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

 

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The winter project, part 2 (Fram bicycle)

What to do when Christmas season is getting close? Should I clean the flat? Buy a Christmas tree? Or even do the national sport of run around in shops, searching for last minute Christmas gifts while wrestling people?

This year I think I made the perfect choice. I simply went down to the basement for an relaxing session with my winter project. The Uppsala made Fram bicycle I mentioned in an earlier post. It was nice and calm to sit in the basement while listening to vintage music and repairing vintage bicycles, avoiding the ever present hysteria in the city.

Long ago I created a playlist called ‘Smoke rings‘ on the musical streaming service Spotify. That is an playlist with mostly European jazz, swing and dancehall music from 1930’s up to 1950’s. In short, perfect selection of music to get in the mood (see what I did there?) while servicing and repairing and old bicycles.


The Fram made in Uppsala about 1942 is now almost complete.


Brooks B66 saddle, rusty old ASEA headlight with cracked glass, I also found an original mudguard emblem at an auction.

First of all, the Fram bicycle needed a good cleaning after, what I suspect, being in a barn for the most part of the latest 50 years. Spider webs, dust, bird droppings, more dust, occasional insects, old mud, did I mention even more dust, was covering the entire bicycle. Off to the car wash with the entire bicycle. After degreasing, washing, shampooing, rinsing and a coat of wax later the Fram looks rather nice. Still rusty, but cleaner.


Old and used, but can still provide many happy miles of riding.

After returning the bicycle to my basement, I started to look it over, it was in a good original condition. I decided there was no need to dismount and grease all the bearings, they all seemed to be in working order. But of course, the front hub and rear hub with the brake will get an overhaul later in the spring. It is better to be safe than sorry, after all. The possibility to break is an overall good option to have. The cranks felt firm and had no strange sounds or odd feel to them when I turned them over. The same was for the pedals and front fork bearings. All bearings were surprisingly smooth and fine.

The worst rust damages on the entire bicycle was found on the handlebars and stem. The rust was caused by the chrome coating had flaked off many years ago and exposed the metal underneath. I looked in my old box of various parts. I knew that I had an old handlebar there, it is not the original shape. But I prefer the higher angle of handlebars rather than the original low ones. It makes the bicycle ride, a more gentlemanly way of promenade cycling. No laying double folded over the handlebars for racing or the sensation of speed. Sitting straight is the bees-knees.


Well worn 1940’s wooden grip

I had a pair of old wooden grips in a drawer. They were once painted silver. But after years of wear and tear, the paint had cracked. I sanded them down and oiled the wood for a more natural look instead. In the box of parts I also found the ASEA dynamo and the old cracked ASEA head light that I used on the £20 bicycle.

I also found a saddle in that bottomless box, sadly it was a fairly modern Brooks B66 saddle. But it fitted the overall look so I mounted it on the bicycle as well. The same went for the vintage saddle bags in canvas that I never got around to use. Mounted on the luggage rack, they fit the look perfectly as well.


The canvas bags looks like they were made for the bicycle. Not impossible, since the might be the same age.


Perhaps I will add an Stockholm license plate from the 1940’s to complete the look?

The idea I had for the Fram was to mount studded winter tires so I could use the bicycle when it is snowy and icy outside. A short ride in snow is no problem, store the bicycle in a warm place does the trick to prevent rust, or in this case. More rust, since the rims were already slightly rusty.


Fitting a studded winter tire to the front wheel, so far so good.

There is a few more dangers of using old bicycles, or bicycles in general when it is cold. The possibility for moist getting inside the rims and cranks are bigger on the winter when snow gets stuck on the bicycle. When the snow melts the water seeps inside the parts. If it is cold at night the water can freeze and transform to ice. Ice expands, so rims and other parts can crack. Not always, but it can happen. When a bicycle is in a worn condition like the Fram from 1940’s, I feel it unnecessary to chance.


When riding in snow it is important to storage the vintage bicycle in a warm place over night. Not leave it outside. On the photo, 1950’s Crescent left for weeks outside.

I mounted a winter tire on the front wheel and tried if it would fit in the fork, it all seemed to work out. But the rear wheel had some surprises in store for me. First of all, the rear wheel was slightly warped and wobbly. I can live with that. But the issue that made me rethink the decision to use winter tires, was that the wheel sits in an slight angle. Most likely because at some time in its earlier life the rear wheel meet a side walk curb or equal unforgiving edge. The rim is dented on a 5 centimetre long area, so much so that the spoke that holds that part of the rim has been bent and makes the wheel wobble and jump when turning.

Because of that, when I tried the wheel in the frame with the wider winter tire mounted, the tire got stuck against the frame. It did not matter how much I tried to adjust the wheel, sideways, up, down, forward, backwards. It always got stuck against the frame. Sadly I had to abandon the winter cycling plans and mounted narrower standard tires instead. Then it all worked just great.


As an example of an rusty rim: The front wheel of the £20 bicycle that was a complete wreck. The original rim tape that was made in cotton had soaked up water and created rust over the years. The Fram rims just had some surface rust, nothing dangerous but worth to keep an eye at. But the rust will be limited if not riding in the rain or winter so often.

In short, when the snow melts in the spring I will take the Fram bicycle for a test ride. Then I will decided if I will have a professional workshop to have a look at the rear wheel if it is possible to fix it, or not.

Let us hope that it rides as good as it looks.

Malmö Tweed Ride 2018

The 15th of September was the date for Malmö Tweed Ride 2018. I decided early that I wanted to attend the Malmö tweed event for the third year in a row.

This year I noticed that the nickname for the event was in Swedish, “sällskapsrundan”. In English it can perhaps be translated to “social gathering route”. The goal for the event is simply to meet other people that are dressed in tweed, while taking a ride on vintage bicycles. Perhaps “promenade bicycling” is a better translating, that is the best way to describe the idea behind the name and the spirit of the event.


By now a international tweed ride veteran. My Hermes from 1956

I decided to again use my old reliable Hermes from 1956. It has been around on many tweed themed events by now. After the trip to Norway a few weeks earlier, the bicycle needed some minor adjustments and service. With a spanner and a screwdriver I fixed all loose nuts and bolts with ease. Also a drop of oil here and there goes a long way.

When using vintage bicycles it is a matter of take a ride for an hour and spend two hours fastening all nuts and bolts that came loose again. Sometimes it even fells like in many vintage communities that you might never even leave the garage. When it is bad weather outside, there is always the possibility to sit inside. Perhaps a Garage Tweed meeting might be a new idea for an event?

For some people the social interaction and the admiration of bicycles is the main reason to keep fixing old bicycles. That goes for clothes to. Many of the riders have original 1930-40’s tweed dresses and suits. They share tips about good Second hand shops and market places. Showing their latest finds and so on. Some crafty riders even creates their own clothes. Finding original 1930’s patterns and sewing entire outfits, now that is impressive! They also looks really great in their beautiful cloths!

I think it is great that those who are interested in vintage clothes and bicycles can express their interest in these tweed bicycle events all over the world together with others. There is no need to have an exclusive car to attend meetings, a bicycle works just as well.


If it was not for the green bus, the photo could been taken in the early 1950’s, Lovely!

The event was held at Gustaf Adolfs torg in central Malmö.  The square was invaded by bicycling tweed-ians. We went around and said hello to old and new friends, everyone admired each others bicycles and tweeds. A few minutes before the start the master of ceremony made an announcement, mentioning that the registration was open and all could register. After checking ours names in their register we were handed this years pin.

Sadly this years pin was in the same as last year. An plastic “punk badge”, not quite as elegant and exclusive as the first ones in metal.


My three pins 2016, 2017, 2018


Gathering and socializing


Cue to registration

Just before we were to set off at 1’a clock. The sky turned dark, a heavy rain swooped in and drenched us all at the start. We all quickly took shelter underneath the trees nearby. The entire day seemed to be a wet occasion.


We took cover underneath the trees during the sudden rain shower

After about 20 minutes the sun came out again and we decided to set off on our “promenade bicycling”. The night before the weather forecast mentioned 16 degrees and cloudy. But with the sun shining it was a lovely Indian summer day, it was 22 degrees and sunny. There I was in my tweed with a cardigan, it was going to be a hot day for me.

The route was new for this year. It was lots of bicycle paths and many red-light crossings over roads. But with it all worked out fine, some cars even gave way for us when they did not need to. Almost everyone was waving and smiling in their cars when we came along.


One of many red-light crossings


Great looking tweed-ians. The bowler hat looks just perfect.

The tea break this year was held in a small park (which name has totally slipped my mind). We were served lovely cucumber sandwiches and refreshing lemonade with oranges. That was really needed. In the background there was music played on an vintage gramophone using old shellac records.

When I was trying to get a nice ambience photo of the riders having a break. I accidentally spilled my lemonade along with the sandwich onto my bicycle and down on the ground. Clumsy me, at least I had a small taste before pouring it all out on my bicycle. Still, very clumsy.


Waiting for lemonade and sandwiches while listening to music


Refreshment break in the sunshine

After the break we started our ride again. Now we were heading towards the railway station and after that down to Västra hamnen (west harbour), close to the seaside. It must have been a sight over about 150 cyclists calmly peddling along the bicycle paths, bicycle bells chiming it all different tunes and riders waving to bystanders.


A short break during a red traffic-light, it could just as easy been back in the 1950’s


Lovely colour matching. Even the dogs collar was in the same plaid pattern as the trousers

 


Photo opportunity

We crossed the finish line at Folkets park and Moriska paviljiongen in central Malmö. After parking our bicycles outside we all went in to the restaurant where there was food and drinks waiting. Inside we were greeted by live music preformed by Swing Street Orchestra, a jazz band that plays old tunes with great spirit and joy.

When entering the restaurant we all got a beer ticket. Eriksberg brewery was sponsor for this tweed ride and treated us all with a beer to the food that was served. Tasty and we could choose beer with or without alcohol.

After eating, drinking, chatting and laughing the master of ceremonies announced that the voting for best dressed man, best dressed lady and best looking bicycle had started. My votes happened to be both winners. The choice for best dressed man was the always handsome and nice Mr Vintagemannen.

Best dressed lady was a girl whose name I did not catch. She got my vote simply because I admire her beret. Such a great look.


Best dressed man, best dressed lady and master of ceremonies


Best looking bicycle, together with the lovely lady who owned the bicycle


May I take a photo – I asked.
Of course, that is why I am dressed like this – she replied.
I never got her name. Mystery lady number 12 (sounds like the title of an Agatha Christie novel)
The mystery is now solved, it is the magnificent Lina

After more mingle and talking with amazing tweed riders, from all over Sweden and internationally. Later that evening, after it was time to say goodbye.

Today I am a bit ashamed, I did not find one rider that I had talked a lot with during the afternoon. I could not thank her for a good company during the day and wish her a safe travel home. I hope she will read this and forgive me.


Heading back to the hotel after a lovely day

I lift my cap! Thank you Malmö. .

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: