The winter project, part 1

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.

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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?

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.

The black bicycle, part 4

Realizing that size matters.

The wheels were made. They were threaded by me and then re-threaded by the shop, that was a minor setback. But there where complete with shiny hubs black rims and brand new spokes and nipples.They were looking just great! I thought that this would be a fun and easy build. During the months I had collected parts that would fit the black bicycle. After all the frame was a 1930’s Hermes, I had found a front badge that fitted the pre drilled holes on the frame. I found an almost unused chain wheel, complete with Fauber crank and bearings.


Hermes chain wheel and a Fauber crank with pedals waiting to be mounted on a bicycle

The black mudguards with their gold piping, a great looking handlebar with black wooden grips, an flat iron rear luggage rack. Then the small details as vintage screws that I had cleaned and polished. The unused reflector from 1930’s for the rear mudguard, a large chromed head light with a fitting brand of dynamo. Everything was ready, the build could start!


Worn saddle, an old Bosch headligt with dynamo. All from about mid 1930’s

I placed all the main parts on the floor in the cellar. The front fork was not original Hermes, it lacked the ornaments on the sides also it was painted white. But you can not win all the time. Beside, I could always paint the fork black, no problem. It would be a easy task of fitting the crank and ball bearings, grease them up and make then fit perfectly.

By some strange reason that I can not explain today. I decided to dry mount the mudguards and wheels first of all. Perhaps only to see if it would look good, or if it all fitted as it should.

Disaster!

When I fitted the front mudguard to the fork, it was a perfect match. But when I tried to fit the rear mudguard on to the rear fork of the frame, it was to wide. I could not get the mudguard to fit into the frame. The frame was to tight, to narrow… For me, bending the original 1940’s mudguard with the price tag still attached to squeeze it into the frame was not an option. My heart sank to the bottom of the nostalgic river.

All this time collecting parts and planning the bicycle was wasted. In a depressed state I put all parts in a box and gave away many of the parts I collected. I kept the wheels, mudguards and the frame. Why? I do not know, perhaps because they were so great looking with the black finish with golden pin striping.

One more reason why gave away many parts was simply that I had no space for all the parts. The cellar was filled with bicycles and strange bicycle parts. I really need a special dedicated space for all bicycle related stuff. Perhaps a warehouse or a shop. Oh, now that would be the dream. An workshop with a showroom to display all the bicycles.

Now I was thinking if I ever would get that black bicycle from my childhood. I saw many bicycles for sale online at different sites that was perfect. But now I have spend so much money on all parts that I could not defend buying a complete bicycle.

So instead of throwing away the parts I placed the wheels and the frame in the back of the storage in the cellar behind some boxes with Christmas decorations.

One day perhaps I will figure out something to do with it all.

The black bicycle, part 3

The wheels.

Those wheels that made my hair grey, my wallet cry and my blood boil.

Now, it can not be so bad I hear you say. Well, it can. Because after buying all parts in that strange shop in the city. I sat down and started to think on how to tread the wheels. After all I got the rims, the spokes and the hubs. Also lovely Torpedo hubs with nickel finish. The rear hub was made in 1935, spotless and all cleaned up by me. I bought it from Germany just to get the right style. I was happy, things started to move. The front hub was a find in a shop in a good bicycle shop in the city.

I looked on internet how to thread bicycle wheels. It seemed simple, just remember to focus and always count the numbers of spokes and the holes in the rim. There is many different ways to thread a wheel, but I wanted the wheels threaded in the old way so it looked as the other wheels I had. So I went down in the basement and looked at my old bicycles wheels. Counted the spokes, made a drawing on how the spokes were placed and how they were threaded.

Then I started. The rim, spokes, nipples and hub was laying all over the kitchen table. First spoke, in the first hole on the hub. Thread the spoke by the hone in the rim, ine hole next to the hole for the valve for the tube. Screw on the nipple. There the first spoke was in place. It felt good. Second spoke, three holes, turn, adjust, hold the hub, keep the rim in place, now where is the nipple? Third spoke, who placed the spokes over there?! Repeat the process, then it came the matter of crossing of spokes. Now that spoke should go there, in to that hole. Where did the nipples go?! With the left hand trying to get the nipples on the right side of the table at the same time the right hand is holding the hub. Now It is time for the other side! Why are there nipples on the floor?! Who moved the spokes?!

After a while I got the hang of it. Of course I did some errors along the way, but if you do something many times you get the hang of it. So did I when threading the spokes. The look was exactly as the vintage wheels I had in the cellar. I was quite please with myself.

Now the matter of truing the wheel. Remembering the fellow in the shop saying that he could do it for me. I decided to take the wheel to a different shop. They are professional and has a huge store. I went there with my wheel, happy as can be. The person behind the counter took the wheel and accepted the work. Now things became strange. There was another fellow there letting me know that I threaded the wheel wrong. I explained that it was not wrong. I did as they used to do back in the days. No, that was wrong. I have never seen that style of threading. Well, I really would like to have it the way it is, only truing the wheel.

After a week the wheel was ready. Then I got the surprise of realizing that they had retreaded the wheel, they made a “modern” style of threading, a more racer adjusted crossing of the spokes. I was really disappointed. Not only did they rethread the wheel they also charged me for the work to tear down my threading and build up the wheel again from loose spokes, rim and hub.

The payment for that rear wheel landed on almost £200 in total. For £200 I can get a complete vintage bicycle in good condition. I felt that my heart was sinking, my black bicycle project came to a halt. Also that I needed to build the front wheel too.

In the end. Two wheels, front and rear. Black 1930’s rims with white lining, Torpedo hubs and brand new spokes and nipples costed me more than 2-3 complete bicycles. I put the frame, mudguards and wheels in the cellar, behind old cardboard boxes. It was painful to see the parts, they reminded me of my own stupidity.