Posts Tagged ‘gazelle toer populair’

It’s nearly time for the Tweed Ride, Novocastrians ! It’s on August 28 this year – refer to the Bicycles in Newcastle blog for details – and attend if you can – we should be grateful that there are people prepared to put in the effort to keep this great event going !
I do tend to get a bit reflective at Tweed Ride time, and sometimes think of such pressing things as “Which bike to ride ?” or “What clothes will I wear ?” and although my Gazelle is a perfect bike for this event I still like to use an old Aussie bike if I can, and I prefer to use a different machine each year, for variety.

bracing myself for things to come ..

bracing myself for things to come ..

The 2011 Toer Populair has been covered in detail in one of my earliest blog posts, and that post has the longest comment thread of any on this blog – which has probably also helped sell a few for Royal Dutch Gazelle !

Today I had the feeling to take it out for a gentle 20 odd km. spin, to clear the head a little.

This bike would have to be my favourite for seeking out photos when I’m out and about, because of the commanding views it encourages me to take in when I’m perched upright, high on its sprung B66 saddle.

I don’t use it all the time, but when I do it’s like a breath of fresh air. There are a few differences compared with riding a road bike of course, and these include the following —  My “Toerpopulati” !  :

toer pop art

toer pop art

1)   It’s best to spin, not mash, the pedals – this bike weighs about as much as two steel road bikes and accelerates accordingly ! To save the knees, I don’t usually go above 5th or 6th of the 8 gears on the flat, and I change down as soon as my cadence drops a bit in a headwind or up a rise.  I pretend I am driving a truck, and gear change accordingly !  Probably good advice for any geared bike, really..

Once up to speed it will glide along beautifully on the flat.

Unless one has iron quads and knees, 7th and 8th gears are for soft pedalling down hills. On the flat, wind resistance at speed will stop you from using these gears with a proper cadence unless you are in a paceline (lol).

2)   One can’t really stand up on the pedals – firstly, balance is compromised and second, it doesn’t look right ! One can, however, only if no-one is looking, lean forward and hold the bars near the stem for a slight aerodynamic advantage …

3)   When doing slow sharp turns one may need to shift the inside knee out under and beyond the inside bar grip when the inside pedal is down, and back again once the turn is completed – this is actually easier than it sounds !

4)   Due to the rack and basket, I often mount the bike by first starting to roll standing sidesaddle on the left pedal, then lifting my right foot over the top tube – easy if you have good bike balance.

( Taking care not to scratch the lovely paintwork of course ! )

5)    Much as with a tandem, it’s good form not to curse when climbing long hills … it will help to imagine the fun and speed you’ll have when the long descent finally arrives.

Spin the lowest gear you can cadence up on and if necessary be prepared to walk it – that gives your quads a little recovery time as well !

6)   The bike does beautiful long slow turns at moderate speeds and encourages one to lean in line with it – and that feels great.

7)    The Nexus 8 hub is pretty much faultless as long as one remembers to ease off the pedals when changing –  Sturmey Archer 3sp. users will understand what I mean here.

8)   Roller brakes are a very gentle way of stopping – think well ahead and you’ll be fine !

9)   You will look silly on a “ToerPop” wearing any kind of lycra – don’t even think about it !

10)    You will be dropped by any moderately fit person on a good road bike – but if you’re like me, you most probably won’t care.  Just keep going, and imagine the reverse if you two were to swap bikes.


I’ve had very few dramas with this bike : some broken spokes, some surface rust on the head fittings and a dicky switch and blown halogen on the Lumotec head lamp. Broken spokes are usually due to uneven tension, so I recently checked the front ones with my Park Tool tension meter and evened them out while truing.

The front roller brake is fairly easy to remove for spoke replacement, although the back wheel could be time consuming because of the chain case and Nexus cassette joint. Minor adjustment of spokes could be accomplished with the rear wheel in the frame.

Happy Tweed ‘n’ Toer-ing !!


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the heavenly bath-chair

the heavenly bath-chair

Road bikes are great when you’re in a hurry, but you can’t beat the experience of taking your time – when you have that time. Time that passes more slowly, and speed that seems much lower because your head is higher above the ground, looking about and taking in all the sights.

takin' it slow - i was walking it here

takin’ it slow – i was walking it here

On a road bike you are focussed on yourself a great deal more – your pace, your control, hazards coming up fast. I would  recommend all road bike riders to have a second “slow bike” to appreciate the inner-self via the outer world, as much as by physical exertion.

I feel that the bicycle market here is similar to the motorcycle market, in that the mainstream is either fast-looking racing style bikes or grippy dirt bikes (if you go to most mainstream motorbike shops). My take on this is to ask myself why we should all be like each other in our riding needs ?

Who says I have to have one or the other – I mean road bike or MTB ? Find your own niche I say …  be it new, or second hand classic, and do your own thing …

to salts bay

to salts bay

Today I rode the Gazelle for the first time in a while, and feel the better for it. No stress on the upper body and I saw all the sights !


I became a little blase the other morning on my early commute – having pre-checked my headlight to see the green “charged” light on. Didn’t worry about my spare battery …



About twenty minutes in the indicator suddenly went mostly red on a totally lightless track…

Thankfully, it took about half an hour for the battery to fully die, at which time it was getting faintly light…

hurry up, day !

hurry up, day !

some street lights

some street lights

I was given a valuable lesson – take that spare ( and consider a dynamo set ) !

dumaresq st

dumaresq st  

follow that bike !

follow that bike !

nearly there...

nearly there…

Lucky I wasn’t going home from an afternoon shift, it would have been a long one .

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Well, I had a medical appointment in Newcastle, so I made the most of it from an early start :

fernleigh track duckpond

Cool morning with a wind chill …

gazelle in fallen flowers – adamstown

And a ferry ride later ..

stockton cemetery

I haven’t been to this cemetery before, and was the only one here today .

hunter river view

From the Stockton cycle path – one of the ever changing views.

cyclist in tunnel

I never tire of chasing odd “lo-lite” shots in here …

back on fernleigh track – i forgot – it’s school holidays …

All in all, a pleasant day stretching the Gazelle’s legs, as it were.

Ride to remember, or ride to forget – just remember to ride.

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As a second-attempt follow up to the previous post, I did the same journey today on my 8-speed Gazelle. You would think that it would be slower than the ten speed Road King, as it is much heavier, but that wasn’t the case. I actually shaved 5 minutes off the previous time to the ferry wharf. Delays were roughly the same, so what made the difference? The Gazelle is a comfortable refined ride and very quiet on the road, taking corrugations in its stride.

On the other hand, the old 27″ Road King has a freewheel that sounds like a swarm of bees and a saddle like stone, with the narrow tyres transmitting every corrugation. I think it only feels as though it’s faster because of its harsh directness. It’s still great fun to ride though, and its low speed handling is quite a bit more nimble than the Gazelle’s (perhaps because of the steeper steering angles?).

rough and ready - road king

The silence on Fernleigh Track in some places is such that I like to listen to dead leaves as they rustle behind me in the slipstream, accompanied by the faint creaking of the Brooks saddle, the wind in my ears and the soft whizz of 28″ tyres on smooth asphalt.

solitude - fernleigh tunnel - going home

Anyway, about half way along the track I saw road bike riders approaching behind me, and though I expected them to pass, they took longer than I thought to do that, and I noticed that some were my age or older.

i shot this one over my shoulder


Once they had passed I pedalled a little harder to keep up, which wasn’t too difficult. I followed them and kept with them the rest of the way which might partly explain the 5 minute improvement, as I normally ride alone, at my own pace.

climbing - and listening to the leaves - whitebridge


still following

After splitting off from the other riders and following Teralba Road from the Adamstown railway gates, I decided to take Everton Street instead of Dumaresq Street through South Hamilton. While Everton is a bit more hilly, it felt slightly safer than Dumaresq, from a dooring and car speed perspective.

held up in honeysuckle drive - around 5mins to 9:00am

Finally straight through the railway gates at Newcastle West, and onto Honeysuckle Drive – perhaps if I had been luckier or faster I could have made the 9:00am ferry – imagine riding for 70 minutes and missing the ferry by 30 seconds! That’s exactly what happened.

i missed the boat - again!

It wasn’t essential to cross the harbour today, so I headed home again via Wickham foreshore – a much longer but more pleasant route …. sigh.

one of the same riders later, near belmont - another over the shoulder shot

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