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

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The winter project, part 1 (Fram bicycle)

There is a new project in the loop. Since it turned out that the £20 bicycle was rather damaged, it had a crooked fork, bent chain wheel, a damaged frame and other minor damages. I decided to scrap the bicycle, it was way to damaged to renovate and repair in my opinion. But I wanted to keep some of the parts from it like the chain guard, front light, the wheels, pedals and so on. Perhaps I could use it a project later on. It is good to have a supply of spare parts. One never knows what will happen in the future.

Later on, it turned out a friend that I have helped over the years with bicycles and parts. Had made a deal with another fellow on a internet forum about some bicycle parts. The deal was about an old frame that my friend wanted to use to build a vintage styled racer.

After some dealing with the fellow he received the frame. But it turned out that there was an entire bicycle included in the deal. Since he only needed the frame in the original deal, and it was the wrong style for him to build on and he did not had any use for an extra bicycle.  So, he asked me if I would like to take the extra bicycle. He described the bicycle to me in a mail with a included photo.


New projects and parts

It sounded like an interesting project. I decided to take over the bicycle. After all, I was looking for a replacement for the £20 bicycle that I scrapped earlier. I could need a everyday vintage bicycle, that can be used during the winter months. A good bicycle in a used condition, where salt and mud do not matter for the finish of the paint. Perhaps even mount the studded tires I bought a few years back, so it will be more secure to ride on icy roads. We decided to meet up in his basement storage for a closer look at the new project.

The bicycle is an Fram made in Uppsala. The name fram is a Swedish word for “forward”, as in getting forward. It was made in about 1941-1942 according to the stamp on the German Sachs-Fichtel made Torpedo hub. It had been standing in a barn the last 30 years so I guess the colour is grey, but a good cleaning will tell more accurately.


Fram, made in Uppsala during the second world war about 1941-1942


An old sticker “verkstad” (work shop), most likely a local shop where the bicycle was sold

The bicycle turned out to be in more or less an complete original condition. But the tires had since long rotted, there were rust on all the chrome parts like handlebars, stems and bearing cups after the years in storage. The saddle as the front light was missing. But it had the original Fram design luggage rack and all the brand decals still intact. It turned out to be a great project for me. I decided to go for it!


Different luggage rack design, but all original


Lovely Ford inspired design on the brand name. The Versol gearing system is visible, it is not connected, only mounted

Since I got the £20 bicycle I had a vintage Versol Swiss made gear system laying around. It did not fit on the old £20 bicycle frame that was made in the 1930’s. The gear is supposed to be fitted in the rear drop-outs. But it fits this Fram frame made in the 1940’s like a glove.

So just for fun, I mounted it just to see if it would work. I am not to sure if I should use the gear system. Those kind of systems does not work so well with a brake in the hub. The chain tends to jump gears while braking and making it an adventure with high stakes. But, the last word has not been said yet about the Versol. After all, it looks rather dashing on the frame.

The second thing I did was to remove the rotten tires that were covered with dust, grime and bugs from the time in the barn.


Versol gear shifter. It looks really great on the frame


The city and name of the founder of the Fram brand. “Fram – A-B Josef Eriksson, Uppsala”

The next step is to clean and disassembly the entire bicycle for cleaning and greasing up all those bearings with grease from the 1940’s. There is always something to do. But on the bright side, now I have something to do during those long, dark winter months in the snowy and cold north.

There is no rush, but part two will follow.

Stockholm Bike in tweed 2018

September is the month of tweed and bicycles. First it was Tweed Run Fredrikstad in Norway then it was Malmö Tweed Ride in south of Sweden. Are there any others? Of course.

When looking in my calender. There was four different tweed events in September 2018, I wanted to attend to. It turned out so I only could participate in three of the events I had in my calender. Due to a promise, I made a year ago, I could not attend to the Uppsala Vintage Biking the 8th of September. It was a shame because later on I heard from some people that I was missed in Uppsala. Next year, let us hope that the date will not collide with any other event.

The latest tweed event I attended to in September, was the annual Bike In Tweed event in Stockholm the 22nd of September. It is held in the town where I live, practical for me, it is not a problem to attend. For the other events, I often need to plan to arrange some sort of bicycle transport. But luckily not for the Stockholm event.

I usually use my Hermes bicycle from 1956, on all tweed events where it is possible to transport the bicycle. It is a good and reliable bicycle made in mid 1950’s, back when they really knew all small details that makes a perfect bicycle. I will mention all details about the bicycle in a future post.

But when attending to Bike In Tweed, I borrowed the Hermes bicycle to a friend (who have not got a vintage bicycle). With the Hermes gone, I needed to use a different bicycle. I have some bicycles to choose from in my storage. But which one to choose?

Should I use the grey Nordstjärnan from 1930’s? After all, it is made in Stockholm. Perhaps I should use the green Snabb made in the 1940’s instead? It is my jewel in the crown, it got many parts mounted from my grandfathers old bicycle. Or should I use the red Ridax? A slight problem was that it was not finished renovated, so it is still unusable. Or should I be brave and use the Swedish army bicycle? With a design to last 100 years?


Simply to many bicycles to choose from

The final decision was made the night before the event. I chose the black sporty Crescent from 1930’s. The weather forecast for the day of the event was sunny and +15 degrees. In other words, perfect weather for a minimalistic bicycle without mudguards. On the same night I packed a bag with sandwiches and something to drink during the day of the event. The tweed jacket was decorated with pins from other tweed events. The trousers were brushed, my shoes polished and the small flask was filled. I was ready for Bike In Tweed!

The day of the event started with meeting up with some fellow tweedian friends for a wonderful breakfast. We are a gang that used to meet at an café before the tweed events earlier. But sadly they have renovated the café, sadly the warm, welcoming feeling we liked so much has now gone away.

Instead, the friends decided to treat us with a magical breakfast at their home. Healthy smoothies, fresh bread, different brands of cheese, vegetables, tea, egg and bacon. What a wonderful and excellent start on a day filled with bicycle riding. The route of the event is long, about 23 kilometres. But we also rides our bicycles to the event in the city and home again, so we can add almost 10 kilometres extra. The breakfast was a good energy boost for the long ride.


Breakfast at fellow tweedians, a breakfast suitable for any elite cyclist (and tweed cyclists of course)

After the breakfast at 10 in the morning it was time to ride our bicycles into the city. Join the pre-start meet up and socialize at Everts Taubes terass located on Riddarholmen before the start at noon. As we got closer to the old town and Riddarholmen in the centre of Stockholm we saw other tweed riders heading the same way. There were some familiar faces, waves, greetings and smiles all the way. I even meet a fellow tweedian from Malmö that I met the week before.

We arrived at Evert Taubes terass and it was already lots of people there admiring each others bicycles and tweed clothes. After some searching and asking around, we found the registration desk and got our starting numbers.


Lovely ladies in line for registration

This year it was a new design for the number cards. They looked like playing cards and had two holes on the side for fastening. There was some confusion on how to fasten the numbers on the bicycles. Many riders fastened their cards with zip ties in the spokes of the wheels. But since they had only holes on one side, the cards fluttered in the wind. I decided to put my card on the frame, sideways it seemed to work better.


The odd way to fasten the number card to the frame on my Hermes bicycle


The cue for having our start photographs taken

After registration we was directed to a new cue for the start photos. This year they decided to use the view over the waters with Stockholm city hall as background for our portraits. It was windy and rather difficult to hear the instructions. But I guess the photo session went well. I have not yet seen the photos so far. After the photo session we all talked and were waiting for the start.


View overlooking Stockholm city hall


A young tweedian with fantastic colours on the bicycle and clothes. Even the flowers in the basket matches.


I helped the elegant and lovely Lucie with a struggling dynamo to her front light


Scramble! Time for start, ladies and gentlemen to your bicycles

Due to some delays we started a bit late than schedule. But now we were on our way, the official start of the 2018 Stockholm Bike In Tweed.

The route was about the same as last year. First up to Slussen and then down on Söder Mälarstrand while overlooking the waters of Riddarfjärden. Across Södermalm to the picnic that was located up at Vitabergsparken. For some reason the picnic this year was moved from Rålambshovparkens friluftsteater (open air theatre) where we usually have our picnic to Vitabergsparken. That is also an open air theatre.  Open air theatres are good places to take an group photo of us all. But also for having picnic.


Riding along Söder Mälarstrand with view of the city hall

When taking a photo of a bicycle, there is an unwritten rule. The chain guard should always face the camera. But due to the confusion, many of the riders went up the seats of the theatre with the bicycles facing the wrong way. When we all were standing up there, among bicycles and narrow benches and after lifting vintage bicycles, that are made in the same material as old hospital beds. We all were quite hot and out of breath.

When we were standing there. There was an request to turn the bicycles around so the chain guards was visible towards the camera. The dance of bicycles started, moving, turning, shifting heavy iron horses. Then smile and smile again. Smile one more time! Then the photography session was over and the picnic could start. The sandwiches and drink was really tasty and needed.


Lining up for the group photo, trying to hear the instructions over the music and wind


Bohemian tweedian, reflecting while smoking at Vitabergsparken

Time to get going, the break was over. We went down the hillsm heading to the south parts of Södermalm and the shore of Årstaviken. As last year, we went along the shoreline towards Hornstull and the dreaded Västerbron. A famous bridge in Stockholm that really takes it toll on bicyclists using single geared vintage bicycles. Due to the really strong winds this year it was really challenging. The strong winds was an aftermath of a storm that passed Stockholm the day before.

Hang on to your hats and caps. It is windy at the top to say the least! Due to the wind I did not dare to take any photos up on the bridge. I was afraid that the camera would have blown away.


Heading towards the shoreline of Årstaviken


Climbing the steep crossing at Rålambshov park

The bridge ends at the Rålambshov park from there we all needed to walk with our bicycles over a walkway over a road with heavy traffic. The ride continued after that up to Fridhemsplan and St:Eriksgatan. But here a few others and I decided to brake off from the rest of the group. We had seen the planned route a few days earlier and noticed there was plans to take the route via Karlbergs slott, a castle where there usually is a short break before cycling up the labyrinth of pathways before heading up to St:Eriksplan.

Our thoughts was that this particular stretch of the route is difficult, if not dangerous. It is really narrow and having about 200 bicyclists, some very young, some very old, peddling up that stretch. Is not a good section of the route. So instead of joining the fellow tweedians we simply took a short cut. That gave us a short break and a moment of talking. 30 minutes later we noticed the rest coming down the street. We were a bit sneaky and naughty…


A short break, while sneaking away from the group

After joining the group we headed down to one of the main streets in Stockholm city, Sveavägen. We used the entire line on the street, cars could not pass, people was standing along the way and waved to us. We replied with waves and ringing our bicycle bells.The route continued on Valhallavägen and the ally in the middle between the roads.

We crossed the bridge over to Djurgården. Now it was only a short way to the finish line. The finish was located at Hasselbacken restaurant as last year, it is a really nice place with a great view of Stockholm from the terrace. When we arrived there was a really good jazz group playing songs on the terrace. A really nice place with a great view of Stockholm.


Getting close to the finish line

We arrived about 45 minutes late, so it felt like the staff at the restaurant had been waiting for us. Perhaps there was some misunderstanding with times or something else. Due to the long route and the many uphill, many of us were really exhausted and tired at the finish line so the party after the ride was a bit damped.

There was a price ceremony for best dressed man, lady and best looking bicycle. New for this year was that they presented three nominees for each price. For some strange reasons I missed the ceremony completely. Many riders left rather quickly after the price ceremony, that was held almost right away after we all had parked our bicycles.

After the price ceremony we handed in our meal and drink tickets had a great dinner and talked with other tweedians. The main dinner was Wallenbergare, a classic Swedish dish made of finely minced meat balls (no, not köttbullar different meat and spices) with mashed potatoes and gravy. Tasty!


Cheers

Later that evening we decided to start our journey back home. A short trip to the ferry from Djurgården to Slussen and the long way home started. Of course with pit stops for conversation and small drinks along the way.


On the ferry across the waters towards Slussen


Evening view of Stockholm

It was a long route, a bit to long this year. Some stretches and sections of the route was improved, some remained and cause troubles. I heard from some tweedians that they wished a different route. Some because the route was demanding and not a leisure event. Others wanted to see new parts of Stockholm. We all have to see what will happen next year. I salute and extends my thanks for Bike In Tweed 2018. Now, the question is: What bicycle will I use on Bike In Tweed 2019?


Thoughts behind the handlebars on the way home after a long and fun day, cheers and happy tweed!  

The black bicycle, part 6

As I have mentioned in an earlier post. My first intention was to build the bicycle as a kind of homage to the old bicycle that I remembered from my childhood. An old worn bicycle painted black, reliable and made to be used all year around.

I have built a bicycle that is not like a regular bicycle generally speaking. There are no mudguards, no rear luggage rack to place suitcases or a chainguard. The bicycle also have narrow pedals, not the broad ones that are easy to get a good grip on. To be honest, the bicycle I have created looks more like a 1930’s racer.


The new look…


…is really great

Why then is it not a racer, I hear you ask?  Well, it is painfully simply.

Firstly due to the chain wheel. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I got it from the old bicycle at an auction last year and used it as a donor bicycle for parts that were needed. The chain wheel is a original Crescent wheel. But it is a standard wheel with only 48 teeth.

The sporty Crescent racers from that era used almost all only chain-wheels with 52 teeth. The mission of trying to find a used 52 teeth wheel from 1930’s today, is rather difficult, if not impossible.

Not to mention the problems of finding mudguards that was used on the racers of that era. Or any mudguards that fits the frame and style. I have looked around, asked on vintage bicycle sites, looked in storages of used bicycle shops for a pair of mudguards that fits. Both in size and in style with the Crescent frame. No luck at all so far.


48 teeth chain-wheel with narrow pedals


I used a pair of vintage Nymans made pedals that I had laying in a drawer, they fit the general look

I decided to keep the bicycle as it is. It is not not the black painted vintage bicycle from 1930’s I was longing for. But it is A vintage bicycle from 1930’s, that someone have painted black many years ago.

I fitted the old frame with parts from the 1930’s that I had laying around. Worn parts that fits the style of the bicycle. For example the black painted wooden grips on the handlebar, where the brass is showing beneath the metal plating on the end parts.

The scratched and oxidized bicycle bell on the handlebar is a masterpiece in design by itself with its red and white emblem still intact. Mounted on the frame is an 1930’s battery box made by Berko.  I wound the cloth covered cords around the frame to complete the 1930’s look. From the battery pack, one cord leads to the front light and one leads to the rear light. The entire set up make the bicycle seem to go faster. If not, more dangerous.


Bicycle bell with Lindblads emblem and wooden grip on the handlebar


The 1920’s style square bolt on the stem, the handlebar is modern. It is from 1940’s.


A stem clamp I reused. Made by Wiklunds, a different Stockholm based bicycle maker in the 1930’s.

I replaced the modern Brooks saddle with an old worn vintage saddle with double springs and the classic spring loop in the front. Or a “safety pin” saddle, as they were called back then. By changing the saddle I could use the original “T” shaped seat post from 1930’s. Now the entire bicycle looks like it has been in storage since the early 1930’s.


Look at those impressive springs, this is a very comfortable saddle. Also notice the “t” shaped saddle post

After the work I did on the bicycle, taking every part of the bicycle into pices, pedals, frame, crank-set, front fork all the ball bearings in the crank case and front fork. The same procedure with the front and rear hubs. Clean, lubricate and mount them after checking for wear and tear and adding a small drop of oil on the threads on nuts and bolts.

The black HF-110 Duro tires looks great and having the rear hub sprocket changed along with the chain, tightening screws and adjustments. The bicycle was almost ready. The very last thing I needed to do was to add a small drop of oil to the metal parts on the saddle. They were causing friction and made a irritating squeaking noise whenever I sat on the saddle. We can not have squeaking noises when riding a bicycle. A small drop of oil is often the solution.


Close up of the winded cord along the frame and the Berko headlight

I took a long test ride and tried the bicycle out a few days ago. My first impressions are that it is a really good bicycle. When I was going down a hill, the entire bicycle seemed to transform itself into an arrow. It was travelling straight, fast and silent. The hubs were working like a charm, I must have done a great job when refurbish them. While riding along the streets, the only sound possible to notice from the bicycle was the sound of the tires spinning on the the tarmac.

I think this bicycle is a “keeper” for me. It is a great bicycle after all. But for it to be a really, really great bicycle. I would like to change the front chain wheel to the larger 52 teeth instead of the current one with 48 teeth. Why? Well, a larger front chain wheel looks better and it was they used back then.

It was not bad, for a bicycle created with parts that I had laying around or got fairly cheep. I feel that the old Crescent frame that was made by Lindblads in Stockholm back in late 1920’s got a second chance.

The black bicycle simply become the “Black arrow” in a way. Silent, fast and looking sleek as can be. The quick release nuts on the wheels sure give away that this bicycle will go fast. Everyone knows that a set of wheels with quick release nuts spells “sport” and goes fast, right?


Detail of the rear light, a nice facet shaped glass.

But in fairness, it is not the black bicycle I was looking for. Perhaps the black bicycle of my dreams, is just a dream. Created by memories from the days when my father was taking a ride to visit my grandparents cottage outside the city while I was sitting on the frame and enjoying the breeze.

For me it all is about memories of summer holidays. Eating raspberry’s straight from the bushes while laying in the grass looking at the sky. Listening to the sounds of the forest and the wildlife and riding that black old bicycle.

Perhaps it all should remain as memories, a dream from my childhood. After all, it was many years ago and those long, raspberry eating, summer days will never return.

Perhaps the old black bicycle still exists? Who knows.

 

Music and Tweed

I bought a new record player.

Well, to be honest. It is not this years model, not even the last year model. In fact it is a Cremona Rex for those old 75rpm shellac records, perhaps made in the 1940’s. A record player that is discretely and conveniently placed in a suitcase for easier transport. Easy to travel with, or why not bring it along on a bicycle trip?


Cremona Rex, hand cranked shellac record player from the 1940’s.

Back then it was very common to travel around on a bicycle. For shorter travels the bicycle was an excellent transportation. Cheep to maintain, easy to handle and almost everyone had a bicycle. So why not take the bicycle and pedal out on the country side. Watch some cows, look at the horses and point at the farmers.

When stopping for a sandwich and a coffee in some green meadow. Instead of enjoying the scenery you can destroy the calm and ruin the sound of nature by cranking up the old record player and put on the latest noise and screams from the famous artists at the time of the 1930’s and 1940’s.


“Sonora”, the major Swedish record company in the day.


Singing in the rain, with Jack Hylton and his Orchestra.

While listening to all the hizzing, crackling and popping from the record player. Listeners are invited to dance and enjoying a good afternoon. But there is a slight disadvantages with the old 75rpm records.

Firstly, they are heavy! In fact, in Sweden they are even officially called “stone slates”.
Secondly, there is one song on one side and a different song on the other side. Two songs per record. So if you want to listen to 10 songs, you need 5 records.
Thirdly, comes the question is where to storage them when riding a bicycle. There is a small compartment in the record players lid.

Transportation is a serious issue and a huge disadvantage with these “stone slates”. Sadly they are not made of stone, instead they are made from shellac compounds that makes them extremely brittle and fragile. When transporting a bunch of shellac records there is a enormous risk of breaking some records. Not only by careless handling, but the sheer pressure by stacking many records on top of each other is a danger.


A small mishap while transportation resulted in a cracked record.


This is not portable in the way we are thinking by standards of today

Suddenly the afternoon tea dance is suddenly reduced from 10 songs, to perhaps 6 songs, or even 4 songs depending the storage ability. That is not much dancing before the afternoon tea room dance becomes rather boring.

Today there are much more sturdy things available on the market. For example there are blue-tooth connected speakers that are chargeable and can play music up to 15 hours straight. Connected to a smart-phone with a music service for example Spotify. You can play music for days without playing the same song twice.

It sure is a difference from the portable record player with its shellac records. In this case I can even say that there is no advantages with a manually, hand cranked old record player. Well there is one advantage, you get exercise while cranking up the spring that operates the turntable.


New meets old

I started the song “After you´ve gone” with Svend Asmussen on my iPhone, connected the blue-tooth speaker and listened to the quality and volume. I have the same song on a original shellac record. I compared the both recordings and sounds. The feeling of cranking up the record player by hand was fun. But you need to crank the turntable spring at least every two songs to maintain a good speed on the record. You need to check the stylus, is it good? Do it need to be replaced? After all, a stylus has a range of 20 plays before it becomes to blunt. The noise from the record made it almost impossible to hear the song at all.

But with the modern set-up. I can adjust the volume, change tone, skip songs and so on. If the devices are charged you have hours of music.


The modern set-up


Lucky me, I have a box of Original Decca styluses.

In conclusion. The Cremona Rex record player sure looks the part when starting to play shellac records. It is a fun thing to use. After all it is 95% show and 5% enjoyment.

Instead of the modern set-up. That is both easy to carry and simple to maintain. It is so much better to bring a water proof blue-tooth speaker to the afternoon tea dance in the meadow. After all, there is no need to change records every third minute. My Spotify list with jazz and dance music from the 1930’s and  1940’s plays for 24 hours straight.

That is a lot of dancing.

 

If you like to listen to my play list: