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!  

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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.

 

Spring cleaning

It was a long winter!

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

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


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

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

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


A ride in the first days of spring

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

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


Just finished washing the 1956 Hermes at the petrol station.

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

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


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

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

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


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


Nordstjärnan in the sunlight