Sunday, 31 January 2010

A day trip

Seeing as it's still rather cold for cycling my mate Brian & I went for a drive to follow a lead on an old Japanese rod brake roadster that was in a antique shop. The shop was located in the small fishing village of Terodomari which is up the coast from Niigata city. Upon arriving at the antique shop we spotted a lady's rod brake roadster but unfortunately the other bike had been sold two years previous. So after checking out some other local antique shops we headed back towards Niigata and stopped off in the mountain village of Yahiko which is famous for it's shrine and Kerin cycling track. Although there were no races in progress there were plenty of people inside the betting hall which is decked out with large TVs so people can follow the other races that are being held throughout Japan. Just as we arrived inside a race was about to start in Kyoto so we stayed to watch it. As usual it was a close fought battle between the two lead riders with a couple of the runners up bumping shoulders at high speed almost causing a crash. After viewing the race we made our way back into the city passing a few Lycra clad roadies out training and ended the day with a tobacco pipe and a coffee at a local cafe.

Pictured above is a view taken of the Japan sea and a photo of the Yahiko cycle track. The other photo showing Yahiko cycle track was taken from the net.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Saddle bag contents

Now that the weather is unfit for cycling, I decided to sort out my saddle bag ( Carradice Nelson longflap ) and give it a clean out. Also today I purchased some army style mess tins also known as dixies for boiling water & cooking this season while out cycling and a metal fold able wind shield for when using the cooker. So after emptying the contents of the bag I decided to take a photo of the items that I carry while out on day trips etc.

The above photo shows the following items

Custom made Humber musette - for holding wallet, keys, spare change & a camera
Cleaning rags
Leather tool bag
CRC spray can
Metal spanners 1 x Brooks spanner, 1 x unknown brand
Adjustable wrench
Britannia metal puncture kit - old tin with new contents
Metal tyre levers x 3
Brooks saddle cover - for rainy days
Modern bicycle pump - more effective than my old frame pump
1940s telescopic camera tripod
Stainless steel hip flask - For single malt energy drinks
Leather pipe bag - containing a packet of tobacco
English billiard tobacco pipe
Pipe tamper
Pipe wind cap - for smoking whilst cycling
Coffee pot
Stainless steel cup - strapped to the outside of the bag
2 x Army style mess tins
Fold able wind shield
Vintage Optimus 8R cooker - recently re painted & restored
Canvas bag - for containing the mess tins & cooker
Small priming bottle for the Optimus

So as you can see you can fit a lot into a Carradice Nelson saddlebag and even with all the items listed above the bag is not even half full. Of course I hear you muttering " by cripes that must be heavy " well seeing as I ride a high tensile steel 1947 Humber that is rather heavy in itself I am not concerned about weight. Also it's nice to have the space in which to carry the above items as you never know when you'll need them etc. As you can see from the above list, the tools I carry apart from the adjustable wrench are period correct tools that cyclists would have carried in the 1940s, the spanners fit a variety of nuts & bolts on the Humber and are very strongly made so as not to break. If you are planning on purchasing a saddle bag for your bicycle I can strongly recommend any of the Carradice bags for unsurpassed quality.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Cotswold sketches

The above page of Cotswold sketches was scanned from a Dec 1941 issue of " Cycling " magazine. Most of you who are familiar with cycling artists will recognize Frank Patterson's work as he was a regular contributor to " Cycling " magazine for a long period. His artwork was used for various adds that were featured in the magazine as well as the page headers etc. In my opinion his captures the golden age of cycling very well.

1938 Camping goods

The above add was scanned from a 1938 issue of the popular UK magazine " Cycling" which shows a selection of camping goods and clothing etc that were popular items at the time for cycling. Some of these items are difficult to find today but they can be found on internet auctions from time to time.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Winter projects

Well as you may know it's the middle of winter here in Japan and here in Niigata there is quite a lot of snow which makes cycle touring rather difficult. So it's a good time for winter projects to take place. My main cycle related projects are the construction on a custom made 52 inch replica ordinary bicycle for a customer in Tokyo which I'm looking forward to as it will be the 10th replica ordinary I have built since first building my own bike back in 1994. I have learnt a lot over the years about the construction of ordinary bicycles and I'm looking forward to trying some new construction methods with this bicycle which will make it look more authentic.

The other project is getting a late 1950s 27" Royal Enfeild club model restored and on the road for my cycling companion Brian who often joins me touring the local countryside. For some time now Brian has wanted a classic British bicycle for touring on and luckily the Enfeild was available from a fellow collector back in NZ. I used to own the bicycle several years ago but swapped it for a Raleigh RM1 moped and after swapping two Japanese bicycles and another old track racing frame I was able to get the Royal Enfeild back again. The frame has currently been re painted in New Zealand and will soon be shipped to Japan to be re assembled and finished off. Hopefully it will be on the road later this year and once I receive it from New Zealand I post some photos and up dates of it's restoration.

Apart from the two cycle projects above I was given a 1964 Vespa 50s from a kind neighbour up the street and I have slowing started rebuilding it so I can use it once the winter is over. I have decided to rebuild it rather than restore it as if I decided to keep it I may spend more money on it and have it repainted but in the meantime I am re painting the rims, giving the alloy parts a clean up and fitting new tires & tubes to make it road worthy again. I have always wanted a Vespa so I was rather happy to receive one for free , the model that I have is quite an early one from the second year of production.

Pictured above is one of my last replica ordinary bicycles that I built back in New Zealand, The Royal Enfeild and my Vespa