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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Wauhtiajot 2019, Helsinki

Wauhtiajot is a bicycle race in the spirit of past heroes of bicycling of yesteryears, that was held in Helsinki / Finland on Saturday August 17th.

There are two tracks in this race, the long track is 100 kilometres and the other, more modest and shorter track, is 25 kilometres. The riders have even a follow car so they could repair bicycles and take care of riders if necessary. There is a picnic in the middle of the ride for both the riders for the long track and the short track. After the picnic all riders can ride together across the finish line in Helsinki and enjoy some dinner, drinks, company of good friends and listen to great music for the rest of the evening


First time making this trip in the summer

Back in February, when I attended the Helsinki Winter Tweed Run, I got an invitation to join the Wauhtiajot event later that summer. It sounded really fun, after all the bicycle riding I have done in Helsinki in the winter time. Why not try riding a bicycle in Helsinki during the summer?

Wauhtiajot is an event mostly for old racer bicycles. Keepin the spirit of the old heroes of bicycling, like the early Italian and French riders that were really men of steel. Riding bicycles on narrow gravel roads all around continental Europe, while drinking wine and beer as refreshments along the way.


The bar at the start/finish line


An old poster


Number 57

I had not used an racing bicycle since I was 16 years old and crashed my silver 10 speed racer. I was going fast along the road when suddenly the front wheel gave up underneath me. The crash caused me to gracefully slide across the asphalt for a bit, transforming my clothes to shreds. But there was no worries this time, the short track of the Wauhtiajot event was easier and slower that the longer one. It sounded perfect for me and my Crescent from 1928.

Sadly it turned out that the old Crescent had some small play in the crank, most likely an issue with the bearings being worn after 90 years. So, as a final decision, I played safe, and choose the reliable old Hermes bicycle from 1955. Single geared and weighing like an old hospital bed. All other riders would fly pass me all the time. But at least, I would attend the event!

The weekend started all wrong. I was slightly ill, feeling a bit under the weather as they say. While mentioning the weather. The forecast said that on the day of the event, it was going to be rainy and cold. But it turned out to be one of the best days of summer so far, at least that how it felt for me since I am not a friend of to hot weather. So there I was, over dressed and feeling a bit down. The day was going to be a challenge for me.


One of two tandems at Wauhtiajot 2019, this one was heading for the short track..


…the captain makes some final adjustments before the start


Line up for the 25 kilometres riders. We all had numbers on our backs. The great thing with the numbers was that we only borrowed them. After the race was over we signed our number tag with our names and the date and handed them back to the organizers.


The route took us along some lovely scenery along the coast line…


…and along paths in the forest


There is no need for racing bicycles. But gears in general are really nice to have among the hills of Helsinki

After the start at 11 o’clock we took some lovely roads around the outskirts of Helsinki, along the sea shore, into the woods, along winding small roads and tracks. The tempo was rather nice. Going up steep hills, going down even steeper hills. After about an hour we had an short break.

Then about at the 10 kilometres mark, while going up an bridge to cross an road I felt the right pedal stopped to turn. Suddenly the pedal just disappeared from underneath my shoe and struck the ground hard with my foot. Parts of the pedal was flying everywhere on the ground behind me.


Disaster, I had tubes for the tires, tools for nuts and bolts. But no spare pedals with me

That was it, after some quick words with the leader of the short track I decided to walk back to the finish line and join them all there. Sadly I missed the picnic and the rest of the fun going across the finish line. A quick look at my smartphone I started to walk. An hours walk with the bicycle across Helsinki, in full blazing sun.

Finally I walked across the finish line and talked to some of the others there. The two lovely ladies that made Italian soup for all riders to eat. The crew on the vintage follow car, it was very nice and welcoming. After an hour they all came along the road, riders from both the short and long track. All smiling, happy. After some speeches and cheering. We all were handed a beer, specially made for Wauhtiajot.


Italian soup made by KahVelo, what a wonderful soup. Tasty, hot and comforting for me.


The heroes crosses the finish line


Now that is what I call a follow car


The special beer for the event

Later that night Maestro Ruscello e Gruppo Velocitá played lovely music and the party was really going. Since I was a bit under the weather and the aftermath from the pedal incident, I decided to retire early in the evening, thanking all the organizers for a wonderful event before saying say good bye and heading back to the hotel for a long rest.

The day after the event it was time to go back to Stockholm with the ferry. Even if the bicycle was broken, I needed to get it onboard the ferry. What an adventure…


Even with a broken pedal you need to get the bicycle back on the boat.
But that is another story

 

 

Where did the Pelago go?

Long ago, I bought a bicycle frame from the Finnish Pelago bicycle company.
You can find the old post I wrote, here.

The vision I had was to build an racer, somewhat inspired by old racers from 1920’s and 1930’s. Black frame, turned down handlebars and clean look. After talking to Pelago I bought an Bristol frame. Then I started to gathering parts from here and there, mostly there. An truly international bicycle. Some weeks later I got all parts that was needed to build my vision bicycle.


My finished version

After a day of building and adjusting, the bicycle was complete. The Pelago Special sure looked amazing with all the details I had got for it, first the glossy black frame, the chain in gold, all chromed parts like stem and pedals, the front break and creme white tires. Not only looking great, it was riding like a dream. It was first after a while I discovered a problem. The problem was not with the bicycle, it worked perfectly. Good breaks and riding smooth. The problem was with me! Leaning forward and riding fast for a long period of time was simply not my thing any more. Perhaps I was untrained (more likely getting old), but it should be comfortably to ride an bicycle. I did not feel comfortably at all.

In fact I did not use the bicycle as I expected to. Instead the Pelago was left standing in the basement, abandoned for weeks at end. One day I got the idea of why not rebuild it to an regular standard roadster instead? Complete with mudguards, dual kickstand, springy saddle and with the handlebars turned in a more traditional way to achieve an more upright seating position. I ordered some parts online from Classic-cycle in Germany that would fit and suit the black Pelago frame.


The second version, chain guard, mudguards. An more upright riding position

After that I started to rebuild the Pelago, from the cool racer it was, to an more regular standard bicycle. After that conversion I used it for a bit, but by that time I had bought an vintage bicycles that I was using instead. So the Pelago Special was left standing in the basement again.

One day a co-worker who also was interested in bicycles, asked my about the Pelago and if it was for sale. He liked the style of my path racer build very much. The look with the glossy black frame, creme white tires and overall clean lines. He told me that he had some visions for it, turning it into a racer once again but with a twist. One day in the summer later on we made the deal. Money exchanged hands, an hand shake after that he rode away on my Pelago.

That was when the Pelagos third life had begun. My co-worker quickly removed the black standard mudguards that I had mounted along with some other parts. The standard chain wheel was replaced by an custom made chain wheel from Bespoke Chainrings in Australia. The handlebars was replaced by an vintage Reynolds deep drop handlebar that he bought from eBay along with an old refinished Major Taylor stem.

The new look was really amazing. With few changes it became a different bicycle all together. Later on he asked me to help him with some details, I went home to his place and there in the kitchen, was the bicycle leaning against the dishwasher. That must be one of the oddest and cosiest bicycle workshop I have visited in so far.


Kitchen workshop. Notice the Reynolds deep drop handlebar and the refinished Major Taylor stem


Beautiful custom made chain wheel


Clean and stripped down look

He used the Pelago like that for a while until my he got an new idea. He wanted to change the bicycle from a racer to a more porteur inspired bicycle. He found a new made luggage rack in the porteur style, he also mounted mudguards with an hammered finish and changed the handlebars. The fourth incarnation of the Pelago Special has begun.

As for today, I think the old Pelago is still being used as an everyday bicycle around the streets of Stockholm. But with unique parts fitted to the former Pelago Bristol frame. Truly a Pelago Special.

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.

Tweed Ride Reykjavik 2019

“I wonder if there is a tweed ride on Iceland”?

That was a question a fellow tweedian asked me some time ago. That made me curious, if there is an event on Iceland, there must be some information about it online. After some research, I found an Facebook group called Reykjavik Tweed Ride. The group information mentioned there had been tweed events in Reykjavik every year since 2012. How could I have missed that page before? It was then I made the decision to go to Reykjavik for the Tweed Ride one day.


Stylish chapettes

The first thing that crossed my mind was, how would I get my bicycle to Iceland? What way of transportation would be the best? I thought of all sorts of different possibilities, everything from posting the bicycle in the mail, or bringing the bicycle along as cabin luggage on an air plane. But after my adventure carrying the bicycle onboard the ferry to Finland in February, I shuddered by the thought of carrying the bicycle in a bag to the airport. There must be an easier way. After all, when I attended the Tweed Run in London I rented a bicycle from a company that had connections with the Tweed Run. Renting a bicycle worked as a charm in London, perhaps I could rent a bicycle in Reykjavik as well?

I wrote an message to Reykjavik Tweed Ride on Facebook and asked if it was possible for me to rent a bicycle? The very next day I got an reply back. It was a very nice reply explaining that the tweed ride organizer in fact was an bicycle shop owner and he would happily let me rent a bicycle from him. During our conversation, he helped me sign up for the event. It was settled, I was going to Reykjavik in the end of May.


The start at Hallgrímskirkja 


An impressive bicycle…


… with the most ingenious mending of an tire I have ever seen.

I have never been to Iceland before so I had no idea what it was going to be like. The first thing that struck me was that it was nothing like I have seen before. The volcanic stones, the nature, hot springs steaming in the distance, high mountains far away. At Reykjavik city I was surprised by how hilly it was. The thing with hills that it is nice to go down a hill. But once you are down at the foot of the hill, you need to go up the next hill.

In our conversation we decided that on the day of the event, I would go to the bicycle shop and collect my rented bicycle. Also meet Jon Oli, the organizer of the event. When I arrived at the shop we talked about the event, tweed and bicycles. It was a really nice and welcoming chat. Jon Oli showed me my ride for the day. It was an Belgium made Achielle, an classic single speed roadster. Very similar to the bicycle I rented in London. After some adjusting of the bicycle, we left the shop for the ride up to Hallgrímskirkja where the Reykjavik Tweed Ride start was located.


My ride for the day, Belgium made Achielle


Jon Oli, the owner of Reidhjolaverzlunin/Berlin bicycle shop and organizer of Reykjavik Tweed Ride, talks to a photographer before the start


The armbands was a bit tricky to fasten, but were very nice and an really great souvenir


That is one really cool looking bicycle

We arrived at Hallgrímskirkja a bit early, but already there were other tweed riders. Soon other joined up and joined the line to receive their staring numbers. One numbered armband and one numbered sign for the bicycle. The numbers had an reason.

After the ride, best dressed gentleman, best dressed lady and the best looking bicycle was going to receive prizes. By having numbers we were easily identified for the voting. When all participants was present and had received their numbers, we gathered in front of the statue of Leif Eriksson, the first known European to have set foot in North America, for a group photo.


The Reykjavik Tweed Ride 2019 group photo

After the photo was taken, the ride started. Jon Oli was showing us the way. With our bicycle bells chiming and ball horns hooting, we headed down from the church, down the hill, along the narrow streets where people stopped, took photos, smiled and waved to us.

We went down to the hill and rode around the city, passing restaurants and hotels. Of course I forgot to start my bicycle tracking app on my phone. So I have no idea where we went. But it was clear that Jon Oli had chosen an excellent route for us. No hills to mention, plenty of nice views of Reykjavik and an perfect tempo.


Along the streets of Reykjavik


Smiling tweed riders. That is an lovely hamper, prepared for a nice picnic


Waiting at an street light

The first refreshment break was at an hotel down in the harbour, there we could buy a beer, an glass of wine or have an refreshing glass of lemonade. It was a really nice opportunity for us to get to know the other riders and look at the our bicycles. After the break we were off again. New views and roads, but always the same majestic view of the mountains in the distance and the fresh air of the ocean.


Sadly I do not remember the name of the hotel where we had our first break


Sitting on the cargo deck on a Danish Long John bicycle is the best place to enjoy the ride

We were getting close to the finish line at Aegisgardur brewery. The brewery was open for refreshments and we could park our bicycles outside the brewery and sit outside with a locally brewed beer. Even the sun came out and turned it into a very nice day. Sitting with a beer in the sunshine and watching the view of mountains in the distance. It was very relaxing indeed.

Jon Oli gathered us and told ut it was time to vote for the best dressed gentleman and lady, we all wrote down our candidates on a small piece of paper and handed them to Jon Oli who put our notes in his tweed cap. After counting all votes, it was time for the prize ceremony.

The winners was brought up on a temporary stage and was given the prizes that was sponsored by an local tweed retailer. The prize for the best bicycle turned out to be the same gentleman who won the best dressed award. All I can say is that all prizes was well deserved.


A real gentleman is always well prepared


Announcement time for the winners…


Best dressed gentleman and lady, Spiffing dashing chap and chapette, I say!

In the end, it was an magical tweed event in a city that I never thought would have a tweed ride. The event was smooth, well organized and the route was perfectly planned. I have been to many tweed events, they has all their advantages and disadvantages. But Reykjavik Tweed Ride was in every way special. Small, cosy and relaxed. No to long, not to short. Just perfect!

After the gathering was over, the riders had started to leave, some of the riders were off to an restaurant in the city for dinner. I helped out with collecting beer glasses and putting things in order at the brewery. Then Jon Oli and I started our ride back to his shop, where I would return my bicycle. The ride went well, after some more talk we said good bye and I started the walk back to town with the armband still on my tweed jacket. Tradition says, that the armband must stay on until midnight.

Lastly I would like to say a big thank you to Jon Oli, a wonderful and kind man that was so kind and helped me on my first Icelandic tweed ride adventure.


Riding back to the bicycle shop after an perfect day filled with tweed, bicycles and lovely people

 

Here is the link to
Reykjavik Tweed Ride

Visit Jon Olis shop via this link:
Reidhjolaverzlunin