I have been looking for some time for an older classic bike to restore, and this time I wanted one with its original paintwork – well, here she is – a Speedwell popular “ladies” bike in light blue and maroon. It is a very similar frame to Vicki’s red bike, almost a sister, in fact.
The head tube lugs are plain and the bolt-on seat stays have a slightly different gusset arrangement, otherwise they are almost identical. Sadly, I don’t have any history, as this bike was an ebay purchase and not from the original owner. The seller was told it was from the 1940’s.
The added handbrake is not suited to the Westwood style rims – most old Australian roadster bikes like this had back pedal coaster brakes rather than rod brakes.
The rear hub is a “New Eadie” coaster brake, made by BSA in England, and the front hub is engraved “Speedwell” in cursive. Rims are painted cream with blue pin lining on each side of the spokes.
This frame has such a beautiful patina – I could look at it for hours. It shows signs of having been partly over painted in silver at some point, though this was later mostly removed and so some of the original paint has been thinly abraded.
Attention to paint and lining details seems a characteristic of older Australian bicycles and this bike is a great example.
Some of the detail is faint which really just adds to the charm. The seat and seatpost were not original, but the bike has a gorgeous art-deco style chainguard as well as the original painted and hand lined 28″ Westwood rims. The handlebar is fixed, as is Vicki’s. The rear mudguard has the holes for a long-gone skirt guard. To my mind such bikes lose much of their attraction if the original guards (chain and fenders) are missing, so I consider myself lucky with this one.
Sadly the left crank and pedal are both gone, so I will have to decide on replacements. Otherwise it’s a vintage enthusiast’s dream! I can now try my hand at its conservation … and it just begs for for a leather saddle!