Thursday, May 25, 2023
Thursday, May 18, 2023
In the last year I've taken on the role of bicycle and industrial engine archivist for the Royal Enfield Owners Club. I'm slowly getting on top of the role and am beginning to catalogue and scan the material. Copies of material in the archive are available for club members as one of the benefits of membership. I've also however created a website for anyone with an interest in the bicycle products of Royal Enfield as an information resource. There's a whole load of RE bicycle brochures there that are in my personal collection available to view on the site as well as help with identifying and dating your Enfield cycle.
Monday, May 15, 2023
Variety is the spice of life as they say so here's something a bit different from the norm on this blog.
Recently the vessel I've been working on has been based out of Japan: I don't get much time on shore but usually on arrival I get an overnight stay before being bussed off to my boat early morning the next day. It gives a few hours to have a wander around. This Harley Shovelhead chop seems to be in regular use and was spotted outside a noodle shop in Ota City, Tokyo. Tokyo driving is fairly relaxed and civilised by the standards of other capital cities across the world but never-the-less hats off for piloting this beast through the traffic.
In the UK the whole chopper scene is very separate from the vintage / classic bike movement, something I've always found strage given how cafe racers are welcomed and what are they really but custom bikes? In the end we're all just folks enjoying vintage machinery.
Friday, May 12, 2023
Seeing old bikes at shows and runs is nice but I always like to see them being used for what they were made for. Here's a LE Velocette spotted recently outside Poole Hospital. I think it is a MkII 200cc hand change and start version.
|LE Velocette in active service.
Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Just a few snaps from last month's Blandford Run. I couldn't ride this year but still ambled down to the start for a chat and a cuppa. A nice turnout of bikes on the first day without rain that we had had for seemingly ages. I feel the need to apologise for the quality of the pictures, I've gotten out of the habit of carrying my camera and have become increasingly reliant on my smartphone and, honestly, the picture quality is not near as good. I will try harder next time!
|Line up of bikes at the start of the Blandford Run.
|I hadn't seen this Sunbeam before
and it stirred up feelings of great
|Another view of the Sunbeam.
I think it's a Model 90, but I would
have expected a 90 to have a twin
|The Sunbeam's Brooklands Can
somehow reminds me of the
'that's not a knife' scene in the
film Crocodile Dundee.
|Vintage sticker bombed MZ TS250.
|Norton Model 18.
|HRD Series A Meteor.
Saturday, May 6, 2023
One of my favourite things in life come spring time is to get on an old bike and trundle slowly around the local lanes looking for flowers in bloom. Of course it's the bluebells that are the headline grabbers but there's plenty of other floral treats out there. This year due to my work schedule and the vagaries of the seasons I was out before peak bluebell season but, not to worry, the show put on by the cowslips and hawthorn more than made up for it.
Due to various life events my stable of machines that actually work has been been whittled down to just two but, not to worry, I truly enjoy using both of them and chose the '27 Triumph Model N for the ride. I like the Triumph more the more I use it. I've had it for around 12 years but, though it was still nice to ride, until recently it suffered from the engine tightening up if pushed harder. Recently I've given the motor a top end service by honing it, dressing any rough edges on the barrel and piston and lapping in the valves. Now the riding experience is better than ever and it's hard to imagine an easier to live with or more satisfying flat tank ride.
|The Triumph poses with cowslips in the background.
|Close up on cowslips in the meadow.
|Slightly early for bluebells but here they are in
|And now for wild garlic flowers with some bluebells
|Wild garlic again.
|This year the hawthorn hedgerows were the scene
|The Model N shows off in front of hawthorn bloom.
Friday, May 5, 2023
Another bicycle project done and dusted... Really must work on those motorised contraptions too but there was good reason to prioritise this one, it's a nice small frame and will be my daughter's ride in the Benson Veteran Cycle Rally this July. She tagged along last year on her modern bike, enjoyed it and stated a desire to take part on an appropriate cycle the next year, so what's a father to do...?
The cycle is a circa 1935 Royal Enfield Bullet which is notable for the twin top tube design and the fact that the tubes are 'up-sloping'. Really it's a style of frame that was most seen in the 1890s. However in the thirties there was a vogue for quirky frame designs and innovation. The Moorson twin tube had come out in 1926 and was well thought of so perhaps Royal Enfield looked at that for inspiration and designed the Bullet frame to be unusual and instantly recognisable.
|Royal Enfield bicycles for many years used the
cannon 'Made Like a Gun' logo on their chainwheels.
The twin tube Bullet is a rare beast and though marketed as a top of the range sportster with fixed gearing it is actually not much of a lightweight and the frame angles are quite relaxed. Royal Enfield offered numerous options across their range and the couple of other twin tube Bullets I have seen have both been fitted with Sturmey Archer gearing.
The cycle has been built up from a bare frame that I've had kicking around for a few years. There were clips on the frame for a Sturmey hub so that is what I've fitted with the bonus that they are very nice in use too. Though the frame is very shabby there are the remnants of the original Bullet transfers on the down tube so I've elected to leave it as it is warts and all. At the risk of sounding pretensious I've gone with the Japanese ethos of 'wabi-sabi' - essentially the philosophy of embracing imperfection. There is a rather horrible repair on the rear lower mudguard bridge that is however structurally sound so I've left it completely as it was as part of the cycle's history.
In keeping with the quirky nature of the frame I've tried to put as many period correct oddball parts on the bike as possible and the end result I believe is quite aesthetically pleasing. Aforementioned daughter has taken it for a test ride and reported back that though slightly challenging compared to her 21 speed modern cycle the ride is good and reasonably lively. So now, just need to fill in and send off that form for the Benson Rally...
|I was particularly pleased with this eBay
find: the front wheel wingnuts. The wing
shape is really lovely. I have no idea who
|Devil is in the detail. Period correct metal valve cap.
|The Burlite brake is also just post-war
but does really look the part and fits the
bill of being quirky.
|Brake levers are Resilion alloy ones and the front
has a security lock (pull it on and turn the key and
the brake locks on).
|I hung this little medallion on the handlebars. It is
an advertising giveaway from Royal Enfield and
John Bull tyres commemorating a ride from England
to Lapland and back in 1951.
|The flip side of the medallion is the patron saint of
travellers, St Christopher.
|This magnificent light is the cherry on top of the
bicycle quirk fest! It is an Ennwell light which I
believe was German made.
|The offside rear quarter.
|Harmo 'Fearnaught' push button bell. As well as
being slightly odd these Harmo bells work
extraordinarily well. The handlebars are Reynolds,
I'm not 100% sure of the model name but I would
describe them as 'flat lauterwassers'.
|Though it looks like the twin tubes are in one piece
I believe that the top tubes and seat stays are separate.
They appear to be straight tubes and the bend join is
cast in with the seatpost lug.