Saturday, January 28, 2012

Jo gets his new mudguards

gilles berthoud mudguards
even a tighter squeeze than fitting the honjos onto victor
but some care and patience (and time) and they were done.
being stainless steel, they seem a little more rigid
than the honjos
and less prone to movement.
some details below of clearance and fixing methods

Monday, January 16, 2012

Reverse Nitto Dove bars with cloth bar tape and Dura Ace road levers

and shellacked
and corked
also took 30mm off each end of the bars.

Viscount Aerospace Sport - first ride on finished bike?

coffee ride this morning
new bar tape very comfy
beautiful morning

postcard shot of gertrude st
nice fixie with Sugino Mighty track crankset
same as VA Victor

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Jo Routens randonneur, Viscount style

the 48T big ring on my Stronglight 49d crankset
a little low-geared
then I had a brainwave!
put a Viscount 52T "disc" on!
both have 50.4 bcd
which is kind of weird for such an English company
to use such a French standard.

now it looks more like a stayer bike than a comfortable tourer!

but very cool nonetheless and a good gearing for getting around quickly.
you can see I attached a TA 36T small ring in place of the original
Viscount 42T.
only pity is I can't use my lovely Jubilee sohrt cage derailleur with this set-up
as there are just too many teeth to cover.

Together at last! Victor and Sport

first time together
both with new rubber
you can see the difference in colour
but it doesnt really matter.
you know, I'm never going to do the full resto again.
once is enough for the experience.

serious bedroom wallposter-sized image

Nearing completion - Sport gets its Honjos

lovely smooth Honjo mudguards.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Re-enactment bike ahoy! Shellacked bars, twine and champagne corks.

my capitulation to the hegemony
of the drop bars
proceeds apace.
as does my commitment to the cause of
although I had to watch Mr Peterson's video to remind me,
twining the bars took me back to my Dad showing me how to bind a
fishing rod.
very satisfying.

the shellac covers up the words
"Australia" and
I thought the shellac would make the bar tape
hard and scratchy
but the feel is surprisingly warm and smooth
with enough tooth to feel secure.

this kooky short stem
was a hard rubbish find
and puts the bars exactly where I need them
to be able to ride comfortably on the hoods
even though they look a bit naff.

eBay sellers and their packaging: an occasional series

Supa Sport and her new decals!

the Supa Sport is nearing completion.
today I spent nerve-racking
minutes lining up the the genuine
Eagle Transfers
lucky I got the alignment
right the first time
man those suckers really adhere.

the top tube decal is a little twisted
but Dr Steve tells me that is exactly how the factory
would have slapped them on

ummed and ahhed for a long time
as to whether to cut out the shields
or stick them on in their original chrome squares
the latter is how they would have appeared
on the original Supabike.
but that bike was all chrome and the square shape of the decal wouldn't have stood out
as much as the black outline of the shield.
so I opted to cut out the shield shape.
the lack of red and blue in the shield is a reminder of the Supabike
but the shape of the shield is the same as all other Viscounts of that era.

i think I made the right decision.

still waiting on chain stay decals from Dr Steve
and some seat tube bands.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pros vs amateurs: the argument for second hand bikes

ok so the battle lines are drawn
on the one side those who ride lycra and wear plastic
on the other
those who ride wool and wear steel
pros (lycra monkeys to amateurs)
amateurs (re-enactment cyclists to lycra monkeys)

I put my hand up as a re-encator.
re-enactment bikes are characterised by
handlebar bags (canvas of course) attached to decaleurs,
aluminium mudguards, preferably hammered
leather saddles, etc, etc, etc
(just look at my "Like" list)
critics suggest that we amateurs are all just aping the preferences
espousing the gospel if you will
of Grant Peterson (Bridgestone/Rivendell) as interpreted by his prophet
Jan Heine (Compass Bikes/Bike Quarterly).
the accusation is that we shun modern technology 
and actively choose the old-fashioned
from some luddite/romantic motivation
that is just thinly disguised middle-class privilege
and elitism.

my response would be this.
only an idiot would think that the kind of bike they ride does anything
to set them apart from the masses.
we are all part of the great Peloton of humankind, pro or amateur.
in my situation the urge to "re-enact" comes from the urge to recycle.
it's closely aligned with what me and mine call "opp-shopping".
a good friend calls her process "garage-sailing".
it is, in effect, similar to the age old practice of gleaning.

unlike gleaning however
items may cost some money.
how little is the skill of the opp-shopper.
every purchase must be accompanied by a proud declaration of the purchase price.
"Is that an original Pucci skirt?"
"Yep. Four bucks from Wonthaggi Salvos"*.
but the sense of scavenging from around the margins
of the capitalist marketplace has great similarities
to the scavenging around the margins of the harvested field.

*my all time favourite opp-shop joke
was on 3RRR's now defunct
(nostalgia again!)
Punter to Punter
Slim asks Con what is that suit he's wearing,
"It's Yves St Laurent. I bought it from their Australian distributor
the Brotherhood of St Laurent."

the main quality of this process is that the item
whatever it is
must be pre-owned.
customisation is possible
but only within the limitations of searching from amongst the already-made
and the already bought-and-sold.
this process can be magic.
my wife is a master of the pre-visualisation purchase:
ask her for almost anything
and within a month she will have found it
in an opp-shop (aka thrift shop, flea market, Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul, etc).
how is that possible?
she is seemingly drawn
sometimes to shops and locations to which
she has never been
walks through the door and there it is.
an example of Shelldrake's morphogenic field theory at work?

even better than just second-hand products
are second-hand products from defunct brands.
I love promoting Viscount bikes and wearing their tshirts
which I had to make myself by the way
because they don't exist.
I'm not actually supporting the company
just hoovering up their left overs wherever I find them.
Nostalgia too, I'm not embarrassed to admit it.
I cause some carbon miles in getting stuff shipped from overseas these days.
But nearly everything I buy 
even if it is NOS
new old stock
was manufactured for someone other than me.
I was not the target market.
this gives me great satisfaction for some reason.

still the best is finding something remarkable
by the side of the road.
or is it destiny
seems to aid the development of my vision of a bike
much better than personal taste
or desire.
I choose it because it chose me.

it is not luddite-ism or anti-technology
it is against marketing dressed up as innovation
and "progress".
the best solution
is always the simplest
and most beautiful
that uses the most renewable materials possible
even if it is a solution that was found several generations ago.

having to re-invent the wheel is a kind of ego
a kind of historical blindness
and a cynical marketing ploy 
to maximise profits through
flooding the marketplace with the suggestion
that this year's is 
by definition
better than last year's
even though both have been engineered to fail
to leave a space for next year's.

to that kind of thinking I say
just fuck off.
I'll ride my old steel bike
that wasn't made for me
but which I have adapted to be mine
and I'll be happy.
although I'll draw the line at tweed.

my bike is an aesthetic object
whose beauty in my eyes lies in the myriad small ways it solves problems
it is not a tool for winning races
either in the real world or in my imagination.

**one more Punter to Punter suit joke
"Del Monti suits: the people who believe suits should not only taste good
they should be good for you."
If you're over 35 and born and raised in Melbourne
you'll get it. :)


these are the current family bikes in use
no two bar set-ups the same

First Jo Routens ride - in 40 degrees

I'm burning up
burning up for your love

that's celsius not fahrenheit.
the bike rode beautifully
in spite of slightly iffy brake set up.
this is with the 80mm reach SR stem.
oh, ahem, yes
they are drop bars.
not so bad after all
must take them off my dislikes list.
insert humble pie emoticon here
although I have the levers angled inwards to give a comfy
hand position when on the hoods

and back home in the cool, cool, cool of the evening