Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bicycles during war time

As we approach ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) day in Australia, it is fitting to submit a short post in respect of those Australians and New Zealanders who fought and perished for the good of our nations. 


Since World War I the red poppy has become a symbol of war remembrance the world over. People in many countries wear the poppy to remember those who died in war or who still serve. In many countries, the poppy is worn around Armistice Day (11 November), but in Australia and New Zealand it is most commonly seen around Anzac Day, 25 April.

The story goes that, following one of the bloodiest battles of World War I, in the fields of Flanders in western Europe, when the ground was completely churned up and muddied, thousands of red poppies sprang up. The seeds had lain dormant in the soil and, after being aerated with the churning of the soil from the soldiers' boots and fertilised with their blood, the poppies grew abundantly, springing forth new life from death.

Poppies symbolise remembrance, and Australians and New Zealanders want to show this at other times as well as on Anzac Day. At major commemorative events, at military funerals and at war graves and cemeteries in Australia and New Zealand and around the world, the red poppy can be seen.


The soldier who never returned home.

Just as our own Australian soldiers perished during conflict, so did many others from many countries. The story goes that in 1914 at Vashon Island, Washington, a soldier left his bicycle chained to a tree and went to war. He never came home from war and so the family left his bicycle chained to the tree as a loving memorial......time and growth did the rest!

Although this story has many sceptics, it's a good bike story that pulls on the heartstrings. Google 'tree that ate a bicycle' and draw your own conclusions - I'm happy to run with it.

....and don't think for one micro-second that bicycles didn't play an important role during war periods. Bicycles have been used during war time since the 1890's. I've managed to get together a few images of wartime bicycles from around the globe.

Dutch military WWI
Italian military WWI

English military WWII

German military WWII
German military WWII

Swiss Army bicycle WWII
And on a lighter note.....whilst in the fields of war many young soldiers dreamt of returning home to their loved ones, perhaps returning home to something as beautiful as this.....

Safe riding.....

James @ perthvintagecycles.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

IRD Defiant crank set and fluted Shimano seat post Part 2

After aquiring the cranks and seat post I fitted them pretty quickly because I wanted to ride the bike on the Perth Freeway bike ride last month. 

The parts fitted quite easily, the only challenge was removing the old 113mm bottom bracket that was originally fitted as OEM on the bike. The bottom bracket threading and grease had been contaminated with quite alot of metal shavings. The shavings had wedged between the inside of the bracket housing and the bottom bracket itself which caused a few problems removing the old one. Obviously Pashley had not cleaned out the steel from within the bottom bracket housing prior to fitting the aluminium bottom bracket cups.

I needed to replace the old 113mm bracket because it was too wide to accommodate the IRD cranks. I measured the frame and bought a new 110mm bottom bracket. Once fitted I measured the chainline and all was correct...it's amazing what a couple of millimetres can do to the chainline.   

Here are the before and afters for the new parts:

Before: Sugino XD-2 crankset.
After: IRD Defiant crankset.
The original Sugino XD-2 cranks aren't too bad, they do have the chain guard attached to the spider but this makes for a very clunky and unattractive set up. The chainwheel itself is 42 tooth for a 3/32 chain and so the fit on both counts isn't quite right either.

The new IRD Defiant cranks are fantastic - neat and stylish looks that are reminiscent of the early Campagnolo and Gipiemme track cranks of the 1960's. The IRD Defiant cranks come standard with a 46 tooth 1/8 chainwheel which is a far better combination for my liking. The fluting of the crank arms is also a nice feature. The X-factor is also narrower so the ride feels better.

Standard UNO branded 27.0mm seat post.
Shimano fluted 27.0mm seat post.
The new Shimano seat post looks great, although it has less impact on the overall looks and performance of the bike compared to the new cranks. I love the seat post because of the fluted styling, again a feature of early posts of the 1960's. The fluting perfectly matches the fluting on the new IRD cranks.

New cranks and seat post....very nice, and so the decision was made to add a new chain into the mix. Here are some images below...

IRD Defiant cranks with a new 1/2 x 1/8 inch chain.

Happy pedalling!!
James @ perthvintagecycles.