It was great to see some of the classic bikes of Newcastle gathered together again for this second-time-around Newcastle Tweed Ride.
Some overall views can be seen on the Facebook site “Newcastle Vintage Tweed Ride”, and on Vicki’s blog “Bicycles in Newcastle” (see blogroll), but here I will concentrate on a few favourite bikes seen there.
Firstly, some details of the only “Ordinary Bicycle” ( a.k.a penny farthing ) at the event – though hopefully there will be more next year. This one is a beautiful modern reproduction :
I don’t believe I’m the only one who thinks that modern performance bikes are becoming excessively complex and fussy, with manufacturers pushing minimal spoke counts, electronic gears, hydraulic brakes and such, but I wonder how many of these components or carbon frames would be easily recyclable AND look better than ever after sitting for a decade or two in a shed or beside the house ?
Hence the appeal of steel frames, coaster brakes, dynamo lights, and the other practically simple mechanicals of cycling.
And while I can drool as well as anyone over Reynolds, Campagnolo and Columbus, I have a real soft spot for the plain, everyday “bread-and-butter” bicycles of decades past :
This simply furnished Malvern Star “Touristar” is a great example. Removing anything further from it would be a visually backward step, yet adding accessories to it would also.
Therefore, it must surely be near perfect as it is..
Perhaps just losing the wheel reflectors and adding a classic pump and some metal rat-trap pedals ….?
There is just enough subtle patina to be charming, yet it’s in good enough original condition to have obviously been well loved.
Another favourite was this 26 inch wheeled Ladies’ Speedwell Roadster which has been lovingly – and practically – accessorised with “Brooks England” style and fitted with cream tyres and a red skirt guard.
And check out the beautiful Bell ladies’ model leather saddle !
How much nicer is this than the majority of modern “retro” bland step-through offerings ?
Another thing that I’m a known sucker for is the unrestored frame. In these two close-ups of a Speedwell and a Cyclops (?) roadster you can see the charm of rust and colourful scratches set against “modern classic” Sturmey Archer running gear in the form of their S2C hub.
The two-speed coaster brake kickback hubs being perhaps the closest thing ever to a “thinking person’s cable free non-fixed-gear bike”. Of course it would have been nice to see these bikes “all original”, but that’s difficult if their running gear was typically worn out, clunky, or rusted.
By keeping your classic frame original, many possibilities then remain for yourself or a future owner.
This desirable white Carlton road bike was at last year’s event. This year it came equipped with race wheels and fork mounted carry brackets, as if intended to be ridden to an event then raced. Wonderfully presented !
Finally, a Brompton with provenance – as the owner informed me that it was previously owned by the Blue Wiggle !
To see more, you will need to come to the event next year…
Happy Re-Cycling !