Where did the Pelago go?

Long ago, I bought a bicycle frame from the Finnish Pelago bicycle company.
You can find the old post I wrote, here.

The vision I had was to build an racer, somewhat inspired by old racers from 1920’s and 1930’s. Black frame, turned down handlebars and clean look. After talking to Pelago I bought an Bristol frame. Then I started to gathering parts from here and there, mostly there. An truly international bicycle. Some weeks later I got all parts that was needed to build my vision bicycle.


My finished version

After a day of building and adjusting, the bicycle was complete. The Pelago Special sure looked amazing with all the details I had got for it, first the glossy black frame, the chain in gold, all chromed parts like stem and pedals, the front break and creme white tires. Not only looking great, it was riding like a dream. It was first after a while I discovered a problem. The problem was not with the bicycle, it worked perfectly. Good breaks and riding smooth. The problem was with me! Leaning forward and riding fast for a long period of time was simply not my thing any more. Perhaps I was untrained (more likely getting old), but it should be comfortably to ride an bicycle. I did not feel comfortably at all.

In fact I did not use the bicycle as I expected to. Instead the Pelago was left standing in the basement, abandoned for weeks at end. One day I got the idea of why not rebuild it to an regular standard roadster instead? Complete with mudguards, dual kickstand, springy saddle and with the handlebars turned in a more traditional way to achieve an more upright seating position. I ordered some parts online from Classic-cycle in Germany that would fit and suit the black Pelago frame.


The second version, chain guard, mudguards. An more upright riding position

After that I started to rebuild the Pelago, from the cool racer it was, to an more regular standard bicycle. After that conversion I used it for a bit, but by that time I had bought an vintage bicycles that I was using instead. So the Pelago Special was left standing in the basement again.

One day a co-worker who also was interested in bicycles, asked my about the Pelago and if it was for sale. He liked the style of my path racer build very much. The look with the glossy black frame, creme white tires and overall clean lines. He told me that he had some visions for it, turning it into a racer once again but with a twist. One day in the summer later on we made the deal. Money exchanged hands, an hand shake after that he rode away on my Pelago.

That was when the Pelagos third life had begun. My co-worker quickly removed the black standard mudguards that I had mounted along with some other parts. The standard chain wheel was replaced by an custom made chain wheel from Bespoke Chainrings in Australia. The handlebars was replaced by an vintage Reynolds deep drop handlebar that he bought from eBay along with an old refinished Major Taylor stem.

The new look was really amazing. With few changes it became a different bicycle all together. Later on he asked me to help him with some details, I went home to his place and there in the kitchen, was the bicycle leaning against the dishwasher. That must be one of the oddest and cosiest bicycle workshop I have visited in so far.


Kitchen workshop. Notice the Reynolds deep drop handlebar and the refinished Major Taylor stem


Beautiful custom made chain wheel


Clean and stripped down look

He used the Pelago like that for a while until my he got an new idea. He wanted to change the bicycle from a racer to a more porteur inspired bicycle. He found a new made luggage rack in the porteur style, he also mounted mudguards with an hammered finish and changed the handlebars. The fourth incarnation of the Pelago Special has begun.

As for today, I think the old Pelago is still being used as an everyday bicycle around the streets of Stockholm. But with unique parts fitted to the former Pelago Bristol frame. Truly a Pelago Special.

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Enskede Tweed, (sommarsvängen)

June 9th was when Enskede Tweed Society held the event “Sommarsvängen” (summer ride). This year it was decided to make two events instead of last years one event. Not only will the regular autumn event “Höstrusket” be held. But earlier this year, during a meeting it was decided to have a summer event as well. After all, exercise and fresh air is only good for the spirit. So, why only have one event? When you can have two events.

The summer event turned out to take place in the first month of the summer. Despite vacations and other engagements among few of the participants. There were some few brave tweedians that meet up in Enskede in time for the start on a Sunday afternoon.

We were to meet at the former Gamla Enskede bageri (Old Enskede bakery). But last time we had our start there there were lots of people with prams trying to zig zag between our vintage bicycles. This time it was decided to use the pavement opposite the Triangle church located 50 meters away from the bakery. It was a good location with an park bench to sit on and lots of room to park our bicycles on the pavement.


The old Hermes at the Triangle church

As it turned out the restaurant and outdoor bar at Enskede matbod had opened nearby. The first tweedians went there to have a refreshing gin and tonic. A few other came along on their bicycles and joined for a drink in the sunny Sunday afternoon.

After a while it was decided to start the ride. The route had been checked earlier, but since we were so few it was decided to improvise a bit. We headed down the narrow streets of the old Enskede, the garden town as it was called back in the 1920’s. Passing old houses with luscious green gardens. Fragrances from all the flowers in the gardens anc newly cut grass made the ride very relaxing. We passed the Margareta park, Enskede church and the English town houses. We headed then up to Skogskyrkogården (the forest cemetery) and entered it for a calm ride on Unescos world heritage. We were shown some back roads that is not common knowledge.


The narrow streets of old Enskede


The green leaves of summer in all gardens, the fragrance of flowers and bushes


Waiting at the traffic lights


Backroads on Skogskyrkogården


Calm, only the chirping of birds and the song of tires against the tarmac could be heard

After exiting the cemetery we headed down to an green field located among the 1930s houses of Tallkrogen. That is one of many areas created back in 1930-50’s for the people living in the city to build their own house an have a small garden of their own back in the olden days.

In the park we had a lovely picnic, shame about the wind. We talked, had refreshing drinks and sandwiches. Suddenly, dark clouds gathered on the sky and it started to rain. We better had to get a move on.


Arriving at the picnic


The style of a true tweedian


Stickers were handed out as an memory of the event, Enskede Tweed Sällskap (society) ETS


The 1950’s Tallkrogen shopping centre, that once had everything one could need.


Finish at Enskede gård, thank you for this event.

The ride continued into other old areas, Svedmyra and Stureby. Down to the Enskede field. One more area build in 1930’s. We headed up to Enskede gård, the mansion where the finish line was. There we took a photo and talked some more before we all headed down to the Enskede värdshus. Sadly they closed at five a clock. But we managed to sit outside and have a cold refreshing beer. It became a short ride, but we were few riders so there was no need to have a strict schedule to follow. The main goal was to have a great Sunday afternoon.

The event was all in the good spirit of getting about and having some fresh air, instead of sitting inside. Why having Netflix and chill when you can have tweed and bicycles? After all, the summer is nice with all green leaves, flowers and grass so let us enjoy the summer. Soon enough it is autumn and then it is winter again. But to be honest, what stops us from riding bicycles then?

Until next time.

Tweed Ride Reykjavik 2019

“I wonder if there is a tweed ride on Iceland”?

That was a question a fellow tweedian asked me some time ago. That made me curious, if there is an event on Iceland, there must be some information about it online. After some research, I found an Facebook group called Reykjavik Tweed Ride. The group information mentioned there had been tweed events in Reykjavik every year since 2012. How could I have missed that page before? It was then I made the decision to go to Reykjavik for the Tweed Ride one day.


Stylish chapettes

The first thing that crossed my mind was, how would I get my bicycle to Iceland? What way of transportation would be the best? I thought of all sorts of different possibilities, everything from posting the bicycle in the mail, or bringing the bicycle along as cabin luggage on an air plane. But after my adventure carrying the bicycle onboard the ferry to Finland in February, I shuddered by the thought of carrying the bicycle in a bag to the airport. There must be an easier way. After all, when I attended the Tweed Run in London I rented a bicycle from a company that had connections with the Tweed Run. Renting a bicycle worked as a charm in London, perhaps I could rent a bicycle in Reykjavik as well?

I wrote an message to Reykjavik Tweed Ride on Facebook and asked if it was possible for me to rent a bicycle? The very next day I got an reply back. It was a very nice reply explaining that the tweed ride organizer in fact was an bicycle shop owner and he would happily let me rent a bicycle from him. During our conversation, he helped me sign up for the event. It was settled, I was going to Reykjavik in the end of May.


The start at Hallgrímskirkja 


An impressive bicycle…


… with the most ingenious mending of an tire I have ever seen.

I have never been to Iceland before so I had no idea what it was going to be like. The first thing that struck me was that it was nothing like I have seen before. The volcanic stones, the nature, hot springs steaming in the distance, high mountains far away. At Reykjavik city I was surprised by how hilly it was. The thing with hills that it is nice to go down a hill. But once you are down at the foot of the hill, you need to go up the next hill.

In our conversation we decided that on the day of the event, I would go to the bicycle shop and collect my rented bicycle. Also meet Jon Oli, the organizer of the event. When I arrived at the shop we talked about the event, tweed and bicycles. It was a really nice and welcoming chat. Jon Oli showed me my ride for the day. It was an Belgium made Achielle, an classic single speed roadster. Very similar to the bicycle I rented in London. After some adjusting of the bicycle, we left the shop for the ride up to Hallgrímskirkja where the Reykjavik Tweed Ride start was located.


My ride for the day, Belgium made Achielle


Jon Oli, the owner of Reidhjolaverzlunin/Berlin bicycle shop and organizer of Reykjavik Tweed Ride, talks to a photographer before the start


The armbands was a bit tricky to fasten, but were very nice and an really great souvenir


That is one really cool looking bicycle

We arrived at Hallgrímskirkja a bit early, but already there were other tweed riders. Soon other joined up and joined the line to receive their staring numbers. One numbered armband and one numbered sign for the bicycle. The numbers had an reason.

After the ride, best dressed gentleman, best dressed lady and the best looking bicycle was going to receive prizes. By having numbers we were easily identified for the voting. When all participants was present and had received their numbers, we gathered in front of the statue of Leif Eriksson, the first known European to have set foot in North America, for a group photo.


The Reykjavik Tweed Ride 2019 group photo

After the photo was taken, the ride started. Jon Oli was showing us the way. With our bicycle bells chiming and ball horns hooting, we headed down from the church, down the hill, along the narrow streets where people stopped, took photos, smiled and waved to us.

We went down to the hill and rode around the city, passing restaurants and hotels. Of course I forgot to start my bicycle tracking app on my phone. So I have no idea where we went. But it was clear that Jon Oli had chosen an excellent route for us. No hills to mention, plenty of nice views of Reykjavik and an perfect tempo.


Along the streets of Reykjavik


Smiling tweed riders. That is an lovely hamper, prepared for a nice picnic


Waiting at an street light

The first refreshment break was at an hotel down in the harbour, there we could buy a beer, an glass of wine or have an refreshing glass of lemonade. It was a really nice opportunity for us to get to know the other riders and look at the our bicycles. After the break we were off again. New views and roads, but always the same majestic view of the mountains in the distance and the fresh air of the ocean.


Sadly I do not remember the name of the hotel where we had our first break


Sitting on the cargo deck on a Danish Long John bicycle is the best place to enjoy the ride

We were getting close to the finish line at Aegisgardur brewery. The brewery was open for refreshments and we could park our bicycles outside the brewery and sit outside with a locally brewed beer. Even the sun came out and turned it into a very nice day. Sitting with a beer in the sunshine and watching the view of mountains in the distance. It was very relaxing indeed.

Jon Oli gathered us and told ut it was time to vote for the best dressed gentleman and lady, we all wrote down our candidates on a small piece of paper and handed them to Jon Oli who put our notes in his tweed cap. After counting all votes, it was time for the prize ceremony.

The winners was brought up on a temporary stage and was given the prizes that was sponsored by an local tweed retailer. The prize for the best bicycle turned out to be the same gentleman who won the best dressed award. All I can say is that all prizes was well deserved.


A real gentleman is always well prepared


Announcement time for the winners…


Best dressed gentleman and lady, Spiffing dashing chap and chapette, I say!

In the end, it was an magical tweed event in a city that I never thought would have a tweed ride. The event was smooth, well organized and the route was perfectly planned. I have been to many tweed events, they has all their advantages and disadvantages. But Reykjavik Tweed Ride was in every way special. Small, cosy and relaxed. No to long, not to short. Just perfect!

After the gathering was over, the riders had started to leave, some of the riders were off to an restaurant in the city for dinner. I helped out with collecting beer glasses and putting things in order at the brewery. Then Jon Oli and I started our ride back to his shop, where I would return my bicycle. The ride went well, after some more talk we said good bye and I started the walk back to town with the armband still on my tweed jacket. Tradition says, that the armband must stay on until midnight.

Lastly I would like to say a big thank you to Jon Oli, a wonderful and kind man that was so kind and helped me on my first Icelandic tweed ride adventure.


Riding back to the bicycle shop after an perfect day filled with tweed, bicycles and lovely people

 

Here is the link to
Reykjavik Tweed Ride

Visit Jon Olis shop via this link:
Reidhjolaverzlunin

The last project

This is my final project. Of course, if I win the lottery and buy a large workshop somewhere that is filled with plenty of tools and storages for bicycles and different other odd projects. Then there will me more projects. But as for now, this is my final project.

The story behind this bicycle story is interesting. A while back I got an offer to buy an old rusty Crescent. It was while I needed some parts for my own black bicycle project. I declined the offer for two reasons. First the bicycle was complete, it would be a shame to take only parts from it. Secondly, the parts I needed was way to rusty to fit the frame I had.

Instead of me buying it, my tweedian friend bought the bicycle a few years later on. He got it sent to him across Sweden, changed the seat and used it as a commuter bicycle in the city. Some time later we meet and had a talk about it all our different bicycle projects that we had laying around in parts. I mentioned in a earlier topic that I needed to focus on some bicycles and get rid of some others. Indeed an sad decision, but storage space is a bit of an issue. My nostalgia and future visions had to be ignored for a moments, while the voice of reason was in command instead.

During that conversation with my tweedian friend, he said that he also had to many projects and needed to focus on finishing building some bicycle. The question of selling the old rusty Crescent came up. That was the moment when a strange thought was born. What if we made a trade? After all, I had three bicycles that he could sell to finance his projects. What if we traded my three unfinished bicycles for the rusty Crescent?

After some consideration he accepted the trade. So one cold day in February I rode one bicycle to his work shop and later that evening walked with the other two other bicycles. We did the trade and shook hands. Now I was the owner to the bicycle I was offered a few years back.

It is an Crescent made about 1927 in Stockholm by Velocipedaktiebolaget August Lindblad. The interesting thing is that my other black bicycle that needed the parts is of the same brand and maker being made somewhere 1929-1931, a bit younger in other words.


Walking with two bicycles in the cold February night


Walking home with an bicycle from 1927

The bicycles have serial numbers stamped on the frame. When dealing with serial numbers from a factory that existed over 90 years ago, an factory that once burned down to the ground and later was sold, moved and incorporated in a different giant bicycle company. All registers of serial numbers are since then long gone. But with help of internet I found some logic with those early serial numbers and could make a qualified guess.

Both wheels had once been changed, the wheels currently mounted on the bicycle was made in 1936. But the original rear wheel is still around and it got a Torpedo hub that was made in 1925. The year on the hub together with the serial number make the guess of manufacturing year 1927 as good as any.

While I was walking home. I realized that the old rusty bicycle was in a bit of bad shape. The hubs and crank set had almost sized solid by what I suspected was grease and grime since 90 years of use that had transformed itself into a nasty glue.


I tried out some old parts I had laying around. Touring 1930’s style.

When I later took the bicycle apart, I found that my guess about the grease was correct. It had been there since 1930’s had become something very close to glue. The only thing to do was to tear down the entire bicycle as well as I could. Some nuts and bolts had rusted solid, I had to improvise. The wheels and hubs were no match at all, after all they were quite modern. Only 80 years old. Lucky for me the rear wheel had the old reliable Torpedo hub. That is a simple and great hub to work with.


Front wheel bearings and nuts


Rear hub, F&S marked parts found as usual in a Torpedo hub along with grease-glue from 1936


Cleaning and degreasing everything

The crank was an adventure to clean. To remove the cranks with design by Fauber you need to remove the pedals and then slide the crank out the bottom bracket holder after removing the bottom bracket and bearings, washers and lock nuts. But since the pedals had been mounted since 1929, they was rusted solid. They would not budge at all! Without the right tools it is impossible to remove pedals in an safe manner. I decided to “cheat” instead, I loosened the washers and nut that holds the crank in place, gently slide out the crank so I could clean it with rags and tools. After that I could applied new grease and mount the crank back in its place. After cleaning the frame from spiderweb, rust and dust, change tires to more vintage looking black ones, clean and lubricate all the bearings with new grease. The result was better, but not good. I found out that many of the bearings all over the bicycle was very worn had a bit of play in them.


First test ride, it was a long tome since I had an drop down handlebars. It was a strange feeling


Details


Crescent made by Velocipedaktiebolaget August Lindblad in Stockholm


The chain is not stretched after the test ride


Details

But after my small overhaul, the wheels turns again, the cranks turns (with some play in them sideways). Time to mount a new chain and give the old rusty bicycle a try. The first thing would happen that I knew was that the rear chain wheel was really worn, so the chain makes all those scary noises. Creaking and snapping when peddling.

I can not change the rear chain wheel by my self due to the lack of tools. But one day I will take the Crescent to a bicycle shop for a rear chain wheel change. The bicycle is 92 years old, I guess a few more weeks waiting is not the end of the world.

Meanwhile it is quite a great looking bicycle where it stands.

Winter Tweed Run Helsinki 2019

Back in 2018, I decided that I would join the 2019 Winter Tweed Run event in Helsinki. It is simply a very fun and relaxing event, with the spirit of “take an bicycle, dress in tweed and join us for a ride around Helsinki in February”. Who could resist that?

The days before Saturday 23rd of February.

The previous years I participated the event I boarded the ferry to Finland by riding my bicycle onto the car deck as one should. But this time I thought that if I were going to attend the event alone, I would carry my bicycle onboard the ferry. Simply by putting the bicycle in a large bicycle bag and carry it as normal luggage. The thought I had was to make the transport simpler and at the same time have less things to think about.

One candidate for the carry-on mission was the black Crescent that I built earlier. It is very minimalistic bicycle, it has no mudguards or other details that just add on more weight. Beside the wheels got quick release nuts! In short, the bicycle is perfect for easy travel. Just remove the wheels and carry it in a bag. Easy as pie, right? The date for the event got closer. I would go along with my “travelling light and carry the bicycle” plan. I bought an cheap bicycle bag that would fit my bicycle from 1927. There were bags with wheels, rigid cases that could stand a standing on top of it. But I went along with the cheapest one.

After removing the wheels, handlebars and pedals the bicycle fitted quite nicely in the bag. The bag itself have two handles and one shoulder strap. Perfect to carry alone as an large luggage. I packed my tweed in a bag and collected the bicycle bag from the basement. After packing the bicycle in the bag, I carried it to the subway and began my journey to Helsinki.


It is not allowed to ride the subway with an bicycle, but what if it is in a bag?

The subway ride went well. But on my way to the ferry I noticed that the bag was heavy. Really heavy! In the city I met up with a friend who went along the trip for a weekend in Helsinki. He asked if he could help carrying the bag.

The help was most welcome since the bag become heavier and heavier for me. Soon we went onboard the boat with the bag. No one did not even look twice at my bag with the bicycle. After a nice cruise we walked the streets of Helsinki to the hotel where we both were staying. I was carrying the bicycle while my friend helped out by carrying the wheels. That helped a lot. Checking in to the hotel was no problem either. But I was a broken man, the weight of the bag was silly. It was a stupid idea, carry on the bicycle like a luggage?! What was I thinking?

On the day of the event I went outside the entrance of the hotel and unpacked the bicycle. There I mounted the wheels, handlebars and pedals by using the tools I brought along with me. My good friend that joined me for the travel, took care of the bicycle bag while I joined the event. We had to board the boat back to Sweden later the same day so we decided to meet up later on that afternoon at the ferry.


Just a small detour, passing Vanha kirkkopuisto before the start

I arrived at Senaatintori (the senate square) a bit earlier than the start at 1300. There were already other tweed riders at the square, I rode up to them and joined them. There were familiar and new faces, we said hello to each other and started talking about each others bicycles and the event. There was a wide range of styles and brands of bicycles on display, new and vintage bicycles to admire and talk about.

I helped an fellow rider with some information about tires. He had a pair of really, really old and worn original 1930’s tires that had cracked and I was worried that they were about to break at any moment. Sadly I forgot to tell him the measurement on my own tires. But I hope that he will find some replacement tires. Suddenly there was a familiar honking sound in the distance. The organisers was arriving, riding their cargo bicycles while honking an old bicycle horn.


Just arrived to the start area meeting other Winter tweeders


Bicycles and warm dressed ladies talking


The organizers cargo bicycles have arrived

After their arrival, the organisers walked around and greeted each one of us personally and gave everyone a small sticker with the Winter Tweed Run Helsinki 2019 event logo. For me those stickers are really nice to put on the bicycle frame as well as a souvenir. We started talking about all different tweed events I have attended, many were impressed by all places I have been to. When we were talking it was all Swedish, English and Finnish in a strange mix. The feeling of being welcomed by the organisers were, as usual truly heart warming and admirable.


That is a really cool space influenced bicycle

Sadly, I had to inform the organisers that I was not be able to join the party afterwards, since I had a boat to catch the same afternoon. But I would at least join them for a ride along the coast line. During the conversation I got invitations to other bicycle events in Finland during this following summer. It would be really fun to join a summer event in Finland.


In front of Helsinki Cathedral

The bicycle horn was honking! Attention ladies and gentlemen, it is time for a group photo! We formed us as a group in front Alexander the 2nd the statue in the middle of the square. After everyone had their photos taken, we were off. The route was as previous years. Following the shoreline, passing the Olympia terminal, Kaivopuisto park and further down to Eira, up along Sandudds cemetery to the finish at Regatta café. It is a really lovely route with nice views.


Here we go, cars stopping, people waving. An bicycle event in February is not so common I guess.


Passing the Silja Line ferry at the Olympia terminal


Heading down to Eira


Shore of Lapinlahti

The ride continued onwards, at Sandudds cemetery it was time for me to break the formation and head to the ferry. I said good by to the tweed riders and headed back, across the city.

During this event I learned some very important lessons:
1, a bicycle made in the late 1920’s, is made of iron and weighs about the same as a modern small car.
2, when riding in mud and snow. Mudguards are a saviour for your clothes and the fellow riders behind you.
3, an luggage rack is really needed for bags with sandwiches and drinks, you can not have all in your pockets.
4, why carry a bicycle, weighing as a iron bed from the Victorian era, when you can ride the bicycle onboard the ferry?


Heading back to the ferry, sadly missing the party

Thank you all for a great event, all laughs and good memories. I will keep my eyes open for Winter Tweed Run Helsinki 2020. But next time, can we hope for a real winter tweed event with -20 degrees and lots of snow?