My first vintage bicycle

Perhaps I have mentioned the first vintage bicycle I once had before?

If I have, well here we go again. After my military m/42 bicycle was stolen back in early 1990´s. I decided to pay the local bicycle shop a visit to see if there was any good bicycle there that I could buy. This was the time when vintage bicycles was just old bicycles, that old people was using. 1940’s bicycles without gears was not the kind of bicycles that people wanted back then.

Among all sorts of bicycles standing outside the shop I noticed an old grey bicycle for sale, it had modern plastic grips, reflectors all around and an modern headlight mounted, the price tag was about £25. after trying the bicycle, I handed over the money to the shop owner and rode it home. Just a fun detail, the shop where I bought the bicycle was an old 1950’s shop that was owned by an gentleman and his wife. My father remembered them from when he was a kid in the 1950’s. They had the shop since 1950 up to 1990’s when they sold it to a new owner who just a few years later closed down the shop and had everything removed. The old shop was all original from 1950s, including the old neon sign “Sjögrens cykel och sport”.

The bicycle I bought was an Panther, made in Stockholm in about 1942. It became my daily commuter bicycle for a long time and I used all the time, summer, winter and everything in-between. It was a great bicycle that kept on going, in rain and shine, mud and snow, all year round on its old tires.


One of the only photos of my bicycle from back then. The photo is made by taking a photo of the original photo with a smartphone. Today I have no idea where the original photos are, perhaps even thrown away

After a while I started to use my grandfathers old bicycle bag bag on the luggage rack to have more space for luggage.  The old bag looked great one the bicycle. In fact the luggage rack had areas of worn paint from the start, exactly where the hooks for my bicycle bag was hanging. It was meant to hang there. I replaced the modern plastic saddle with my grandfathers old leather saddle and noticed that the bicycle looked more “complete” in a way. That was when I started to look around for old bicycle parts. I started to get an idea of replacing the 1960’s headlight with an really old one. One day I found some handlebars with the old wooden style grips. Away with the awful modern handlebars with the plastic grips. Now it started to look like an complete bicycle. Later on I found other parts, parts that fitted the bicycle well in its dark grey paint with black details and golden contours.

Back then I was wearing vintage cloths, not to be fashionable. It was more an reason of having clothes handed down by elderly friends and relatives, “you can have his old jacket, I have no need for it any more”. Also money was a bit of an issue, so I could not buy cloths so often.

Nowadays I think they would call it eco-friendly, re-usage or something like that. But back then I was grateful for the old clothes, after all they fitted better than modern clothes. They had way better durability and looked way better, old shirts with huge collars and bell bottom trousers. Almost all looked good, the lilac velvet jacket with silver buttons from the 70´s that was given to me at one point, that was a bit odd, even for me.

A few years later after I bought the Panther, perhaps in the mid 1990’s. I decided to do an small adventure just for fun. I got the idea of taking a long ride in the forests south of Stockholm with the bicycle. Riding for fun, but also to take some photos of the nature with my old camera. That was when I used to develop and print my own photos in the basement, it was a fun and creative hobby.

I loaded the camera with film, I wrapped some bottles of lemonade in newspaper to keep the bottles cold, and made sandwiches that I warped in baking paper and tied up with some string. I put everything in the old backpack that I had bought at the old military surplus store at the same time I bought the military bicycle. The backpack was from the 30’s and reeked of an mouldy, damp old cellar. But it was cheep.

All set up and ready to go, I headed away. It was a lovely day, the sun was shining and after I left the main roads, rolling down the gravel paths in the woods, I started to really enjoy the bicycle ride. The fresh air and the wonderful smell of the forest filled my lungs. Now and then I stopped to take an photo at the forest and trees, or when I was sat an the cliff looking out over an lake, having a picnic with sandwiches and lemonade.

It was many years later I realized what I had done back then. Without knowing it, I had made an Tweed Ride event long before it even became a thing.


Here I am sitting in the grass, having a tweed moment

Many years later I met a girl at work who wanted an vintage bicycle. I had my old Panther, of course I helped her out by selling my own bicycle. Why i did that? The Panther was an size 26″ and was ever so slightly to small for me. So I removed all my personal parts of the bicycle and replaced them with other old parts, parts like my grandfathers saddle and so on.

When writing here about all my bicycles, I thought I had mentioned them all. But I forgot about the old Panther, until I found an old photo of the old bicycle. The camera I used back then is since long gone, sold, given away. The cloths was worn and torn beyond repairs. But the bicycle, the old Panther, that I sold is still around. In fact, the girl who bought it asked me to help out and fix it a few years later.

We decided to meet one day, there is was. The old bicycle that I bought many years ago, it was well taken care of and looked all fine. After some general service, change of tires and adding some parts I had laying in my boxes. The old Panther turned out to be a very nice bicycle that will be a great companion for many years to come.


The vintage black and brass ASEA dynamo matches the grey/black/gold colours of the bicycle perfectly!


A proud Panther owner

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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.

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.

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.

Looking back at 2018

It is January 2019!

It feels like it was only a moment ago when I attended all those Tweed events 2018, or was it? At least that is how it feels for me looking back, time moves really fast so it seems. I really hope all readers are well and that 2019 will be a really great year for all of us in every way possible!


2018 started with the Helsinki Winter Tweed event in February

This year as the last year will be a year filled with all sorts of tweed events and bicycling. Among some rides and events, there is the Stockholm Bike in Tweed event in September, Malmö, Gothenburg, Uppsala and Enskede to only mention some in Sweden. If everything goes as planed, I will have some reviews with some great images from odd places to publish during the year on this blog.


One hot Saturday in May I attended the original Tweed Run in London, it was the 10th year anniversary of the event

But to a more serious and a bit sad section in this post. Perhaps an reflection of the situation is a better description for the following text.

I do not have any garage or similar place for storage. Neither am I living at the country side with possibilities to store bits and pieces in cottages or barns. My options for storage at the present is an 2 by 3 meters large (small) basement storage unit. In that space, old things, clothes, “good to have things” and 7 bicycles with parts and tools have to get along.

The reality of the lack of space really struck me when I could not even change an flat tire on one bicycle without rearrange this entire storage unit. An constant game of “that box needs to go there and the bicycle needs to be lifted up and removed-puzzle”. In short I decided to sell some of my bicycles to create space. But also to be able to focus on only 2 or 3 bicycles instead of 8 or 9 bicycles, as I do now.


In the beginning of September I went to Norway and the Fredrikstad Tweed Run for a really lovely event

The lengthy process of selecting which one of my vintage bicycles I wanted to sell was difficult. After all, I have renovated them all and used them in different tweed events. But in the end, after giving it much though, I came to an decision on what to do.

I know a fellow bicycle rider and tweed-maniac that also has some bicycles he want to sell. He fixes up old wrecks and wants to sell some finished ones to get some new projects going. He agreed to help me sell my bicycles this spring. There are not so much money in selling my vintage bicycles. They are not in absolute original or pristine condition. My exaptations to make a profit is very low, as long as someone will enjoy them it is fine.


A few weeks later in September it was time for Malmö Tweed Ride, it was my third time there

In an earlier post, I mentioned the dream for the black bicycle from my childhood. The by now old story of the bicycle my father used when I was a kid. It turns out that the fellow tweedian has an old worn black vintage bicycle, that is fairly complete with all parts. Oddly it happens to be an Stockholm made Crescent from about the years 1927 to 1931. The same years as my black Crescent, that I build from vintage parts. So I think that instead of having almost 10 bicycles standing in my and other basements. I perhaps should focus on those two Crescents instead, one with luggage rack, chain guard and mudguards. The other, a more sporty version.

It feels like that is a way to go. But as always, more updates later on.


In the end of September Stockholm Bike in Tweed was held, sadly that was a rather chaotic and stressful event

To end this post on a positive note. Let us all hope that 2019 will be an eventful year filled with tweed and bicycles for us all. No matter where we are. Besides, an bicycle is modern today. It is environmental friendly, gives health and fresh air (often) and when attending tweed events. Lots of smiles and happiness.

Keep on bicycling!


In October it was 2018 last event, the Enskede Tweed event “Höstrusket” along the vibrant colours of the autumn