Malmö Tweed Ride 2016

Welcome back dear reader! How has your summer been? Way to hot when using tweed I guess. Perhaps even to hot for riding an old bicycle with no gears and wobbly wheels? But now when the weather are cooler and the autumn is around the corner it is time to take the old tweed suit out in the fresh air.

Different unplanned things happened this summer, but other things did not happen as planned. For example my bicycle projects I mentioned earlier did not happen. The Monark racer is still standing in a corner collection dust, the black Hermes frame and all the belonging parts is still in parts. The Pelago Path racer I built a few years back are about to be sold. The reasons for all those things are equally simple and silly.

First is the reason that I feel stressed out due to the lack of space for building and renovating old bicycles. Then there is that racer style bicycles is killing my back when riding them. I can simply not sit leaned forward on a bicycle for a long time. So why have bicycles around that I do not use? Better to sell them and save money to a bicycle that I can use without problem.

But to one thing that happened that was a fun event! Saturday the 3rd of September 2016 the 4th annual “Malmö Tweed Ride” was held. It is like the “Bike in Tweed” event in Stockholm, or like the “Tweed Run” in London. It is a gathering of people that loves old bicycles, tweed clothes and likes to dress up. I was there with my old Hermes from 1956.

We all gathered at Gustav Adolfs torg (square) in central parts of Malmö around noon. I was there and noticed many tweed riders joined from all streets leading up to the square. The weather was perfect for us, cloudy with a bit of sun from time to time.  When the time was 13:00 the announcer greeted us welcome, it was time to register and each rider would receive a pin. It was a pin that shows that you were a participant of the race this year. Well, race is perhaps the wrong word, a run or parade, perhaps even an show and gathering while riding mostly vintage bicycles in a calm speed across the town is more accurate. So we all could enjoy the surroundings and all the lovely bicycles in the parade.

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2016 Malmö Tweed Ride pin on a tweed suit lapel

After receiving our pins, we all formed a starting line and we left Gustav Adolfs torg for a ride along the old city of Malmö. People cheered and waved to us along the streets. Many was happy and asked us what it was all about, old persons talked about how they used to have an bicycle, just like the ones we were riding, when they where young. With a smile and a nostalgic look on their faces they watched us making noises with our bells and horns along the way.

The ride went around Malmö for a while before we had a stop at Västra hamnen (West harbour) where the old mechanical warehouses was located and was nod demolished for new buildings and developments. It was a large place at the water front where the sponsor Hendricks gin served us lemonade and cucumber sandwiches. Tasteful and refreshing in the last of the summer sun rays! There was music during the rest, an gentleman played jazz records on a old gramophone, complete with funnel and crank. It was really nice to sit and listen to old crackling 75 rpm records and drinking lemonade.

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A good selection of music played on a real gramophone

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Time to start again

After the break there was time for the group photo, we all were directed to sit in a group on the board walk. After the photographers was happy we all went for our bicycles again and started the final leg of the run. The path we tool led us down to the sea side and the new land mark in Malmö, the “turning torso” tower, it is an apartment house with 54 floors. Impressive and we where riding just at its base and entrance. Then we took the roads back to the central parts of Malmö where we all ended up in Folkets park “the peoples park”, it is the oldest peoples park in Sweden. It was founded over 120 years ago.

When arriving there we all received a drink ticket from Hendricks gin, non-alcoholic alternative were available to! Then it was mingle and chatting with all the participants. We all sat on the dance floor in old furnitures and listened to Svempas Swinging Trio, an jazz trio that played old standards in a really refreshing way. Lots of energy and joy! There was a small vegetarian buffet that was really nice after the long ride we just finished.

After the food and mingle it was time for the prize ceremony. Best dressed lady, best dressed gentleman and the best looking bicycle. Hendricks gin had also the special prize “the most unusual award”. It was a great evening and an perfect ending to a fun and nice day in Malmö. Friendly people and an great atmosphere an flawless organisation and arrangement! Good briefing of the guidelines and that there was an bicycle repairman in the parade, but most important an medic that was scanning the parade all the time. In short it was a great event!

I lift my cap for you and we will see you all next year!

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Lady blue and the girl with the white dress

During a photo session I attended to a few weeks back. By coincidence one of my friends on that photo session and I started talking about taking a new sets of photos with her as an model. I mentioned the old bicycle I had been renovation during the winter and that I wanted to take photos of for this blog. The idea of an photo session with her as an model and having period looking clothes came up. We both thought it could be a great and fun idea. After all, I had my favourite place in the forest nearby, where it is a good place for photos in an neutral place regarding when era the photos are taken in. We decided a date when we would meet and take photos of her and lady blue. All just for fun.

The day had come. I made a quick service on Lady Blue, checking that all nuts and bolts where tightened and that the tires where filled with air after being standing unused for a few weeks. But now it was time for Lady Blue to see the sunlight again. To feel the road underneath her new tires rushing by. Feeling the fresh air and leaping forward like an deer. I took a ride to the meeting place on the bicycle. I was surprised on how smooth and quiet ride was. No rattling what so ever. Everything felt so perfect, like a brand new bicycle in a way.

I have mentioned this before, but I can mention it again. The things I have done so far on the bicycle is that I first had the bicycle down in small parts. They were cleaned and greased up with everything what that includes. I also  got “NOS” (new old stock) parts, to either replace the parts that where damaged or that were missing. First of all I got an very old and worn Brooks saddle along with a new made saddle post that fitted the bicycles old frame standard and the saddles mount. On an auction I found a 1930’s headlight made by the Swedish brand ASEA. I also found the dynamo that is from that era and the same ASEA brand on an different auction.

The brand new grey tires are really looking like they are from that period, sadly there is a yellow makers brand on them. But they are only visible from one side. So I decided to mount the tires so the maker brand was facing the opposite way as the chain guard. That was only because to get the clean look on that side. I also got valve caps in metal with an small chain that are fastened on the valve it self. It is an small and silly detail, but it gives a great touch and looks just so great in my opinion.

For pure decoration I got a spring that holds the electrical cord from the dynamo to the headlight. It was a very typical thing they had in the olden days.
An unused chain guard was won on an auction. The guard still had the price tag in place. I polished up the chain guard up so it matched the other polished parts on the bicycle. In an bicycle shop I found handlebars with the right curvature as in the 1930’s. One more auction gave me a set of NOS wooden grips for the handlebars and an bicycle bell from the same era. The sound and chime of that bell. It is out of this world, so crisp and clear. After all years, it still works and are no problem with not getting attention.

But that amazing skirt guard that I found long before. That I also have been talking about in earlier posts. It sure is looking really great on the bicycle! I must say that all the colours are really lovely in the sunlight, far greater than in the florescent lighting in the basement that I have been seeing it in so far. The net is shimmering in different colours and gives the bicycle a complete look. The frame, the mudguards and the polished parts, it all shines and have a depth in the colours. In short, Lady blue still got it. She is still a beauty, the grace and finesse is still there. The old bicycle rides as well as it looks after the renovation and are simply in great shape for being 80 years old.

The girl I met for the photo session, saw the bicycle and liked it a lot. She tried it and took the bicycle for a ride, she really loved it. We went to the place for the photo session and took  lots of photos. Included in this post is one of the photos.

It was great to see the old bicycle being used once a again as it once was meant to be. But not as back in the days with rain, snow and hard work. Now in 2014 the old bicycle will only being used on sunny days and going out for some nice rides. Lady Blue needs the rest. My intentions where to enter the Bike in Tweed race in Stockholm with Lady in Blue this year. Sadly I can not join the Bike In Tweed event this year due to reasons that I could not adjust in anyway.

But if there will be an Bike In Tweed event in 2015, I will ask the girl with the blue dress if she wants to borrow Lady in Blue and join the event. I honestly think it will be an great combination and an very appreciated display by the other participants and the bystanders. Also the girl in the blue dress like the idea of dressing up and having fun. Who knows, she might even have a tweed dress in her closet… That would make it simply perfect.

Fun in a tweed on a bicycle.

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Lady Blue protests

This was planed to be the one of the last posts about “Lady Blue”. Today I was going to fix the handlebars. I started by uncover the bicycle from its protective dust cover i put on a while back. There she was, a real looker if I may say so. The I brought out tools and the NOS (new old stock) grips I bought on an auction, they are from the 40’s and unused. Now, it turned out that this matter with getting the grips on to the handlebar was an real adventure.

First of all, let me explain how the grips is mounted.

Back in the days it was mainly 2 different types of grips that was used.
One style of grips was fastened with a expansion screw inside the bar it self. That is you mount the grip on the bar, then in some magical way there is a set of washers and special designed bolts that expands when tightening a screw at the end of the grip. Tight and the grip stays in place because the grip is made out of one piece of wood that has been hollowed out. Sometimes the wood was coloured or covered in a plastic material. A nice clean look.

Then we have the slightly more crude version.
That was to force a 10 centimetre wooden plug inside the end of the handlebar with a hammer. In that wooden plug, was is a pre-drilled hole to screw the grip into until it fixates the grip to the handlebar. The grip it self is made of two main parts. The end parts where the screw is and the wooden shell that is the grip. With this method, the grip can slide up the handlebar. To prevent this they put two small rivets on the bar so it stop the grip from slid to far.

The old original handlebar that was fitted to Lady Blue back in the 1930’s had the grips with the expansion screws. But since I can not use the original handlebars, due to the condition of them, being painted and so on (they went to Thailand for some adventures, you can read about it here). I got hold of a replacement handlebars from the right era that I mounted while trying to have the original one fixed. But now I am stuck with the replacement. Today I noticed that the replacement bar has wooden plugs inside the ends and rivets on the bar. Prepared for the second style grips

Now guess three times what kind of grips I got on the auction?

Of course, the ones that fits the original handlebars, the style with a expansion screw inside. They do not work on the new replacement handlebars!

I have other handlebars in storage of course, but they all are to modern. They are from 1960’s an forward, they do not have that typical nice, smooth 1930’s curvage that I need for Lady Blue. So, what to do? New grips? New bar? I must think this over for a bit. So for now there is no grips at all.

On the good side, I adjusted the hight of the saddle, I also fitted a bell and an different Dynamo on the front fork. I finally found an Swedish made ASEA dynamo on an auction. So now there is an dynamo that matches the ASEA light I mounted earlier and they are connected with an wire that are inside a long spring, also an typical era accessory. The dynamo it self is a brass coloured big and heavy one, it still works and looks simply great, very impressive! The lamp is chromed and big. The spring is in stainless steel. It all looks really great.

Back then (1930’s) a front light was more or less optional. There where all sorts of lamp styles, candle, kerosene, carbide, electric with dynamo, electric with battery. Bicyclists could buy all sorts of different after mark brands of dynamo and head light from bicycle retailers, post order and regular shops. It was only later in the mid 1950’s there was a law for bicycles to have front and rear light I think. Before that there was only an reflective red “cats eye” on the rear fender and optional light in front.

So, now Lady Blue protests. Perhaps she do not want to leave the comfort in basement? It is summer outside now! Soon she will be out in the sun again and I will bring a camera.

Does anyone want to see the results of that adventure?

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Now it is close to the finish line

The last steps in the “Lady Blue” story. Well, it is just 2 more things to do. First its to fit the chain guard properly. The front bracket fitted like a charm, but the one in the back was missing from the guard that I bought as an replacement. The old bracket from the old guard did not really fit so well. But that is an minor problem, I will make a new bracket. What surprised me was that the new, never used (still got the price tag on the back), chain guard fitted so perfect. When I mounted it did not needed any form of modifying, just a perfect fit from the start. That is the moment when you start to ask what is wrong. Things never work straight away or with out problems. But this time, like a hot knife in butter a summer day. So smooth. (the problems turned up later, more of that later on)

So the final step is waiting for the handlebar that is currently in Thailand. Mount that with its new grips and then we are done. I think you all will like the new grips I got. Then I am thinking of perhaps change the head light. After that “Lady blue” is ready for the road again. After at least 20 years of storage. I will ask a co-worker to be a model for it. In typical cloths of course. But if that dont work. I have one idea that might work. A good presentation is everything!

Now to the part of the problems as mentioned earlier.
As you all by now have noticed this bicycle, since I got it , was supposed to enter the Bike in Tweed event 2014 in Stockholm. I have planned to enter the event since last years event. I checked up the dates and calculated everything. All previous years the event has been in the first or second week of October. Since this year I am turning into an old man, there is a event planned in the end of September involving other people and mandatory for me. But that was totally fine with me. Since logically the Bike in Tweed event is held in October, so I could be a part of it and everything just worked out like a charm. Because I had been looking forward to the bicycle event so much. But this year they decided to put the event a few weeks earlier! Right on the day I am planned to other things.
Now I understand why the repairs went so smooth and easy. I can not join the Bike in Tweed 2014 event.

Karma or faith anyone?

The last word has not been said in this matter!
But I got a great bicycle in the cellar, “Lady Blue” in good condition. I can always keep her in good condition until next year Bike in Tweed 2015. It is a matter of planning ahead!

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Almost there

The vacation around Christmas was spent in a cold unheated cellar. Refitting the hubs, crank shafts and chain for the “Lady Blue”. It was many years since I had an rear wheel hub in parts and refitted all together again. It worked! The skill is still there. I guess its like… cycling (no pun intended). Once done, you know the drill.
The mudguards, stand, seat and handlebars of a different type was mounted. Then I mounted the head light, pedals and rear packing holder. I even put on the skirt-guard in crocheted blue wire. I found the skirt-guard in the classified ads. NOS (new old stock), never used, not even unwrapped since the 1930’s. The strange thing was that one of the side had correct 18 hooks. The other side only had 17 hooks?! If only I could complain, but I am afraid that the crochet skirt guard makers closed up their  shop about 60 years ago…

The original handlebars was sent with a co-worker to Thailand where he said he might know a shop for remaking the chrome plated finish. New grips are awaiting here for the handlebars. A dynamo is on its way. Then I guess “Lady Blue” is reddy for the roads again. As I mentioned earlier, there might be a nice girl that wants to take a ride on the bicycle later on when the weather is more “bicycle friendly”.

One of my goal is to be able to give a photo of the bicycle when it is done to my co-worker, who so kindly gave me the bicycle. So he can show it to the original owner. Just to show her that the history still is alive and the bicycle are being treasured.

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