Old Bloke On An Old Bike

The story of the restoration of a 1950s classic bicycle for a Land's End – John O'Groats charity ride in aid of Alzheimer's Society

28 Dec 2014: Gears – back to the drawing board…

This is what the geartrain now looks like. It’s a 4-speed 14-28 tooth freewheel with a narrow 3/32″ chain. I’ve had to admit that my attempts to get the Simplex … Continue reading

December 28, 2014

29 Nov 2014: Steering and brakes

I now have a pair of GB “Coureur” brakes in place. They are side-pull lightweight brake calipers, designed primarily for racing bikes. Not as effective as the French centre-pull brakes … Continue reading

November 29, 2014

25 Nov 2014: Progress!

Quite a bit of progress to report.. The bike now has a beautiful hard leather “Swallow” saddle made by Lycett in the 1950s. Lycett was one of the early competitors … Continue reading

November 29, 2014

2 Nov 2014: The other bike….

Our plan is for Eric to make the ride on an old hand-built bike too. My earliest surviving bike is a tourer bought from Mosquito Bikes in Upper Street Islington … Continue reading

November 9, 2014

26 Oct 2014: the crankset

The bike will have Stronglight Competition cranks. Stronglight was another French company that supplied the British market in the 1950s. Today, these cranks seem very old-fashioned. They’re (heavy) steel and … Continue reading

October 26, 2014

25 Oct 2014: more on gears…

Back from a long trip to Australia, and keen to make progress.  While away I managed to find gear components made by the French Simplex company. Simplex gears were popular … Continue reading

October 26, 2014

21st Sep 2014: a start on the wheels …

A pair of Airlite large-flange hubs has arrived. They were produced by the British Hub Company, which was in business in Birmingham from 1904 into the 1960s. The Airlite was … Continue reading

September 21, 2014 · 1 Comment

19 Sep 2014: gears…

The most difficult part of the restoration… The bike will have derailleur gears, but they’ll be far cruder than the smooth 11-speed gearing found on modern road bikes. In the … Continue reading

September 19, 2014

8th Sep 2014: something to steer with…

I’ve managed to remove the old headset that came with the Ellis Briggs frame (essentially the chromed rings at the top and base of the head tube, which contain the … Continue reading

September 14, 2014 · 1 Comment

4th Sep 2014: no wheels yet, but…

…  some very nice wing nuts to keep them on the bike!

September 14, 2014 · Leave a comment