Sunday, 22 February 2009

Art work from a 1938 issue of Cycling magazine

Carnac Carlit cycling shoes

In my last post I mentioned my French Carnac Carlit cycling shoes so I thought I would provide a bit more info on these shoes in case any one is interested in purchasing some. I purchased mine many years ago from an online British cycling store, I can not remember which one but below are some links to where you could find a pair.

These are the main stockists of this shoe in the UK & USA and I did hear somewhere that they are now discontinued, so if you do want a pair you might have to quick. There are other trad style shoes around such as Reynolds from the UK and more info on them can be found at the following website

Pictured above are my Carnac Carlit shoes to give you an idea of what they look like and an add taken from a 1938 issue of Cycling magazine advertising some similar looking shoes

Friday, 20 February 2009

British style cycling clothes

Well as you can see from the photo below I am not a fan of bright Lycra cycling clothing, I must admit I did once wear such clothing and no I will not post a photo of me wearing lycra as this is a lycra free blog. Anyhow once I discovered the joys of riding vintage/classic bicycles I thought it ridiculous to have spent all that time and money restoring a classic bike to go out riding it in modern clothes etc. Its possible to put together a traditional cycling outfit without spending too much money. Below is the type of clothing I ride in and most of it can be purchased anywhere.

First of all you need a sturdy pair of shoes and since vintage/classic bicycles do not have spd type pedals you should find a pair of comfortable leather shoes with a flat sole that will slip easily into toe clips if you have them and are comfortable for walking as well. The shoes I use are French traditional touring shoes called Carnac Carlits and are perfect cycling shoes and are very similar to what riders back in the 30s - 40s would have worn. There are a few places that stock this shoe but if you do a search for them and find some they are well worth buying as they are very good quality.

Along with the shoes you will need some woolen knee socks, I use traditional hiking knee socks that come in summer & winter weight and are available in a variety of colours including argyle.

Apart from footwear you need to decide if you are going to wear shorts or knickerbockers, plus fours etc. If wearing shorts choose some comfortable hard wearing material in Khaki or a dark colour that will not get soiled easily for that classic British look. Do not buy short shorts otherwise you will look like a young boy scout, but buy knee length shorts they offer plenty of room for cycling. If its cold wear knickerbockers or plus fours made of wool or cotton.

For a shirt a hard wearing khaki army shirt is perfect or even a plain colored polo shirt these items can be bought new or try hunting around the 2nd hand clothing stores or army surplus stores for something suitable. A long sleeved shirt is very useful as it offers you protection from the sun and if its too hot you can roll up the sleeves. Depending on the weather you may need a woolen vest or a jumper/sweater, if you get hot while cycling this item can be easily stowed away in your Brooks or Carradice saddle bag etc.

Apart from the clothing mentioned above the other item that is useful is a lightweight Northfolk jacket or similar. I was lucky enough to buy a nice light weight jacket last year new that looks similar to jackets worn in old cycling photos I have seen. Its perfect and the sleeves can be rolled up if hot and it has plenty of pockets for money,a tobacco pipe or even a hip flask of single malt and if not being worn it can be rolled up and put away in your saddle bag.

The final item to top everything off is a hat in this case a flat cap in cotton or tweed or a French beret. These caps are easily rolled up when not in use and complete the entire outfit.

Pictured above is a photo of me in the clothing I usually cycling in and an old drawing of what cyclists used to wear.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Brooks saddle bag supports

In the days when cyclists carried their Primus camping stoves and a pot or two for a brew up by the side of the road plus their lunch they needed a saddle bag. At the time two of the largest manufacturers of saddles bags were Brooks , the saddle maker who still continues to make the best leather saddles on the planet today and Carradice of Nelson whose saddle bags are still available. If you check back through my blog you will see my review of the Carradice long flap saddle bag that I use on my Humber, a fantastic trad saddle bag and the perfect accessory for any classic/vintage bicycle. These type of saddle bags attach to the loops of Brooks saddles and if you over load your saddle bag it may damage your mudguards. To alleviate this problem bag manufacturers produced saddle bag supports such as the two examples pictured above.

Below is the description of the 1934 Brooks No.10

BROOKS NO.10 Bag support,Light pressed steel carrier, ribbed for strength , Four point attachment to down tubes, Black & Chromium, Weight: 14 oz , Price 1/9

The modern version of the support racks shown above would be the Japanese Viva bag support pictured in a previous posting

Wednesday, 4 February 2009