Posts Tagged ‘ladies speedwell roadster’

pretty as a picture ... not

pretty as a picture … not

Chuck-out season isn’t finished yet, but so far I’ve had very mixed results – I first cut my finger on an unknown wreck of a bike while trying to assess whether it was worth dragging out of the rubbish for a Sturmey Archer hub. The wheel rims were so badly rusted they were like knives. I’m not usually so superstitious, but I then decided to leave it well alone.

Later on, I was lucky enough to find another ladies’ Speedwell Popular loop frame, though it falls in the category of ……”maybe I should just leave it alone too ? ”

green, gold, and rust

green, yellow, and rust

I think it would be suitable just as it is – for a wall display in a shop or cafe. It’s missing the chain guard but is otherwise complete.

I’m not sure, however, that I could make the paintwork look good again, as it’s really rusty in places.

oh dear....

oh dear….what have i done ?

The bike came from a low lying suburb of Eastern Lake Macquarie, which is a large salt lake known to mercilessly devour old and uncared for bicycles. It has the typical Renak 40H coaster with a track cog and lock-ring, and a Durex 32H front hub. The coaster has a very bent brake arm, but it may be save-able. Interestingly, the galvanised spokes are hardly rusted at all.

a no frills williams - i'm yet to check the date code on it

a no-frills Williams – i’m yet to check the date code on it.

The chain set is a Williams, and it’s the version without a removable ring, but at least it’s in good condition. Bottom bracket fittings are T.D.C., with a No.4 axle.

Wheels are 28″ – the 642mm version and are colour matched in green. I don’t think they are suitable for actual use anymore, however.

The saddle is a Bell ‘model 80’ in dreadful condition but the seat pin still has most of its chrome due to being left in the lowest position. This bike was parked next to a much newer MTB ready for collection – the people there probably thought I was mad, as I left their newer bike behind !


If I do fix this one up it will be a proper challenge, as it’s a frustrating example that is rustily tempting a repaint, yet still has enough of its original finish to hint .. “no”.

If the original finish is kept, a clear coat would be needed to stop the remaining paint flaking away completely.

See Ya !


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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.

a classy trek 520 tourer

a classy trek 520 tourer

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 :

malvern star touristar

malvern star touristar

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 ?

no, not a brooks !

no, not a brooks !

on the street

on the street

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 !

impressive carlton

impressive carlton

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 !

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