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

Advertisements

Looking back at 2018

It is January 2019!

It feels like it was only a moment ago when I attended all those Tweed events 2018, or was it? At least that is how it feels for me looking back, time moves really fast so it seems. I really hope all readers are well and that 2019 will be a really great year for all of us in every way possible!


2018 started with the Helsinki Winter Tweed event in February

This year as the last year will be a year filled with all sorts of tweed events and bicycling. Among some rides and events, there is the Stockholm Bike in Tweed event in September, Malmö, Gothenburg, Uppsala and Enskede to only mention some in Sweden. If everything goes as planed, I will have some reviews with some great images from odd places to publish during the year on this blog.


One hot Saturday in May I attended the original Tweed Run in London, it was the 10th year anniversary of the event

But to a more serious and a bit sad section in this post. Perhaps an reflection of the situation is a better description for the following text.

I do not have any garage or similar place for storage. Neither am I living at the country side with possibilities to store bits and pieces in cottages or barns. My options for storage at the present is an 2 by 3 meters large (small) basement storage unit. In that space, old things, clothes, “good to have things” and 7 bicycles with parts and tools have to get along.

The reality of the lack of space really struck me when I could not even change an flat tire on one bicycle without rearrange this entire storage unit. An constant game of “that box needs to go there and the bicycle needs to be lifted up and removed-puzzle”. In short I decided to sell some of my bicycles to create space. But also to be able to focus on only 2 or 3 bicycles instead of 8 or 9 bicycles, as I do now.


In the beginning of September I went to Norway and the Fredrikstad Tweed Run for a really lovely event

The lengthy process of selecting which one of my vintage bicycles I wanted to sell was difficult. After all, I have renovated them all and used them in different tweed events. But in the end, after giving it much though, I came to an decision on what to do.

I know a fellow bicycle rider and tweed-maniac that also has some bicycles he want to sell. He fixes up old wrecks and wants to sell some finished ones to get some new projects going. He agreed to help me sell my bicycles this spring. There are not so much money in selling my vintage bicycles. They are not in absolute original or pristine condition. My exaptations to make a profit is very low, as long as someone will enjoy them it is fine.


A few weeks later in September it was time for Malmö Tweed Ride, it was my third time there

In an earlier post, I mentioned the dream for the black bicycle from my childhood. The by now old story of the bicycle my father used when I was a kid. It turns out that the fellow tweedian has an old worn black vintage bicycle, that is fairly complete with all parts. Oddly it happens to be an Stockholm made Crescent from about the years 1927 to 1931. The same years as my black Crescent, that I build from vintage parts. So I think that instead of having almost 10 bicycles standing in my and other basements. I perhaps should focus on those two Crescents instead, one with luggage rack, chain guard and mudguards. The other, a more sporty version.

It feels like that is a way to go. But as always, more updates later on.


In the end of September Stockholm Bike in Tweed was held, sadly that was a rather chaotic and stressful event

To end this post on a positive note. Let us all hope that 2019 will be an eventful year filled with tweed and bicycles for us all. No matter where we are. Besides, an bicycle is modern today. It is environmental friendly, gives health and fresh air (often) and when attending tweed events. Lots of smiles and happiness.

Keep on bicycling!


In October it was 2018 last event, the Enskede Tweed event “Höstrusket” along the vibrant colours of the autumn

 

Enskede Tweed 2018 (höstrusket)

It is strange, that everyone has their vintage tweed and bicycle events in the middle of summer. When the weather is as hot as can be. Well, almost everyone does anyway. Helsinki has their event in the middle of the icy winter instead. Why can there not be an event in the spring or in the autumn when the weather is less, extreme?

That is when Enskede Tweed enters. Last year we had a spring event, but this year we decided to have an event in the autumn instead. The event was quickly named höstrusket. It is a Swedish description of the kind of weather in the autumn with lots of rain, yellow leaves on the trees and puddles on the ground. In short, it is a wool-sweater kind of weather.

The date was set to 14th of October. We all had prepared for the real autumn with rain, woollen sweaters, heavy tweed jackets. Some had even planed to use wellingtons and a macintosh. But what happened? The Indian summer came along and treated us with a sunny and warm day instead. The summer tweed and light shoes had to be taken out from the closet again.


Heading towards the meet up

It is tradition that we all meet at the former Gamla Enskede Bageri (old Enskede bakery), now Robin Delselius Bageri, located in the Garden town of Enskede, as it once was called, at noon. The schedule was planned that we had one hour of gathering before the start at one o’clock. There was plenty of time for lunch or a cup of coffee at the bakery/café.


At the café, waiting for the others to arrive


Rex tandem, with the number plate from Stockholm Bike In Tweed still attached

Some of our members wanted to have a quick lunch at the café, specially becasue they have great vegan alternatives on the menu. But on this day, everything vegan was out. They had some salads, but they contained feta-cheese. That was a disappointment for our members.

To be honest, we are missing the old bakery and café. It was a more genuine and rustic feel to it. robust wooden tables and chairs. A section inside where the bakery was located. You could watch them bake the bread and buns. Now it is more a coffee shop feel to the place. But at least we had some coffee and cinnamon buns while making some last minutes adjustments before the start.

At one o’clock all the participants was ready and we began our route around different parts of Enskede.

We duplicated the route from last year. We passed Enskede church and the old town-houses, that was some of the first ones ever built in Sweden. The entire part of Gamla Enskede (Old Enskede) is designed around 1909-1915, so there are many lovely old villas with nice architectural details to look at.

Our ride continued through Gamla Enskede and headed down to Sockenvägen, the large road that leads up from Old Enskede to the main entrance of Skogskyrkogården (the forest cemetery). But instead of going inside the main entrance, we followed the road ahead. Passing the former tram depot from the 1930’s, it was demolished back in mid 1980’s only to be replaced with those horrible 1980’s style flats.


Yellow leaves

A bit further down the road we stopped at the crossing and took a look at the classic neon sign of “Barnvagnsfabriken” that is located on a building at the crossing. Back in the day it was a pram factory and the old vintage neon sign is still up, considering that the factory closed in the 1990’s. Today it is an Italian restaurant located at the premisses.

We turned right and headed down the road that once was the main road from Stockholm to the countryside before they built the highway in the 1960’s. Today it is a nice calm road with large trees on each side of the road. The road follows the cemetery wall.


The old main road, Tyresövägen


Peacefully riding along

We arrived at a new crossroad where an gasoline station once was located when I was a kid. Today there is modern small flats on that location. We turned right and entered the cemetery and rode along Vårhimmesvägen to the exit on the other side of the cemetery. While riding our bicycles inside the forest cemetery we quietly talked and listened to the wind in the trees and the birds singing. Next year we might take a longer route inside the cemetery, it was really peaceful and quiet.


Vårhimmelsvägen, Skogskyrkogården, (Spring-sky-road, Forest cemetery)


All is still and quiet, a piece of Sweden’s deep forests

After exiting the cemetery we went over the highway on an overpass. There we headed down into Tallkrogen. An area that was built in the early 1930’s by people who wanted to have their own homes. After paying a small fee they got a loan and permission to build a small house, the type of houses were called Egnahem “own home” and was founded by Egnahemsbyrån “own homes agency”. There are some areas like this around Sweden from that era, but they are mainly in Stockholm due to the expansion of population in the 1920’s. The town/city of Stockholm bought huge areas from old mansions. It was old farm land and cottages that was converted into entire new population areas.

They all was in reach of the planned subway system, that started to run in 1950. The name Tallkrogen can be translated to “pine pub” and comes from an old inn that was located there back in the 1700’s. Many of these areas has names from the olden days of mansions and cottages, the heritage lives on in the names.

When exiting Tallkrogen and entering the next area, called Svedmyra. That is also a old cottage name that still lives on. There is an small patch of grass between the houses. We had decided to have a short break there with a picnic, it was a nice break with refreshments and a well deserved rest for some of us that were slightly hungover.


Time for a break


More stickers on the Hermes


The handmade sticker for the event, absolutely wonderful drawing


Enjoying the sun

After the rest we started the last leg of the route. It went from Svedmyra and the 1950’s area with flats and into the area of Stureby. The houses in this area was also built on old farm land. But a few years earlier the other areas. It was built in 1920’s so there is interesting architecture. More of individual designs of the houses. We kept peddling on, passing Strureby and crossing the main road and heading down in to the part that is called Enskedefältet (Enskede field) where they built houses just as in Tallkrongen, but only with a different type of houses.


Heading down to Enskede fältet (Enskede field)

The interesting part with this area is that all streets are named after areas in the Baltic’s that once belonged to Sweden. Finland street, Estonia street and so on. After crossing Enskedefältet we finally arrived at the mansion of Enskede gård. The mansion still stands and are take care of. There we gathered around for a group photo to celibate the end of 2018 Enksede Tweed.


Small, but enthusiastic group of tweed riders


A lovely autumn day

After the event we all went to have a cold beer in the garden of Enskede Värdshus (Enskede inn). It was tasty and it was really great to sit and talk. Sadly the inn closed early. It was after autumn and there are not so many guest at that time of year.


Heading down to Enskede värdshus (Enskede inn)


Time for a drink after the finish

It was a great event, we all were pleased and said it was not the last time Enskede Tweed was held. In fact, when we went on our way later on, we meet some participants from other tweed events. They were out just walking around when we happened to passing by. It turned out that they wanted to join Enskede Tweed next time.

Perhaps it will be a popular event? The main question is, will the next event be a spring or autumn event?

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:

 

Winter Tweed Run Helsinki 2018

February, a month of snow and cold in the north.

What can you do at this time of the year? You could perhaps sit in front of a fireplace, reading a book and enjoying a read a cup of hot coco. Or you could perhaps take the time to repair your bicycles for the next season with lovely summer rides on tracks in the forest.

All that is for amateurs!

What me and a good friend decided to do was that we took a trip to Finland to join the 2018 Helsinki Winter Tweed run. This was the 8th year they held this event and the 2nd time I was there. Of course the Winter Tweed event is held in February, it is the coldest month of the year and that is the general idea with the event. It is a fun and brilliant event.


Boarding the cruise ship in Stockholm with destination Helsinki.

A few hours before the event started on Sunday the 11th we got invited to a fellow vintage bicycle owner that has been in Stockholm on Bike in Tweed, and that I met last year in Helsinki too. We visited his garage to make some final adjustments on our bicycles and to have a drink.


Leaving the hotel in central Helsinki.

Then it was time to join the others tweed riders at Senaatintori in central Helsinki at 1 o’clock. On our way there we were riding on the snowy streets of the city and were crossing tram tracks. I told my friend to be careful with the tracks. If your wheels slips on the tracks or if the wheels slides down into the tracks groove it can be dangerous. You could crash and injure yourself badly. So be careful!

Less that 1 minute after I said that I got stuck with my front wheel in the tram tracks. The only damage was on my own pride and the front tire on the bicycle. The grey tire got a new interesting colour. An odd shade of Helsinki tram track rust brown.


Tram track and an front wheel with in a odd shade of rust brown.

At Senaatintori we joined the other winter tweed riders, there were about 40 people there with both vintage and new bicycles. Tweeds suits mixed with vintage clothes suited for winter. It was nice to see old friends again. There was were we met the organizers that handed out stickers, shouting in their vintage megaphone, talking to people and looking at old bicycles. I got a sticker with the logo of this years event, I placed it on the frame on the Hermes bicycle along the sticker from last year. It starts to look like a well traveled bicycle with the stickers on the frame.


One more sticker, a well travelled bicycle. It is a shame I do not have stickers from the other events I have participated with this bicycle.

Then it was time for the traditional group photo, we all tried to go up the stairs to Helsinki cathedral, but it was not cleared from snow so it was an adventure just to try standing still instead of sliding down the stairs in a ski jumping fashion.

I helped a lady with her bicycle, she was slowly gliding down holding her vintage bicycle. Somehow she managed to stand still for the photo. But we were all laughing and having a good time all the same.


Senaatintori.


Vintage and modern bicycles, tweed and modern cloths. The fun is still the same.


Documentary time.


The start-up line.

After the photo was taken it was time to leave. This year there was a fellow who wanted to make a documentary about the event so we did a victory lap on the square before leaving. He wanted top film us riding out bicycles.  The route that followed was the same as last time, going south out of the centre passing Vanha kauppahalli, the old market at the habour. on our way to the Olympic ferry terminal.

We were following the coastline, passing Eira and up along the cemetery to the west coastline of Helsinki. Then to arrive at café Regatta where it was time for a break where we could and have a coffee and a bun. From the café we noticed real Finns take wither baths in a hole in the ice. I did not mind the -5 degrees in the air, but taking a swim? There are limits even to me.


Leaving Senaatintori and heading south.


Towards Eira, the mythical place (film reference to “Calamari  union” by Aki Kaurismäki).


The bay of Lapinlahti, going north to Café Regatta.


Parking at the café.


Nice details on a Hermes bicycle.


Modern and old bicycles.

Now the official winter tweed event was over. The unofficial after party took over. This year the party was held in a new location. We were about 30 riders that joined up to leave for the after party. We went up icy hills, rode on snow free bicycle lanes and went down slippery streets with tram tracks.

On one of the bicycle lanes one of the riders suddenly took a fall. We all stopped to check, it looked really bad but the rider was fine and we all started again. We bicycled along Tölöviken and saw Linnanmäki, the amusement park across the bay. It all looks very different in the winter, no people sitting in the grass and having picnics. Only pet owners with scarves and hats rushing around trying to avoid the winter. Looking bewildered as 30 tweed dressed bicycle riders passes ringing their bells and honking old horns.


View from the handlebars on one of the few snow free bicycle paths.

Almost at the final destination we turned into a steep down hill street that had tram tracks. One of the young riders got stuck with her front wheel in the tracks and took a very nasty fall. I was a bit behind her and noticed how she fell. She got help right away from her company. For me to avoid the tracks and crashing I decided to let my bicycle roll on and break a bit further down, I stopped and looked up the hill. The girl seemed to be all right the handlebars on the bicycle was shifted but everything looked fine. That is the advantage of being young, a fall is not so bad the body is made of rubber. When we gets older and taking a fall it is like dropping a bag of potatoes…

We continued to our destination where we all gathered around the organizers. We were informed that there was pea soup and hot punch inside, refreshments of other sorts to. Later that evening there would be live music preformed by the organizers! It was really nice to go inside and have a hot plate of soup and have the tip of the nose recover from the cold winter outside. The rest of the evening was filled with drinks, laughs and wonderful music!

Sadly everything comes to an end. After saying a heartfelt goodbye to our lovely hosts we mounted our bicycles and started our journey back to the centre of Helsinki in the dark February winter night.

Again, thank you for a great time and a lovely event!


Waiting to board the cruise ship back to Stockholm.


Goodbye for this time. See you soon.