Monday, 14 December 2009

Winters here

Well it looks like the last ride I did into the mountains of Sanpoku was the last ride of the year as it's now very cold and it seems to be raining most days, which has put a stop to any more touring as many of the mountains roads I like to explore will soon be covered in snow if not already. One of the roads that Brian & I cycled on in Sanpoku is already closed due to winter. So the Humber has been put to rest and over the winter I'll give it a service ready for next season. This year Brian & I were able to go further afield due to the fact that I now have a van which can easy fit both our bikes without having to take the front wheels off, this enables us to get out of the city and into some new areas that we haven't explored before as cycling out of the city is not so pleasant. One of my winter projects is the construction of a 52 inch replica ordinary for a Japanese Wheelman as over the years I have built 9 bicycles of this type before. If you are interested please check out the link highwheelinginjapan on this blog for further info on the bicycle I'm building.


Thursday, 10 December 2009

Restore or refurbish ?

Over the many years I have been restoring bicycles , mainly older English bicycles such as 26" & 28" roadsters, shop delivery bicycles & a few fixed wheel racing bikes there was a decision to be made after obtaining the bicycle whether to restore or refurbish it.

How do you decide on which course to follow ?

Well that depends on several things such as - the age of the bike , it's current condition, if it's a rare model, a family heirloom etc. If you have obtained a very rare bicycle it is well worth the time & effort to restore it, but if the bike has outstanding features such as original box lining or company/ sales agent transfers these will be lost if you decide to repaint it. With the 1947 Humber sports pictured above I wanted to refurbish it rather than restore it - the reason why is that it's overall condition was rather good and even though there was light surface rust and some bare metal on the top tube this could be cleaned up and the original paintwork retained which also featured the sales agent transfer. Transfers whether original or replacements can easily be protected from the elements and usage with a fine brushed on coating of clear nail polish which protects the transfers from getting damaged. With the Humber refurbishment I wanted to bring it back to it's original condition as advertised in the Humber 1948 sales leaflet. The following parts were taken off the Humber for various reasons such as - they were damaged beyond repair, not original to the bike

Rear rack
Lucas dynamo lighting set
Lucas odometer
Mattrass saddle

The parts that refurbished were

Handle bars - re chromed as badly rusted
Rims - rebuilt with new heavy gauge spokes as the old spokes were rusted
Tires - The bike had fantastic Dunlop made in NZ tires but were unsafe for use
Sturmey archer ABC rear hub - rebuilt with NOS internals & a larger rear cog
Top tube S.A shifter - replaced with NOS trigger shifter
Saddle - replaced with New Brooks B17 - should have B15
Mudguards - replaced with NOS as old ones were damaged

Apart from replacing a few parts with period pattern replacements I also added extras that would have been available in 1947 such as a Lucas cyclometer NOS, Saddle bag surport rack, Carradice Nelson longflap saddle bag, alloy water bottle & pump. The previous items are something that could have been purchased in the 1940s and even though the Humber is not a show stopper I have no fear of taking it on extended multi day tours or a 100km day ride. Since it's refurbishment it has not let me down once whilst out touring. One nice thing about refurbishing a bicycle is that you can do it little by little as time and money allows plus you can still keep riding it.

Happy Cycling

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

My father & his Humber sports

All the years I was growing up I watched my father ride his Humber bicycle to work everyday no matter what the weather was, if it was raining he put on his oilskin parka and headed off to his job at the Ford garage where he worked as a car mechanic from age 15 till he retired around 60. Even though I started collecting vintage bicycles in the early 1990s I never thought my fathers bike was very special. Back then my father rode it with the handlebars turned upside down which was very popular due to the fact that it gave the rider a more upright position and it was fitted with a sprung mattress type saddle ( maybe a Terry band from the UK ) plus it has a rear carrier fitted as well. The bike was also fitted with a heavy duty Lucas dynamo lighting set and a Lucas odometer. I also remember the bike having a vinyl pannier bag in which to carry a raincoat etc. But it was only when my father showed me the catalouge that came with the bike that I realised that it was a sports model and near the top of the Humber range back in 1947 which encouraged me to restore it to it's present condition. My father had the shop install the optional 3 speed sturmey archer drum brake model ABC & top tube quadrant shifter when it was first purchased. Just today I received the two attached photos of the Humber showing it's previous condition