Stockholm Bike in tweed 2018

September is the month of tweed and bicycles. First it was Tweed Run Fredrikstad in Norway then it was Malmö Tweed Ride in south of Sweden. Are there any others? Of course.

When looking in my calender. There was four different tweed events in September 2018, I wanted to attend to. It turned out so I only could participate in three of the events I had in my calender. Due to a promise, I made a year ago, I could not attend to the Uppsala Vintage Biking the 8th of September. It was a shame because later on I heard from some people that I was missed in Uppsala. Next year, let us hope that the date will not collide with any other event.

The latest tweed event I attended to in September, was the annual Bike In Tweed event in Stockholm the 22nd of September. It is held in the town where I live, practical for me, it is not a problem to attend. For the other events, I often need to plan to arrange some sort of bicycle transport. But luckily not for the Stockholm event.

I usually use my Hermes bicycle from 1956, on all tweed events where it is possible to transport the bicycle. It is a good and reliable bicycle made in mid 1950’s, back when they really knew all small details that makes a perfect bicycle. I will mention all details about the bicycle in a future post.

But when attending to Bike In Tweed, I borrowed the Hermes bicycle to a friend (who have not got a vintage bicycle). With the Hermes gone, I needed to use a different bicycle. I have some bicycles to choose from in my storage. But which one to choose?

Should I use the grey Nordstjärnan from 1930’s? After all, it is made in Stockholm. Perhaps I should use the green Snabb made in the 1940’s instead? It is my jewel in the crown, it got many parts mounted from my grandfathers old bicycle. Or should I use the red Ridax? A slight problem was that it was not finished renovated, so it is still unusable. Or should I be brave and use the Swedish army bicycle? With a design to last 100 years?


Simply to many bicycles to choose from

The final decision was made the night before the event. I chose the black sporty Crescent from 1930’s. The weather forecast for the day of the event was sunny and +15 degrees. In other words, perfect weather for a minimalistic bicycle without mudguards. On the same night I packed a bag with sandwiches and something to drink during the day of the event. The tweed jacket was decorated with pins from other tweed events. The trousers were brushed, my shoes polished and the small flask was filled. I was ready for Bike In Tweed!

The day of the event started with meeting up with some fellow tweedian friends for a wonderful breakfast. We are a gang that used to meet at an café before the tweed events earlier. But sadly they have renovated the café, sadly the warm, welcoming feeling we liked so much has now gone away.

Instead, the friends decided to treat us with a magical breakfast at their home. Healthy smoothies, fresh bread, different brands of cheese, vegetables, tea, egg and bacon. What a wonderful and excellent start on a day filled with bicycle riding. The route of the event is long, about 23 kilometres. But we also rides our bicycles to the event in the city and home again, so we can add almost 10 kilometres extra. The breakfast was a good energy boost for the long ride.


Breakfast at fellow tweedians, a breakfast suitable for any elite cyclist (and tweed cyclists of course)

After the breakfast at 10 in the morning it was time to ride our bicycles into the city. Join the pre-start meet up and socialize at Everts Taubes terass located on Riddarholmen before the start at noon. As we got closer to the old town and Riddarholmen in the centre of Stockholm we saw other tweed riders heading the same way. There were some familiar faces, waves, greetings and smiles all the way. I even meet a fellow tweedian from Malmö that I met the week before.

We arrived at Evert Taubes terass and it was already lots of people there admiring each others bicycles and tweed clothes. After some searching and asking around, we found the registration desk and got our starting numbers.


Lovely ladies in line for registration

This year it was a new design for the number cards. They looked like playing cards and had two holes on the side for fastening. There was some confusion on how to fasten the numbers on the bicycles. Many riders fastened their cards with zip ties in the spokes of the wheels. But since they had only holes on one side, the cards fluttered in the wind. I decided to put my card on the frame, sideways it seemed to work better.


The odd way to fasten the number card to the frame on my Hermes bicycle


The cue for having our start photographs taken

After registration we was directed to a new cue for the start photos. This year they decided to use the view over the waters with Stockholm city hall as background for our portraits. It was windy and rather difficult to hear the instructions. But I guess the photo session went well. I have not yet seen the photos so far. After the photo session we all talked and were waiting for the start.


View overlooking Stockholm city hall


A young tweedian with fantastic colours on the bicycle and clothes. Even the flowers in the basket matches.


I helped the elegant and lovely Lucie with a struggling dynamo to her front light


Scramble! Time for start, ladies and gentlemen to your bicycles

Due to some delays we started a bit late than schedule. But now we were on our way, the official start of the 2018 Stockholm Bike In Tweed.

The route was about the same as last year. First up to Slussen and then down on Söder Mälarstrand while overlooking the waters of Riddarfjärden. Across Södermalm to the picnic that was located up at Vitabergsparken. For some reason the picnic this year was moved from Rålambshovparkens friluftsteater (open air theatre) where we usually have our picnic to Vitabergsparken. That is also an open air theatre.  Open air theatres are good places to take an group photo of us all. But also for having picnic.


Riding along Söder Mälarstrand with view of the city hall

When taking a photo of a bicycle, there is an unwritten rule. The chain guard should always face the camera. But due to the confusion, many of the riders went up the seats of the theatre with the bicycles facing the wrong way. When we all were standing up there, among bicycles and narrow benches and after lifting vintage bicycles, that are made in the same material as old hospital beds. We all were quite hot and out of breath.

When we were standing there. There was an request to turn the bicycles around so the chain guards was visible towards the camera. The dance of bicycles started, moving, turning, shifting heavy iron horses. Then smile and smile again. Smile one more time! Then the photography session was over and the picnic could start. The sandwiches and drink was really tasty and needed.


Lining up for the group photo, trying to hear the instructions over the music and wind


Bohemian tweedian, reflecting while smoking at Vitabergsparken

Time to get going, the break was over. We went down the hillsm heading to the south parts of Södermalm and the shore of Årstaviken. As last year, we went along the shoreline towards Hornstull and the dreaded Västerbron. A famous bridge in Stockholm that really takes it toll on bicyclists using single geared vintage bicycles. Due to the really strong winds this year it was really challenging. The strong winds was an aftermath of a storm that passed Stockholm the day before.

Hang on to your hats and caps. It is windy at the top to say the least! Due to the wind I did not dare to take any photos up on the bridge. I was afraid that the camera would have blown away.


Heading towards the shoreline of Årstaviken


Climbing the steep crossing at Rålambshov park

The bridge ends at the Rålambshov park from there we all needed to walk with our bicycles over a walkway over a road with heavy traffic. The ride continued after that up to Fridhemsplan and St:Eriksgatan. But here a few others and I decided to brake off from the rest of the group. We had seen the planned route a few days earlier and noticed there was plans to take the route via Karlbergs slott, a castle where there usually is a short break before cycling up the labyrinth of pathways before heading up to St:Eriksplan.

Our thoughts was that this particular stretch of the route is difficult, if not dangerous. It is really narrow and having about 200 bicyclists, some very young, some very old, peddling up that stretch. Is not a good section of the route. So instead of joining the fellow tweedians we simply took a short cut. That gave us a short break and a moment of talking. 30 minutes later we noticed the rest coming down the street. We were a bit sneaky and naughty…


A short break, while sneaking away from the group

After joining the group we headed down to one of the main streets in Stockholm city, Sveavägen. We used the entire line on the street, cars could not pass, people was standing along the way and waved to us. We replied with waves and ringing our bicycle bells.The route continued on Valhallavägen and the ally in the middle between the roads.

We crossed the bridge over to Djurgården. Now it was only a short way to the finish line. The finish was located at Hasselbacken restaurant as last year, it is a really nice place with a great view of Stockholm from the terrace. When we arrived there was a really good jazz group playing songs on the terrace. A really nice place with a great view of Stockholm.


Getting close to the finish line

We arrived about 45 minutes late, so it felt like the staff at the restaurant had been waiting for us. Perhaps there was some misunderstanding with times or something else. Due to the long route and the many uphill, many of us were really exhausted and tired at the finish line so the party after the ride was a bit damped.

There was a price ceremony for best dressed man, lady and best looking bicycle. New for this year was that they presented three nominees for each price. For some strange reasons I missed the ceremony completely. Many riders left rather quickly after the price ceremony, that was held almost right away after we all had parked our bicycles.

After the price ceremony we handed in our meal and drink tickets had a great dinner and talked with other tweedians. The main dinner was Wallenbergare, a classic Swedish dish made of finely minced meat balls (no, not köttbullar different meat and spices) with mashed potatoes and gravy. Tasty!


Cheers

Later that evening we decided to start our journey back home. A short trip to the ferry from Djurgården to Slussen and the long way home started. Of course with pit stops for conversation and small drinks along the way.


On the ferry across the waters towards Slussen


Evening view of Stockholm

It was a long route, a bit to long this year. Some stretches and sections of the route was improved, some remained and cause troubles. I heard from some tweedians that they wished a different route. Some because the route was demanding and not a leisure event. Others wanted to see new parts of Stockholm. We all have to see what will happen next year. I salute and extends my thanks for Bike In Tweed 2018. Now, the question is: What bicycle will I use on Bike In Tweed 2019?


Thoughts behind the handlebars on the way home after a long and fun day, cheers and happy tweed!  

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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:

 

Swedish attack bicycle m/105A

Well, to be honest. It is not effective as an attack bicycle, more a excellent and quick transportation on small roads in the forest.

Sweden, as many other country’s have been using bicycles as a effective and quick transportation for the military forces for ages. In Sweden bicycles was mainly mused by the infantry, but bicycles were in all military branches. The air force, the navy as well.

In the army there were dedicated bicycle platoons with all sorts of configurations of bicycles. Some had mounting possibility for hooking up a trailer. There was a medical version for a stretcher being placed between two bicycles (sounds completely dangerous). One version even had a platform mounted on the frame where guard dogs could sit while riding along with the rider.

From the start the Swedish military named the bicycle after the year they were introduced in the service. The first model was m/1901, the m stands for “model” and 1901 the year. After that there was m/1927, m/30, m42, m/104, m/105 and finally m/111. Yes, I know. It is strange that they changed from using the year with four digits as model number to only use two digits and finally end up with a 100 series. Perhaps to confuse the enemy?


Monark made m/105A in it’s natural environment


A previous owner had painted 107 on the toolbox as well as F22 on the front mudguard at some point in time as a joke. F22 was the name of the Swedish air flotilla that was set up in Africa as UN forces between 1961 and 1963

With those old military bicycles comes lots of memories for many of us who did the compulsory military service. During the 20th century every young man (some women to) was drafted to serve about 7-10 months in a military regiment. Infantry, armour, navy, coastal artillery, air force and so on. Every one of these branches had these bicycles, so almost every one have used old bicycles in the classical green colour.

During some transports there used to be something like towing. A line with handles behind a tractor or a lorry where the bicycle riders used to hold on, they were placed in a zigzag pattern. In Sweden that was a common practise for large transportations. Madness, but it worked. Many of the former military service personel gets nostalgic when seeing towing after a tractor, or just by seeing a old military bicycle the memories comes back of the morning roll call, yellow pea soup and pancakes on Thursdays.


Chain wheel and detail of the handle that are mounted on the frame for carrying the bicycle

All those memories. I was told by an elderly family member long ago that when he was did his service during the war he fell asleep while riding his bicycle during a manoeuvre. Suddenly he had fallen out of the ranks and found him self on a field.  My father told me that when he was doing his military refresher training back in the late 1960’s being placed in the armoured forces.

One day they as the all were sitting and waiting for something (it was a lot of waiting in the military service). When a tank suddenly rolled up the street where they were. On the middle of the road someone had left a military bicycle. The tank commander in the conning tower noticed the bicycle. The tank rolled over the bicycle, stopped and made a pivot turn (in Swedish it is called a centre turn, meaning the tanks left and right tracks are running opposite each other making the tank turn around its own axis) right above the bicycle.

After the turn was complete, the commander ordered the driver to drive on. On the ground remained the twisted and totally destroyed bicycle. The commander was the famous race driver Picko Troberg.


Military marked (three crowns logo) original tires


Trelleborg T-nabb tires


Toolbox on the luggage rack with the makers name, Monark

When I did my 15 months military service in the navy, we in the staff had military bicycles on the base to move around quickly. I used an old m/42 with leather saddle, wooden handles and a front brake manoeuvred by a large metal bar that was integrated in the handlebars. It was so comfortable to ride that I borrowed it many times when riding to the shop outside the base. We even borrowed the bicycles one summer day when we were “awol” (absent without official leave) and went for a swim in the sea. Packing sandwiches and a towel in our military bags, strapping them on the luggage racks and riding to the beach. The officers were not so happy, but it was a really nice day.


Front light and detail of the spring on the frame that keeps the handlebars straight when being lifted


Even the military needs a bicycle bell. The classic “Pärlan / pearl” design in military green


Details of the protection frame for the rear light and the m/42 design of luggage rack with tool box

In fact I was so pleased with the m/42 bicycle I used in the navy that I a few years later went to a military surplus shop just outside Stockholm and bought an old decommissioned military m/42 bicycle. that still got hay stuck in the hubs. I had it for many years until it was sadly stolen.

Many years later a friend asked me if I wanted his old military bicycle. He thought it was to heavy and clumsy for him to use. I took a look at it and discovered it to be an m/105A version. A later version of the m/42. I realized right away that the rear break was in desperate need of service. The bicycle sounded like an old tram when braking and the rear wheel locked up at the slightest thought of using the rear break. I rode the bicycle home in the night avoiding breaking.

Later that week I dismounted the rear break cleaned the break drum, the break pads, lubricated all the parts that had not been lubricated sin 1972. Mounted it all together and it worked like a charm.


Fichtel & Sachs drum brake model HR 90 V.

The m/105A was made my the bicycle maker Monark in the 60’s, made from surplus parts both from the other bicycle makers Crescent and Husqvarna. I have no idea how many that were made, but since they are almost everywhere it must have been enormous amounts of bicycles in the military services. The advantage with these old bicycles is that parts are available almost anywhere, documents and instructions are easy to find. After all, the kids that were drafted had to do all the service them self, so they needed instructions for it all.


The content of the toolbox, it is all there except the bicycle pump…


…of course marked with three crowns…


…as well as the steering column

Later on I guess more or less all bicycles were decommissioned from their long service. Surplus and traders made the bicycles spread all over Sweden. I remember that the m/42 I bought back in 1992 costed me about £25. They were cheep and sturdy bicycles.

First they where everywhere in the military services, then they where everywhere in the civilian. You can still find them, in apartment bicycle storages, out in bicycle stands in the city. Almost every bicycle shop has one for sale.


With 26″ balloon tires you can ride on any surface and still experience comfort in the saddle

If maintained properly, it is an reliable and great bicycle that can take a lot of abuse.
Only being crushed under a tank might be a problem.