Archive for December, 2012

it's ho-ho-hot

it’s ho-ho-hot in this get-up, hey santa ?

Those who live in the southern hemisphere truly understand the irony of Christmas, where overdressed Santas inhabit chilly air-conned shopping centres, while outside the mercury is in the mid 30s Celsius. The land bakes under a burning blue and white sky, and most people are wearing as little clothing as is publicly decent.

To get into these centres, one usually drives around and around in a crammed carpark, looking for the telltale signs of departing fellow motorised consumers, all quietly adding to the global buildup of greenhouse gases while morphing into grumpy old Christmas hating people. At least the SUV has airconditioning … ( cough ).

So, how otherwise might one stay relatively sane when doing last minute small item shopping ?

a stealth shopper

a stealth shopper with anti-sunburn gloves

Easy ! — by using one’s shopper bike.  The Elswick Cosmopolitan is a perfect example – with its front and rear carry racks over small wheels giving a low centre of gravity and an easy low speed manoeuvrability. One simply locks it to an immovable object right out front of the shops and heads on inside ….

It’s a little bit ratty and not very steal-able so that one doesn’t have to worry too much about theft while inside the shops. The re-cycled budget Italian plastic fruit crate makes riding this bike a truly Euro-Brit-Aus-Cosmopolitan experience (tee hee).

now load it up ...

now, load it up …

So then, the Elswick is finally operational, despite a missing on-line parts order which has since been replaced by the supplier. There are a few details left to finish, as well as the usual “post-resto” bedding-in-and-tweaking adjustments. Oh yes, and first gear is not working – so one day this may be my first hub gear re-build ( gulp! ). Two speeds are OK for now, but a bigger sprocket again may be called for meanwhile  – (22T ?).

midsummer stripes

midsummer stripes

de-rusted, pre-aged and hand painted guards (lol)

de-rusted, pre-aged and hand-painted guards (lol)

All this makes me wonder if there will ever be ride-through shopping, (or at least indoor bike parking) in our supermarkets…

Have a Happy Cycling Christmas!


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a small detail ..

a small detail ..

Once upon a time long ago, ( when I didn’t know better ) I repainted my original old Speedwell bike that had become very rusty from living near the sea. To help do this I removed the “S” insignia head badge so I could paint underneath it, but sadly my efforts at reaffixing it were a failure and it was lost on the road somewhere in my misspent youth …

the ladies' popular

the ladies’ popular

Since then I’ve missed having it there and the steering head has looked kind of empty after refurbishing “old faithful” for the umpteenth time. So, just for fun, I tried a cheap and cheerful solution, and I don’t mean trawling ebay for an obscure bike badge. I had a roll of thin Aldi aluminium tape on hand plus some strong double sided sticky that I use for shellacking ( btw, how come shellac doesn’t have a “k” in it ? ).

empty headed

empty headed

I took a pencil rubbing off my Speedwell ladies’ popular and transferred it by tracing to the aluminium, cutting out with an Olfa cutter and scissors. The final touch was to use a concave nail punch head and thickish gold paint to simulate the rivets.

Sure it’s only cheap embellishment, and professional restorers may chuckle, but it has at least  given back a bit of nostalgic identity to my old childhood bike and I don’t see the point in spending on Speedwell repro. decals when this bike is so non-original anyway.

the transfer

the transfer

The tape will need clear coating to help preserve it as it’s quite flimsy. The badge could be coated with amber shellac to give a bit of rustic visual warmth if so desired.

these punches are great for making painted dots

these concave punches are great for making painted dots


ta-daa … positioning is very critical though , this is a bit low

Actually all this experimenting started when I tried to make an original head badge for the “empty headed” generic Pink Mixte that I’m refurbishing. Using the same process I cut out a “PM” badge – coincidentally my initials also …

no more "turbo"

no more “turbo”

This frame will have the lugs lined and some more detailing and coating yet, but you get the idea….

Depending on your patience, this process could be used to DIY decorate other parts of your restored bike provided it’s not done in a vulnerable location where a scrape is likely.

Also, shiny soft aluminium pet food containers could be cut up and recycled in lieu of the alu tape. Thin copper craft sheets also come to mind for head badges.

Happy Decorating !

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