Wednesday, 8 December 2010

1970s French Jeunet

Hi Everybody

Sorry I haven't blogged in a while but my job at the bicycle store is keeping me busy and with the recent weather I haven't been out on the Humber for quite a while. Just this week I took delivery of a nice 1970s French Jeunet racing bike as I had been thinking about buying a new racing bike but in the end I decided on a classic instead. The bike I purchased was built in the early 1970s in France and it was exported to the US as around that time there was a bike boom going on and many European makers were producing 27" road bicycles for the American market. Jeunet was a good quality bike boom model equipped with the following parts - 27" chromed steel Rigida rims with the textured braking surface, Mafac " Racer Brakes " , Simplex Prestige gearing, Normandy alloy high flange hubs , Universal cottered cranks with Eclair pedals etc. The frame is in good condition and with some more restoration it should look fantastic and it will make a nice commuter for work and will still be able to handle longer rides into the countryside. Once it's finished I'll post some more photos of it but the above photos show the condition is was when it was 1st purchased.

Cheers Don
Furumachi Bicycle

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Cycle Mode 2010 part 4

After viewing most of the trade stands I thought I had seen everything of interest but then to my surprise was a small corner stand decked out with enlarged Frank Patterson classic cycling prints with 3 vintage bicycles on display and a mannequin wearing a modern version of a traditional rain cape and cap. The oldest bike on display was a nice original ladies Sunbeam belonging to Kazusuke Koike of Tokyo. Being a antique / vintage bicycle fan I was surprised to see such a display at Cycle Mode amongst all the latest high tech bicycles and asked Mr Koike if there was any kind of organized group in Japan for antique / vintage bicycles which unfortunately there isn't . He did say that a small group of riders get together now and again who have an interest in vintage carbide lamps etc but it would be nice if there was at lest an annual antique / vintage bicycle rally held in Japan. My current job is rather busy but maybe in the future I might be able to organize something as I'm sure it would be great fun.

Pictured above is Mr Koike's display

Cycle Mode 2010 part 3

One of the other trade stands I wanted to visit was Eurobike which import some interesting brands one of which is Kemper - Dursley Pedersen replicas. The bike on display was fitted out with Shimano's version of grip shift and looked rather nice but I would have preferred to have seen it fitted with Sturmey Archer instead of Shimano. The same company has just started importing Sturmey Archer and had a good selection of Sturmey's new 3 speed fixed Shimano's hubs, crankset's etc on display and if S.A is cheaper it might temp a few people to try them out maybe.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Cycle Mode 2010 part 2

Another importer which also deals in Brooks products had a nice display and I got quite excited when I saw a Pashley Governer on display , I believe the Governer that was on display is their top of the range model which had brass plated lugs. Next to the governor was a Pashley Clubman which was also a very nice bike but upon talking to the importer the bikes were only on display and Pashley Bicycles are not imported into Japan at present. The main complaint being that Pashley is rather slow at conducting international business and for that reason their bicycles are not imported to Japan at present. I hope in the near future that Pashley will look at getting into the Japanese market as I'm sure their bicycles would sell well here. On the same trade stand was a selection of new Brooks duffel bags made from canvas and leather which also looked very nice.

Cycle Mode 2010

Hi Everybody

Sorry I haven't posted anything for a while but my new job is keeping me rather busy, but it's fantastic to be working in a bicycle shop again after a break of many years. Last Friday my workmate and I took the bullet train to Tokyo to attend the international cycle trade show called Cycle Mode, the event was held in a huge indoor event space in Chiba which is about 30 mins by train from Tokyo station. I took a number of photos of the various new 2011 models but as this blog is dedicated to vintage bicycles I have included the above set of photos that I found of interest. The Brooks trade stand was very nicely laid out with a bicycle on display featuring their new brick lane panniers set against a brick wall, the panniers look very well made and the muted colors would look nice on any traditional bike set up for touring. Just behind the fake brick wall was the entire range of brooks saddles including their new range of organic leather saddles in a natural leather color, the leather on these saddles appears to be a bit thicker than most standard brooks that are currently in production. The was also a display of the colt saddles which now come in a range of colors, I don't think I'll be putting a pink colt saddle on my Humber anytime though !. Also there was a fixe built up using Brooks products on display as now many younger riders are fitting Brooks saddles to their track bikes. Brooks saddles in Japan sell quite well and are gaining popularity all the time. Pictured above are some photos of the Brooks trade stand

Friday, 8 October 2010

2011 Cinelli release

Hi Everybody

Sorry I haven't blogged for a while by my new job is keeping me rather busy, I have made a plan to don some tweed and get out for some inner city pottering with a mate later this month as I haven't been out on the Humber for a while now and I'm looking forward to taking a spin even if it is just around the city. Yesterday I was in Tokyo on business and although Tokyo is not my favorite place to visit , I did enjoy myself yesterday. I along with my boss and one of staff member were invited to the private viewing of the new Cinelli bicycle range which was held at a hotel in the center of Tokyo. As to be expected there were a lot of high tech alloy, carbon fiber frames in bright modern graphics with the latest components from Shimano & Campy. But one bicycle in particular really took my eye which is called the Gazzetta Della Strada , last year this frame was only available as a track frame in several bright colors but this year Cinelli has also released a road frame to satisfy the market for a reasonably priced steel road bike. According to the Cinelli importer in Japan the bike will only be available as a frameset only, at least here in Japan. The bike that was on display ( I forgot my camera so I found the above photos from the net from the Euro bicycle show ) was kitted out with Shimano Tiagra with Tekto brakes and a rolls saddle. The frame is a nice dark, grey blue with the Cinelli logo in white on the down tube and the multi colored crest on the head tube. The bike is made from double butted Columbus tubing and it comes with rack mounts and clearance for race guards and 25mm tyres. I don't think I've ever wanted a brand new road bike so much ,but this bike is an affordable steel classic that would look great built up with any group set & maybe topped off with a nice Brooks saddle.

pictured above are a couple of photos of the della strada from Cinelli

Sunday, 19 September 2010

My new job

Well if you were wondering why I haven't posted anything recently on 3speedtouringinjapan it's because I have been rather busy helping to set up a brand new bicycle shop in the center of Niigata City. I do not own the shop but had a lot of input into the design and layout as I'm the manager of the shop. I never thought I'd ever be managing a bicycle shop in Japan but I'm happy to be repairing & selling bicycles again in a country where most foreigners only teach English. I used to work in bicycles shops back in New Zealand & have enjoyed repairing bicycles since I was given a small bicycle repair book for my 8th birthday. At present there aren't any 3 speeds in the shop but there are a couple of older bicycles that have been restored. If anyone is wanting any parts from Japan just let me know. I also sell my hand made NZ / Australian style pies from outside the store every Wed, Sat & Sun so if you are ever in Niigata city come along to my shop which is on Nishibori Dori 4 Bancho. Pictured above a few photos of the store

Thursday, 2 September 2010

A modern restoration

Many years ago before I discovered the joys of vintage bicycles I used to be involved in the MTB scene in New Zealand. My home town of Geraldine was the perfect location for MTBing as nearby there were several public reserves offering fantastic mountain biking and I gained permission to ride in the local Kakahu forest as well. Around that time I was also president of the South Canterbury Mountain Bike club and often traveled all over the South Island competing in MTB races. I owned several different brands of bicycles over the years such as Specialized , Scott, Diamond Back, Gary Fisher etc but one of the brands that I always wanted to buy was a Cannondale. But in the early 1990s Cannondale's were out of my price range. Just yesterday I was given a 1998 M400 rigid Cannondale which was hand made in the USA. The bike was originally a 21 speed but someone has upgraded it to a 24 speed with different shifters,brake levers & wheels. I spent this morning stripping the bike down & re building it and cleaning it up. because it's already been up graded I think I'll add some more Shimano XT components to it in the future. So finally after many years I now own a cannondale. Pictured above is a picture from the 1998 Cannondale leaflet showing the bike I have and a photo of the bike I've just restored.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

New Lauterwasser handle bars

Hi Everyone

Just the other day while considering a new 3 speed project I found a posting by the well known bicycle company " SOMA " from the US from way back on March 30th. It was a posting on their new handle project which is a version of the classic Lauterwasser handle bar. This is good news for people wanting to obtain this older style of bar as it has not been made for well over 40 years or so. The Soma Lauterwasser bar is unfortunately not made of steel like the original bar was and the inner curve is slightly different as well. But Soma said if there is enough interest in the bar they will look at making a steel version in the future. Their alloy version which is pictured above is 47cm wide with a OD of 22.2mm which gives you a lot of choices for flat bar type levers and also there are some nice trad levers available from Dia Compe in Japan that would look fantastic on this bar. About two years ago I received an e mail from the guys at SOMA wanting to know my views on the bar and the different hand positions it offered. As my main touring bike is my 1947 Humber Sports and it's fitted with Lauterwasser bars I gave them as much input as possible as I really wanted to see this bar available for sale again. They are well known for re issuing older patterns of handler bars such as the Major Tayor & Walker racer bar which are both great products. Their blog stated that production of the Lauterwasser would take place around July sometime so it might not be long before we see this bar for sale on their website. Listed below is the link to the Soma blog posting

Cheers Don

Monday, 9 August 2010

Book Review : The Lost Cyclist by David V. Herlihy

Well first I'd like to apologize for my lack of blog posting but as it's still hot and humid I've been riding my 1980 Vespa 50s more than my 3 speed recently and because of the hot summer I thought I'd purchase something interesting to read.

A while back I saw that David V. Herlihy had written a book documenting the cycling adventures of Frank Lenz whose round the world attempt was tragically ended while crossing eastern Turkey in 1894 and the cycling exploits of Sachtleben & Allen who became famous globe girdlers. After the solo cyclist Frank Lenz went missing Sachtleben offered his services to go to Eastern Turkey and search for Lenz and to find out what had really happened to him as the American public were closely following his exploits through the well known American magazine " Outing " who had sponsored Lenz's around the world attempt. David V. Herlihy is a fantastic writer and his previous book titled " Bicycle: The History " was very well received and after reading " The Lost Cyclist " I'm sure that it will become just as popular.

One thing I did find annoying was Sachtleben's comment to a fellow German cyclist named Godrich who they meet whilst in Greece. Godrich was still riding the popular high wheel , ordinary bicycle while Allen & Sachtleben were on more modern safety bicycles which were slowly overtaking the ordinary bicycle in popularity. Godrich was a strong rider & had completed a triple century in a day which was a new world record at the time and was immensely fond of his high wheeler and was proud to be a member of the General Union of Velocipedist's. Sachtleben informed Godrich that he didn't care two cents for any kind of union !. But later on after their widely publicized tour was over they were both treated like royalty back in America and every city of decent size threw a great banquet in their honor celebrating their around the world trip. Also the LAW - League of American Wheelmen which they were no doubt members of at some stage in their cycling career treated them rather well. Previously to their celebrated round the would tour " Thomas Stevens " has circled the globe alone on his ordinary bicycle. So it seems to me rather snobbish that they would so easily put down a fellow cyclist who was a member of a cycle union and by all accounts a far stronger rider than themselves. Apart from that one point the entire book is a fantastic read and if you have already read " Thomas Steven's book then you should read this as a follow up to the fantastic adventures of cyclists in the late 1890s .


Saturday, 26 June 2010

1938 " Cycling " magazine article

First of all I'd like to say sorry for not posting any ride reports recently but due to work comments and the extremely hot humid weather I have not been out since pottering about the city. Also now is rain season which from a cyclists point of view is not so nice as coupled with high humidity it makes cycling any distance rather unpleasant, remember this if you ever plan to come to Japan cycling. Anyway a long time ago I purchased from E bay UK some fantastic copies of the old British magazine " Cycling " these old magazines offer a fantastic insight into cycling during the early years in the UK. The magazines are packed with all sorts articles for events, ride reports from the CTC and various adds for the latest offerings in cycle accessories. Pictured above is a rather interesting article from May 4th 1938 which I have scanned so everyone can enjoy it. If you click the image above you will get the larger version which should be easy to read. From time to time I'll pick out a period article from my magazine collection and add it to the blog. Enjoy

Keeps your hubs greased

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Pottering about the city - part 5

After watching the photographers taking photos of the model we rode off towards a local supermarkets that sells reasonably priced beer, this supermarket is often frequented on Petanque club days for supplies. After leaving the supermarket loaded up with a few cold cans of beer we made our way back to the park. On the way I stopped to take a photo of the only adult porn theater located in the city that I have ever seen. I guess it caters to the older generation who haven't discovered that free porn is available on the Internet !. On arriving back at the park there was no sign of the camera club or their models so we sat in the shade and consumed our beers while chatting. It just proves you don't have to cycle far to have an interesting day out, so next time you feel like a spin go for a potter around your local town or city - you might be surprised at what you discover.

Keeps your hubs greased

Pottering about the city - part 4

On our way towards a local supermarket for more beer we decided to stop by the local park " Nishi Ohata " were our club plays petanque twice a month. To my surprise there were two large groups of men with high tech cameras taking huddled around something , on closer inspection I discovered the camera men were part of a local camera club who had hired at least two models for a outdoor photo shoot in the park. The were asking the model to pose in different positions while the shutters of their cameras went into over drive. It was rather bizarre as in all my years of living in Niigata city I had never seen anything like this at all. The cameramen were of various ages and there must have been millions of dollars of camera equipment stored in their large camera bags. I'm sure they would have rather have photographed her wearing a lot less clothing but as this was a public park this was the best they were going to get.

Pictured above are photos I took of the other photographers and the model who was posing for them.

Pottering about the city - part 3

Further along the sea side bike path we investigated a remodeled beach house that has just been taken over by a long term foreign resident who owns several other eating/dining establishments. As it was a sunny day a few people where enjoying a BBQ and a few beers outside. I'm sure it will be nice on a summers evening watching the sun set on distant Sado Island. Just around the corner from the beach house we again re joined the cycle path the skirted around the side of the park, it was so nice cycling in the shade under the trees that we stopped for a few photos before pressing on.

Pottering about the city - part 2

After viewing the festival Brian decided to switch bicycles to his classic single speed Bridgestone so as he lives close by we back tracked a little to Brian's apartment for him to switch bicycles before proceeding towards the cycle path along side the Shinano river the runs through the center of Niigata city. This cycle/walking path is very popular with everyone living in the city and well used with several toilets and drink fountains located alongside the path. This afternoon there were a lot of people out on the river training from the local rowing club which you can see in the background of one of the above photos. After crossing another river we stopped of at a shopping center to raid the bakery and stock up on cold cans of beer for a riverside lunch. It was rather pleasant sitting by the river chatting over lunch and after we had finished we headed back towards the city along the coastal cycle path stopping in a nearby park before Brian located some single track through the trees which was a short cut back to the main road.

Pottering about the city

Well as today was a fine day my mate Brian dropped by my place around mid morning and we decided to do some inner city pottering. Niigata is a rather large city and you can easily fill in the entire day just cycling around the inner city area. so after my late breakfast we headed towards the coast and took the tunnel under the shinano river which leads along the beaches that border the city center. Along the top of the cycle path we stopped for a short rest to take a drink and nearby the local kids were practicing baseball, Which you can see in the background of one of the above photos. After that we headed to one of the older neighborhoods in Niigata city , Gako Cho where I heard one of my customers was selling homemade pizza at a local festival. Most of these local festivals follow the same format with local shops and residents selling everything from food, beer, recycled clothing , antiques, fishing rods etc and you never know what kind of bargain you are likely to find. As I have almost finished restoring my 1981 Vespa 50s I've been looking at helmets and while walking among the street stalls I spied a jet style helmet with a visor that looked pretty good. After trying the helmet on and find out it fitted me perfectly I asked how much the chap wanted for it and to my surprise he only wanted 2000 yen which is about US $ 20 . The helmet was only purchased last year and in perfect condition so I quickly handed over the cash and luckily my mates wife owns a hair salon in the neighborhood so I gave her the helmet for safe keeping so I can collect it later.

Pictured above is a photo of me along the cycle path above Hiryori beach and the other two photos we taken at the festival in Gako cho.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Along the Rin Rin road part 5

Further along the cycle path we spotted a rest area across the road where we could refill our water bottles and after a short break he headed back towards the spot where I had parked my van. Near the end of the cycle path we stopped to watch a group of local " Gateball " players in action enjoying the fine weather. Gateball is the game of choice for a lot of retired Japanese and almost everywhere you go in Japan you will see Gateball courts. Most of the Gateball action takes place early in the morning but sometimes you see it being played in the middle of the day. As far as I know the game is very similar to Croquet. Even though our ride was only about 30km it was a fantastic day to be out on a bike, lets hope this nice weather sticks around so I can get out for some more rides before rainy season in July.

Pictured above is the rest area, map of the cycle path and the rider side gate ballers in action

Along the Rin Rin road part 4

After a leisurely lunch break we headed back towards the way we came, even though this cycle path is quite new some sections of it are in urgent need of maintenance with cracks in the concrete and sections of the path overtaken by weeds. It seems a shame that after constructing the cycle path it has received little attention in the way of regular maintenance and if they don't clean it up soon some sections will be unable to be used in the near future.

Along the Rin Rin road part 3

As it was nearing lunch time we were keen for a brew up and a bite to eat so Brian spotted a old shrine over the other side of the river. After a little bit of backtracking we arrived at the shrine we had seen and I set about boiling up some water on my vintage Optimus 8R gas cooker. I don't know why but it took several matches to get it going but when I finally got it going the water for our coffee was ready in no time. The joys of cycle touring or in this case pottering along a cycle road are that you can take your time and enjoy the day rather than racing to get to your destination.

Pictured above are a few photos taken at the shrine including one of a stone statue lion wearing a cap & smoking a pipe exactly the same as mine.

Along the Rin Rin road part 2

After stocking up with some food and instant coffee for our lunch break we headed back towards the cycle path and soon we were pedaling along the riverside path enjoying the scenery when we spied a rather large snake lying in the middle of the path, not the sort of thing you want to ride over and as there are no snakes in New Zealand I have always been rather weary of them and over the years I've had several close calls with large snakes whilst hiking or cycling so I prefer to keep my distance from them. The weather today was fantastic and it was so nice to be out of the city for a change.

Pictured above is the snake I saw heading under the fence at the side of the cycle road and a photo of my Humber with the mountains of Gozu in the background.

Along the Rin Rin Road

Today I managed to get out for a short spin along the Rin Rin road, a short cycle path alongside a local river of around 18km. My cycling companion Brian had been out cycling already with a group of riders from a local Triathlon club who were out to complete a century ride so Brian joined them for a 70km return trip instead and met up with me at 9am. After loading Brian's bike into the van we drove out of the city towards Niitsu a small local city where the cycle path called the Rin Rin road starts. After parking the van in a shady spot under a bridge we headed along the path into Niitsu itself. Brian's eldest boy was playing baseball against a local Junior high school so we stop by the baseball ground to check it out. To be honest as a New Zealander I know nothing at all about baseball but Brian explained what was going on and we watched for a short time before heading to a 7/11 store to buy some supplies for lunch.

Pictured above is a photo of me at the baseball ground and a few of the baseball players