made ASEA headlight and dynamo. The saddle turned out to be a bit difficult, vintage 1930’s cushioned saddles are rare to find after all usage during the years. Instead I used an old vintage Brooks saddle as a substitute.

One day it was finished, and it looked really great. In fact I used it as a prop when doing a photo shoot.


1930’s ASEA bicycle lamp…


… withan ASEA brass dynamo.

A few years later, I took a look at my first rebuilding project. I quickly realized that I never completed the job, the wheels were missing spokes, the saddle were still the worn Brooks and the tires were a bit to wide to fit the mudguards. It was at that moment after learning new information about old bicycles that the bicycle was remade in the early 1950’s.

Since the bicycle was made in mid 1930’s it was supposed to be painted with a special kind of finish and pin striping. As it looks now it is clearly an late 1940’s, early 1950’s style. The chain wheel is changed, the reflector and other parts where changed. Back then it was common to take your old bicycle to your local bicycle shop, turn it in for a complete overhaul. The shop would change the bad parts, repaint and refurbish the entire bicycle. It was cheaper, you got a new bicycle for less money of the price for a brand new one. Back then bicycles were expensive and when you had a bicycle it was supposed to be taken care of, and used for a long time. It was an investment.


The chain guard and chromed crank. Clearly changed at some time during the years


Brook saddle and some vintage tools and a repair kit


It turned out really great, I only need a better saddle

It is not original 1931, but it looks really great. The circle became complete when I sent a photo of the bicycle to the owners I got the bicycle from, they showed the photo of the bicycle to the old lady. She was very happy to see that her old bicycle still were going and having a new life. Sadly the old lady passed away some months after that. But I did manage to fix her old bicycle so she could see it, it felt great.

If I fix the small issues, Lady blue has many years left of riding along the roads on sunny summer days. Or why not attend a tweed event?


Lady blue

Enskede Tweed, (sommarsvängen)

June 9th was when Enskede Tweed Society held the event “Sommarsvängen” (summer ride). This year it was decided to make two events instead of last years one event. Not only will the regular autumn event “Höstrusket” be held. But earlier this year, during a meeting it was decided to have a summer event as well. After all, exercise and fresh air is only good for the spirit. So, why only have one event? When you can have two events.

The summer event turned out to take place in the first month of the summer. Despite vacations and other engagements among few of the participants. There were some few brave tweedians that meet up in Enskede in time for the start on a Sunday afternoon.

We were to meet at the former Gamla Enskede bageri (Old Enskede bakery). But last time we had our start there there were lots of people with prams trying to zig zag between our vintage bicycles. This time it was decided to use the pavement opposite the Triangle church located 50 meters away from the bakery. It was a good location with an park bench to sit on and lots of room to park our bicycles on the pavement.


The old Hermes at the Triangle church

As it turned out the restaurant and outdoor bar at Enskede matbod had opened nearby. The first tweedians went there to have a refreshing gin and tonic. A few other came along on their bicycles and joined for a drink in the sunny Sunday afternoon.

After a while it was decided to start the ride. The route had been checked earlier, but since we were so few it was decided to improvise a bit. We headed down the narrow streets of the old Enskede, the garden town as it was called back in the 1920’s. Passing old houses with luscious green gardens. Fragrances from all the flowers in the gardens anc newly cut grass made the ride very relaxing. We passed the Margareta park, Enskede church and the English town houses. We headed then up to Skogskyrkogården (the forest cemetery) and entered it for a calm ride on Unescos world heritage. We were shown some back roads that is not common knowledge.


The narrow streets of old Enskede


The green leaves of summer in all gardens, the fragrance of flowers and bushes


Waiting at the traffic lights


Backroads on Skogskyrkogården


Calm, only the chirping of birds and the song of tires against the tarmac could be heard

After exiting the cemetery we headed down to an green field located among the 1930s houses of Tallkrogen. That is one of many areas created back in 1930-50’s for the people living in the city to build their own house an have a small garden of their own back in the olden days.

In the park we had a lovely picnic, shame about the wind. We talked, had refreshing drinks and sandwiches. Suddenly, dark clouds gathered on the sky and it started to rain. We better had to get a move on.


Arriving at the picnic


The style of a true tweedian


Stickers were handed out as an memory of the event, Enskede Tweed Sällskap (society) ETS


The 1950’s Tallkrogen shopping centre, that once had everything one could need.


Finish at Enskede gård, thank you for this event.

The ride continued into other old areas, Svedmyra and Stureby. Down to the Enskede field. One more area build in 1930’s. We headed up to Enskede gård, the mansion where the finish line was. There we took a photo and talked some more before we all headed down to the Enskede värdshus. Sadly they closed at five a clock. But we managed to sit outside and have a cold refreshing beer. It became a short ride, but we were few riders so there was no need to have a strict schedule to follow. The main goal was to have a great Sunday afternoon.

The event was all in the good spirit of getting about and having some fresh air, instead of sitting inside. Why having Netflix and chill when you can have tweed and bicycles? After all, the summer is nice with all green leaves, flowers and grass so let us enjoy the summer. Soon enough it is autumn and then it is winter again. But to be honest, what stops us from riding bicycles then?

Until next time.

Winter Tweed Run Helsinki 2019

Back in 2018, I decided that I would join the 2019 Winter Tweed Run event in Helsinki. It is simply a very fun and relaxing event, with the spirit of “take an bicycle, dress in tweed and join us for a ride around Helsinki in February”. Who could resist that?

The days before Saturday 23rd of February.

The previous years I participated the event I boarded the ferry to Finland by riding my bicycle onto the car deck as one should. But this time I thought that if I were going to attend the event alone, I would carry my bicycle onboard the ferry. Simply by putting the bicycle in a large bicycle bag and carry it as normal luggage. The thought I had was to make the transport simpler and at the same time have less things to think about.

One candidate for the carry-on mission was the black Crescent that I built earlier. It is very minimalistic bicycle, it has no mudguards or other details that just add on more weight. Beside the wheels got quick release nuts! In short, the bicycle is perfect for easy travel. Just remove the wheels and carry it in a bag. Easy as pie, right? The date for the event got closer. I would go along with my “travelling light and carry the bicycle” plan. I bought an cheap bicycle bag that would fit my bicycle from 1927. There were bags with wheels, rigid cases that could stand a standing on top of it. But I went along with the cheapest one.

After removing the wheels, handlebars and pedals the bicycle fitted quite nicely in the bag. The bag itself have two handles and one shoulder strap. Perfect to carry alone as an large luggage. I packed my tweed in a bag and collected the bicycle bag from the basement. After packing the bicycle in the bag, I carried it to the subway and began my journey to Helsinki.


It is not allowed to ride the subway with an bicycle, but what if it is in a bag?

The subway ride went well. But on my way to the ferry I noticed that the bag was heavy. Really heavy! In the city I met up with a friend who went along the trip for a weekend in Helsinki. He asked if he could help carrying the bag.

The help was most welcome since the bag become heavier and heavier for me. Soon we went onboard the boat with the bag. No one did not even look twice at my bag with the bicycle. After a nice cruise we walked the streets of Helsinki to the hotel where we both were staying. I was carrying the bicycle while my friend helped out by carrying the wheels. That helped a lot. Checking in to the hotel was no problem either. But I was a broken man, the weight of the bag was silly. It was a stupid idea, carry on the bicycle like a luggage?! What was I thinking?

On the day of the event I went outside the entrance of the hotel and unpacked the bicycle. There I mounted the wheels, handlebars and pedals by using the tools I brought along with me. My good friend that joined me for the travel, took care of the bicycle bag while I joined the event. We had to board the boat back to Sweden later the same day so we decided to meet up later on that afternoon at the ferry.


Just a small detour, passing Vanha kirkkopuisto before the start

I arrived at Senaatintori (the senate square) a bit earlier than the start at 1300. There were already other tweed riders at the square, I rode up to them and joined them. There were familiar and new faces, we said hello to each other and started talking about each others bicycles and the event. There was a wide range of styles and brands of bicycles on display, new and vintage bicycles to admire and talk about.

I helped an fellow rider with some information about tires. He had a pair of really, really old and worn original 1930’s tires that had cracked and I was worried that they were about to break at any moment. Sadly I forgot to tell him the measurement on my own tires. But I hope that he will find some replacement tires. Suddenly there was a familiar honking sound in the distance. The organisers was arriving, riding their cargo bicycles while honking an old bicycle horn.


Just arrived to the start area meeting other Winter tweeders


Bicycles and warm dressed ladies talking


The organizers cargo bicycles have arrived

After their arrival, the organisers walked around and greeted each one of us personally and gave everyone a small sticker with the Winter Tweed Run Helsinki 2019 event logo. For me those stickers are really nice to put on the bicycle frame as well as a souvenir. We started talking about all different tweed events I have attended, many were impressed by all places I have been to. When we were talking it was all Swedish, English and Finnish in a strange mix. The feeling of being welcomed by the organisers were, as usual truly heart warming and admirable.


That is a really cool space influenced bicycle

Sadly, I had to inform the organisers that I was not be able to join the party afterwards, since I had a boat to catch the same afternoon. But I would at least join them for a ride along the coast line. During the conversation I got invitations to other bicycle events in Finland during this following summer. It would be really fun to join a summer event in Finland.


In front of Helsinki Cathedral

The bicycle horn was honking! Attention ladies and gentlemen, it is time for a group photo! We formed us as a group in front Alexander the 2nd the statue in the middle of the square. After everyone had their photos taken, we were off. The route was as previous years. Following the shoreline, passing the Olympia terminal, Kaivopuisto park and further down to Eira, up along Sandudds cemetery to the finish at Regatta café. It is a really lovely route with nice views.


Here we go, cars stopping, people waving. An bicycle event in February is not so common I guess.


Passing the Silja Line ferry at the Olympia terminal


Heading down to Eira


Shore of Lapinlahti

The ride continued onwards, at Sandudds cemetery it was time for me to break the formation and head to the ferry. I said good by to the tweed riders and headed back, across the city.

During this event I learned some very important lessons:
1, a bicycle made in the late 1920’s, is made of iron and weighs about the same as a modern small car.
2, when riding in mud and snow. Mudguards are a saviour for your clothes and the fellow riders behind you.
3, an luggage rack is really needed for bags with sandwiches and drinks, you can not have all in your pockets.
4, why carry a bicycle, weighing as a iron bed from the Victorian era, when you can ride the bicycle onboard the ferry?


Heading back to the ferry, sadly missing the party

Thank you all for a great event, all laughs and good memories. I will keep my eyes open for Winter Tweed Run Helsinki 2020. But next time, can we hope for a real winter tweed event with -20 degrees and lots of snow?