Monday, 31 January 2011

Ride old bikes forever!

This is my new bike.

Although when I say new, what I really mean is, new to me... obviously.

Old bikes get a lot of love here at the Bicycle Safari, sometimes for the awesome bike logos and graphics, other times because they're some vintage masterpiece but equally often because they're a rusting pile of steel tubes. Regardless of these reasons though, I think there is something inherently good about riding old bikes. You're certainly not over whelmed with features, as perhaps the best boasting point on my new Hercules is the logo'd lamp bracket on the front.

But what you get has pretty much stood the test of time. Not to say that all old bikes were made well, carefully thought out or looked after since! But they are at least tough enough to still be rolling today which is a good sign.

Practical considerations aside though, the feeling of riding an old bike is definitely different, I think you remain very aware of the history involved in your bike and that you're extending the life span of a manufactured product into a new century. Or maybe old bike are just rad, either way, may this Hercules ride on for many years to come.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Improvise your way through a hipster winter

If you ride a fenderless fixie and are suffering from the road spray this winter, why not take a page out of the book of this rider, who's improvised a rear guard out of a water bottle jammed into their seat stays. At least I presume that's what it's for?

Obviously if you run a rear brake, your success may vary!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Hercules from Nottingham with retro bicycle logos

Hercules is another old British bicycle brand that started off well, allegedly producing bicycles strong enough to deserve to bear the name!

With the dominance of Raleigh in the 20th century though, the brand eventually got bought out and it became one of the many brands being made in Raleigh's enormous Nottingham factory, which at the time was the largest bicycle factory in the world.

With the decline of the British bicycle industry though, came the end of Hercules for a while. But through the brand has now been revived by an Indian manufacturer who seem to have applied it to a highly customizable mountain bike.

So to round off these photos of a nice vintage Hercules with some rad old logos. Here is the opposite.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Vintage Dawes has a sparkle in it's wheel nuts

Something this bicycle has surprised me with, is that it's the first Dawes I've inducted into the Bicycle Safari hunting cabinet. Dawes is a pretty massive brand here in Britain, and from taking a look at the ever lengthening list of bike brands over on the right, you'd presume it'd be up there with the Monarks, Peugeots, Raleighs and Husqvarna bicycles that have been featured here before.

But it's not! So here's the first Dawes, with a nice embossed head badge, stuck to the classic lugged steel frame, in this case finished in perhaps a questionable shade of brown.

But I think the nicest little touch on it is the starred wheel nuts. Quite a nice vintage touch, which you from time to time.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Puch produced picture perfect pedal cycle

Sometimes I get some photos of the rad old bikes I spot around the world that I really do like. In the case of this old Puch bicycle, I got two!

Puch made some really sensible town bikes. Steel framed city travellers that seem to have stood up well to the ravages of life on the street judging by the number living in Puch section of the Bicycle Safari over on the right. With the addition of nice details like the Puch name plate on the rear fender, they're worth a shot for the Safari collection.

When they have neat little reflectors built into the handlebar ends, even more so.

Built of original 2500 high tensile steel? How nice! I love a good original 2500 high tensile fork blade I do.


Monday, 17 January 2011

Awesome Vintage Peugeot Racer Bicycle

Peugeot are usually the least disappointing bicycle for me to spot when I'm out thinking, hmm probably should find something rad for the Bicycle Safari. You see some brightly coloured graphic heavy racer, like this unbelievably pink Peugeot I saw a while back, and all it's logos, lettering and stripes are great. Here's another example to add to the Safari archives. Another headtube to be mounted on the wall.

Peuegots of this era just have so much class about their design.

They're often built of vague and interesting materials, such as Carbolite 103 in this case!

They seem to remain strangely clean, I'm not sure what that means about the owners, but it's not often that I see a dirty one.

They're suitably proud of being a Peugeot...

..stripes and all!

And they generally outclass anything else left in the bike rack. In this case watch how easily this Peuegot outshines my hateful Raleigh mixte beater in the background! Have a click on the Peugeot section on the left to see the whole Bicycle Safari hunting collection of classic Peugeot bikes.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Vintage Triumph Racing Bicycle Badge

Classic, standard, everyday vintage bicycle logo post for you today. This is what I'm finding a million of sitting around the streets of Nottingham. These older vintage racing or city bikes that were made in the city back when it had a manufacturing industry. Relentlessly classy logos abound.

In this case, Triumph have been doing their thing. You can see the decline though. What would have used to have been an enamelled badge, now a sticker on the head tube. Nottingham really lost its way back in the day.

Some of the Triumph bicycle lettering on the down tube.

And this is the whole deal. I feel like I should really explore the old bicycle industry here in Nottingham. How an industry can go from sending bicycles out of the city, to countries around the world (like this Raleigh I saw in Denmark) to just being the administrative headquarters, organizing the plants more recently in Vietnam and Cambodia and that now churn out the bikes with the minimum of labour regulations and industrial safety. A sad story of the prioritization of short term profits over long term corporate sustainability, as demonstrated by the decline and fall of every old Nottingham bicycle company.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

A Raleigh Twenty aged 40

So here's a little Raleigh Twenty 20 inch wheeled shopping bike, which for the sake of argument I will suggest is from 1971, thus making it forty this year. What caught my eye on it, was the neat little rear fender with the integrated dynamo light, sooo much classier than most modern LED bike lights you can get. That was the inspiration behind my efforts to convert an old dynamo light into an led one, which you can read here.
This Twenty though is a little more rough and ready. All the bikes here are currently wearing a fairly unhealthy coat of winter dirt and grime.

Still, it's getting someone around Nottingham though!

And this blurry I-don't-really-want-to-stand-in-the-rain-and-take-pictures photo shows the neat Twenty graphic text on that super low top/cross bar.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Aspice Christophorum et Tutus Viam Carpe Bicycle Bell

Aspice Christophorum et Tutus Viam Carpe bicycle bell. Apparently it means something like 'Look at St. Christopher and travel on safely'. Haha quite a funny idea. I'd like a range of different deities, saints and figures to urge me on my way though.

Friday, 7 January 2011

This is how they got everyone cycling here

Might have to write the photo off as a 'looked-more-interesting-when-I-was-there' kind of job, but what we have here is three rented 'Ucycle' bikes locked up in an accidental row.

The Ucycle scheme is something that runs here in the city of Nottingham, in which students at the local universities are offered to rent a bicycle for the year for £50. When I first heard of the scheme I was a little sceptical about it, thinking that they'd suffer from neglect and abuse very quickly, or just fail to catch on. But the proof really is in the numbers of them you see locked up everywhere! Perhaps not so many now in the middle of winter, but even now you can see them filling the racks as above.

Bike wise, they're pretty smart choices. Sensible solid steel bikes with the mudguards, lights, reflectors and initial assembly completed, factors which are often disregarded on other students' bikes.

Perhaps ironic that Nottingham, once the centre of bicycle manufacture in the UK, now needs schemes like this to get people cycling again. But whatever it takes! The more ways and routes people can take to getting back on a bicycle the better!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

The Bicycle Safari is back and brings you a snow bike

Ok, so I took a massive break over the 'holidays' without a post here at The Bicycle Safari, but now I'm back, hopefully with the usual blend of vintage, interesting and destroyed bicycles I find sitting around.

So in my usual Scandinavia hopping way, I was back in Stockholm, Sweden for the last week and thought I'd hunt down a few of the rad steel framed vintage beaters that I documented so extensively back in the early days of this Safari. But what I actually found was this...

... and when bicycles look like that, there's not much more to say really. Perhaps only that this is perhaps one of the most effective ways to lock up your bike, because I don't think anyone is going to bother to dig your bike out for you. Rust and crushed-by-snow-plough risks be damned!

Some where in this drift is a steel framed Mustang, gently crying.