Archive for January, 2012

Ever dreamed of life as one long tweed ride where the roads are almost empty of cars, where everyone dresses as if they are characters in a Tintin story, and there are no mountain bikes whatsoever? (lol) …

Well then, this little book is for You!

the art of easy cycling ...

It’s called “The Art of Easy Cycling” by the Renold and Coventry Chain Co. and this edition was printed in England in 1946. It’s a cycling guide and an advertisement for their chains, written by F.J. Urry and illustrated with line drawings by F. Patterson. The Renold company apparently still exists today, and as I researched it online I discovered a newer version of the same book on flickr, I think from the 60’s.

Here then are some of the quaint but useful extracts:

the way to ride

seating comfort w/ cigarette !

position awheel

the art of pedalling

handlebars and gears

gears (cont.)

girls and wet weather

the enjoyment of cycling

the last inner page

There is some I have left out – it’s 23 pages approx. I apologise for the sizes, I am having some iphoto grief lately..

Happy Easy Cycling!


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monsoon summer - it's not looking good for the markets

a stripped down loop frame classic

anticipating the same bike - bad hair and bad timing?

the enigmatic bloggie shutter – it’s all guesswork, really.

an mtb --- well, this is swansea, remember?

main street rent-a-cruiser

the electric bicycle co. - with pedals

some dude on a dahon - (tee hee)

well, the sun finally did come out - for a while ...

iphoto is not recognising my editing today …

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Here are a couple of very old battery lights for bicycles. The rear lights are about as simple as you can make – a spring holds the battery away from the bulb terminal until the body is screwed on far enough to compress it and make contact with the bulb. As the body is unscrewed the spring pushes the battery away from it to turn the light off.

battery tail lights - with no switch

the battery goes here - simple and austere

with seat stay bracket and reflector/lens

this dimple is the negative contact!

The blue one is stamped “Eveready” “Made in England” and the black one looks like bakelite and is unmarked. Both are from my grandfather’s collection.

The headlamp / torches above are multi purpose, perhaps for army / boy scout / camping, fishing etc. uses. The black one is marked “Eveready” “Made in England” and has a fitting for a bicycle light bracket on the back.

just the thing for your rusty old roadster ...

To operate the Eveready, the knob screws down. The brass Kempthorne knob pushes down and twists to lock.  The Eveready takes a battery size called No. 701A .

made in australia

The brass one is dated “1944 Aust” – I believe it may be an army torch, it has a sort of large pocket clip on the back.

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Some pictures from a grey Wednesday’s half day ride to the Harbour and home :

fernleigh tunnel - southern entrance

Everyone I met was friendly today. Nothing like a bike to make you smile – and it’s catching.

my friend Vicki in Wheeler Place

Vicki's unique red speedwell

Here’s a link to Vicki’s blog Bicycles in Newcastle and her unique Speedwell bike .

fully equipped and the best wet weather bike i know ...

My Gazelle  —- I love this thing …

a reflective re-cyclist on the queen's wharf

i love these "toy tugs" - at wickham

a trawler ... wickham

the old plastic bag on the leather saddle trick - islington park

Wet weather gear —-  i had none.

the pedestrian bridge - throsby creek

back on the track - wet leaves at 25k's

the shooter shot

Shootout —- Bloggie vs. DSLR !

smile - i stole the moment !

A ride by shooting in Adamstown !

a tunnel abstract

A Bloggie lo-lite pic … in fernleigh tunnel

follow me home - jewells

The red shirt makes it!

wow - a gazelle cabby in belmont ?

Things are looking up! Nearly home and dry…

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I was wondering what to use for a bell on my latest restoration, when I came across a lonely and rusted chromed bell. In a past life, I was a junk magnet …

after rust converter

Once rust gets underneath chrome there’s not much that can be done except to remove the loose and flaky or blistered chrome, as it will eventually come away anyhow, as the rust continues eating away underneath.

I always try to return rusted bells to their smooth shiny chrome at first, but sometimes this doesn’t really work. They seem to look better then if “aged” by hand.

heavy duty rust removal

So if the rust is beneath the surface and chrome is spoiled I sometimes get brutal with a small file or sandpaper and steel wool. I don’t worry about scratch marks in this case because they give an additional surface character. In this case there was still some “shiny” left in places. Anything loose has been removed and the surface is rust free and smooth, yet visually scratched and worn. To prevent rusting again and keep the shine, I clear coated it with “White Knight”  brand clear epoxy. Fishoil or rust converter can be useful inside where appearance doesn’t matter as much.

These newer bells with plastic internals seem fragile, but generally last OK if not abused too much, as the mechanism is at least mostly out of the sun’s U.V. (unlike me!)

I know it’s a bit obsessive, but here is how they reassemble :

lever and spring

the middle gear

and the metal striker washers

bingo !

Ahh, metal – there’s only so much you can do with plastic – or someone would have made it ring by now, I’m sure.

Anyway, enough faffing about, I feel like going for a ride on a stormy Tuesday …  ding-a-ling !

to black ned's bay

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road king (left) with roadmaster (right)

Having just restored a 1984 Road King bike, I happened to be out in Swansea, near the dual lift span bridge, when I noticed another one, here on the left, in silver with blue trim. Fascinating, as I had never even known of this brand only 2 weeks ago ! Note the upturned road bars – I think it’s more elegant to fit different bars, but this does work cheaply, I suppose. It’s often done by older guys commuting on old road bikes around here, and has been for years. Road bars just aren’t appropriate for everyone …

Unfortunately Swansea’s atmosphere does not treat bikes well, as the air is loaded with salt, so regular cleaning is essential to keep rust at bay. Perhaps that’s why I have an aversion to rust and always try to eliminate it, as I grew up living in this area.

Here’s a closer look at the 10 speed Roadmaster step through. Sigh, a re-cyclist like myself could have such fun with these bikes … oh well, I can’t fix them all, can I?

At least it was good to see a couple of oldies in the area that weren’t MTBs !

I also spotted this young Superman … very photogenic.

"that's really super superman ..."

This shared path is good for candids as riders pass by slowly in reasonable numbers, and when there’s no-one on the path one can watch the water action:

weekend dive groups are popular here

On the far right (above pic) the shared pathway goes under the bridge, avoiding the often heavy car traffic.

this path leads along the channel to the lake and some quieter back streets

a shiny new bike...

See Ya !

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Why do I find this restoration thing fun? I am certainly not getting rich doing it … or even trying to.

before - apollo nouveau cross, 1980s

after - apollo nouveau cross, 1980s

I am not a professional restorer either, and I’m not worried if my restored bikes don’t look showroom new close up, as long as they work properly, look preserved and cared for, and are safe to ride. I prefer aged, non-rusted, hand polished surfaces to new ones.

before - malvern 2-star c. 1962

after - malvern 2-star c.1962

Part of the appeal is via the concern of seeing useful things go to waste, partly the fun of riding an older bike with a bit of history, uniqueness or character, and partly the sense of challenge and achievement in making a functional and/or desirable bike out of something unloved enough, or unused enough, to be discarded by the owner.

before - $25 for this dahon 16" folder c.1992

after - dahon 16" folder c.1992

One has to be careful that the expense of getting a bike together doesn’t become excessive, but on the other hand,  things like Brooks saddles are good investments that can be transferred from bike to bike. Buying too many new parts can defeat the idea of cutting down on waste, as all new parts consume energy and resources in their manufacture and distribution, just as did the original bike. Therefore with badly broken cases, I think that the bike is best used for parts, unless it’s unique.

now in progress - 2004 mongoose menace pro 30 yr. anniversary bmx bike - as it was

Also for example, by the time I buy a seat and chain it’s at least $40+  just for cheapies, and that’s usually required on a basic restoration. Then there’s often tyres and cables too, brake pads or bearings. It quickly adds up …

after - roadmaster 26", age unknown

I don’t normally buy old bikes, so have to make the best of brands that are not always good second hand sellers, and people don’t usually throw away perfectly working bikes, so what I am normally restoring are bikes with something wrong that the owner didn’t know how to fix, or couldn’t be bothered fixing, for whatever reason, major or minor.

before - road king c.1984

after - road king c. 1984

Better to be able to re-use something directly rather than melt it down for scrap. Even though that is also recycling, it consumes more energy than restoration…

... oops, sorry, this one was new.

Happy cycling!

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