Sunday, August 21, 2016

1979 Ciocc San Cristobal

Cast your eyes over this magnificent example of a Ciocc San Cristobal built in 1979. The paintwork features gold plating to the head tube, front fork, seat stays and chain stays. The remainder of the lugged steel frame is painted metallic white.

The bike was displayed in a bike shop for almost 35 years and has only been lightly ridden. It's in an amazing condition apart from a small paint chip on the down tube near the right gear shifter. The Ciocc decals are in superb condition.

The bike is built with a Campagnolo Super Record groupset and has drilled gear shifters, a Cinelli 1R  'Ostini' pantographed stem, and a Campagnolo Record seat post.

The Ciocc brand was founded by Giovanni Pelizzoli in the late 1960's. At one stage Giovanni built De Rosa frames. Today he occasionally restores Ciocc bicycles and has signed this fine example of a Ciocc San Cristobal on the top tube as seen below.

Although the Ciocc brand was on sold in 1980, Giovanni Pelizzoli (pictured above) still produces modern steel frames today under the Pelizzoli brand. See his new frames at

Photos courtesy of Ciclicorsa.

Safe Riding,

James @ PVC

Monday, August 1, 2016

Pashley Speed 3 Special Edition

The Pashley Bicycle company in the UK was founded in 1926 and to celebrate the companies 90th year it has released two special edition bicycles. One is a steel road bicycle (that is well worth looking at), and the other is a special edition version of the Pashley 3 speed Guv'nor they've called the Speed 3 SE (Special Edition).

The Speed 3 SE, as the name suggests, is geared by the ever reliable Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub. I have a 3 speed on my Guv'nor and it works beautifully - without fault every time. 

It's a pity the same cannot be said about the Guv'nor Speed 5, a British Racing Green version of the Guv'nor that supports a not so reliable Sturmey Archer 5 speed hub.... so to celebrate the occasion Pashley have chosen wisely by using a 3 speed Sturmey Archer hub for this edition. 

I really like the way Pashley reintroduce old styling features on their special models. The Speed 3 SE has a frame mounted number plate (akin to the Speed 5) and proudly displays a stainless steel 1920's head badge that is unique to the 90th celebration models.

The SE head badge.

As you can see this edition also includes a special lug set that is unique to the model. The styling is reminiscent of the 1920's and the lugs are a typical example of decorative lugs used during this period of bicycle manufacturing.

The fork crown is quite different for this model. Again it's a feature that was more common on bicycles from the 1920's. It certainly adds to the unique styling of the bike.

Like the Speed 5 the Speed 3 rolls on black Schwalbe rubber as opposed to the white Schwalbe rubber on the traditional Guv'nor models. The finishing kit is from Brooks of course, so quality is never an issue.

The Speed 3 was first unveiled at the Eroica Britannia cycling event held at the Peak District National Park (UK) in June 2016. As you would expect the unveiling created a lot of interest for the Pashley brand.

You can buy the Speed 3 special edition in black, black, or black, so once you have made your colour choice the only thing left to do is to go to your local Pashley dealer and place an order. 

Safe riding,

James @ PVC.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

1950's French Randonneur Bicycles

French randonneur (or touring) bicycles of the 1940's and 50's have some particularly interesting history. These custom made aluminium bicycles were a testament to boutique bicycle manufacturers across the French countryside.

Compared to other bicycles built around the world at the time, most custom made randonneur bicycles were well ahead of the rest in terms of design and style. Custom built randonneur bicycles were quite expensive and due to their cost were often playthings for the rich and famous. Many examples still exist and are often sold at auction for reasonably high prices.

Here are some examples that sold recently at auction with

Here is an AVIAC bicycle that was made in Courbevoie, near Paris in the 1950's. This was quite an advanced bicycle for it's time as it was made from lightweight aluminium and had cable routing that ran through the frame. This particular cycle has Simplex gearing. The hammered aluminium fenders are beautiful.

French AVIAC bicycle 1950's

Here is another from the same era made by MERCIER, this being the Mecadural Pelissier model. This was also very lightweight for its time. During this period aluminium could not be welded and so the lugs held the aluminium tubing together with expander bolts. Another breath taking example of the fine art of French bicycle manufacturing from the 1950's.

French MERCIER bicycle 1950's

Most randonneur bicycles had built in lighting systems to enable the traveller to ride at night. The 650B tyres were quite forgiving which enabled the randonneur rider to travel on rough roads throughout the French countryside.

Thanks very much to Bernhard Angerer for the great photos.

Safe riding...

James @ PVC.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Wilier Triestina Ramato

Another well known and highly respected Italian cycling manufacturer is Wilier. 

Wiler was founded in 1906 by Pietro Dal Molin. After World War II Wiler formed a professional cycling team led by Giordano Cottur of Trieste, Italy. In 1945 the name of the brand was changed to Wilier Triestina, and the distinctive copper coloured finish became a trademark of the brand.

At this time, of course, all frames were made from steel and the copper coloured finish was quite unique.

Here is a fine example of a Wilier Trieste steel framed bicycle from the early 1980's using Columbus tubing.

Due to the resurgence of retro steel frames Wilier have reintroduced the copper coloured 'Ramato' finish on modern steel, and the modern version is absolutely amazing.

There is certainly something special about fitting a modern Campy groupset to a modern steel framed bike....and a little bit of chrome rounds off the deal nicely!

Wilier are calling the most recent edition of this model the "Superleggera". Producing a copper finish on the frame is quite an expensive exercise, so the pricing of this model is not accessible to all cyclists. 

Thankfully Wilier have produced the same frame in alternative finishes that allows the bike to be more affordable to us all. The frame also comes in black, red, and white.....same frame, with the same impressive detailing.

See the Wilier website for further info.

...a beautifully crafted steel bicycle for the modern retro rider!

Safe riding.

James @ PVC.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Omata analogue GPS speedometer

Did you have one of these speedos on your bike when you were young?

Well, you're all grown up now and you deserve to have one of OMATA analogue GPS cycling speedo. 

The OMATA analogue cycling speedo is a modern twist on the old analogue bike speedo. 

It has the ultra modern convenience of capturing all the digital data you will need and at the same time compliment your ride with its stylish good looks. The speedo will look great on a modern bike and will also compliment any retro road bike. 

The team who created the speedo are avid cyclists who have focused their efforts on creating a quality retro product that provides all the digital information that the modern cyclist would expect. From what I have read there has been no compromise in its development.

The design of the product has been finalised and they've commenced raising funds through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. The speedos will come in your choice of two colours pictured above, and both colours have the option of either imperial (miles) or metric (kilometres) measurements.

As with conventional digital speedos, your data can be downloaded after your ride, but really....have you ever seen a digital speedo that looks as good as this!

The fundraising campaign started today and will last until May 5, 2016. You can assist the project in 3 ways:

  • A pledge of US$40 will buy you a 'Friends of OMATA pack'. For this amount you will receive not only the heart felt thanks of the fundraising team, but an OMATA cycling cap, some OMATA stickers, and regular backer updates, or
  • For a pledge of US$499 you will receive one of 200 numbered Limited Edition OMATA speedos, or
  • For a $3000 pledge 20 lucky investors will receive a Limited Edition OMATA speedo that includes a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ride the roads of the Santa Monica Mountains (California) with the brand ambassador and cycling legend Fabian Cancellara, along with the founders of OMATA.
..and as with all Kickstarter campaigns your pledges are only actioned if the target fundraising amount is realised.

OMATA brand ambassador Fabian Cancellara

At this stage I've only committed to a $40 pledge but I'm certainly considering the next step!

I have found that modern cycling computers are not only ugly, most are very complicated to use. The OMATA speedo is a stylish easy to use speedo that has all of the modern desirable features. To quote one of the creators of the OMATA speedo, "The more you leave out makes it a better product!"

Well worth a look....and if you would like to, please help them along.

Safe rides.

James @ PVC

Saturday, March 19, 2016

WA Historical Cycle Club display - March 2016

This year during the month of March the Museum of Perth in collaboration with the WA Historical Cycle Club are proudly presenting a display of Western Australian cycling treasures to the public. 

The display is being held in the city in Grand Lane that runs just off the Murray Street mall near Barrack Street. It's a great little laneway full of artistic treasures and street art.

As you enter the laneway and walk toward the display entrance there are images on the laneway walls by Tony Lendrum of Perth bike riders and their bikes. Each image is accompanied with a short story of the bicycle and its rider. The stories demonstrate that diversity in cycling is very broad and interest in cycling has gained popularity with a staggering pace. Here are a couple of the images....

The entrance to the display area is colourful and on entry you are greeted by friendly staff running a small stylish cafe.

Once inside the doorway the entry to the display is by a gold coin donation. The display area is very cosy and it has a small theatrette at the rear that rolls out a short film that focuses on the cycling culture in the worlds friendliest cycling city of Groningen in The Netherlands.

The main focus of the display however is on Western Australia's cycling history. There are a few vintage bicycles with info that connects them to the history of our state, and one of Steele Bishops time trial bikes from the early 1980's. Steele Bishop won the World Title for the 5000 metre Individual Pursuit in1983. The Kalamunda boy was inducted into the WA Hall of Champions in 1985.

Also on display is an 1874 penny farthing, a 1950 Hartley by Speedwell, and a 1905 "Guvnor" styled Armstrong path racer from Kalgoorlie.  

For me the most impressive bike is a 1957 Swansea (6 swan) track bike. This bike is an outstanding example of a Swansea track bike from the late 1950's. Swansea was a local Fremantle based bicycle company..... Fremantle of course is where the Swan (River) meets the sea, hence the company name. 

Here are a few images of the bikes on display.

1950 Hartley by Speedwell

1905 Armstrong

1957 Swansea - 6 swan
There are locally produced books for sale and other items of interest that I haven't covered. The display is open until Wednesday 6 April, 2016. 

Opening hours:   Monday - Friday: 9am - 3pm,   Saturday: 9am - 2pm.

Please come along, make a donation and enjoy the display.

Safe riding.

James @ PVC.