Monday, October 19, 2015

Fremantle Tweed Run 2015 - The Promo

It's that time of the year when tweed clothing becomes fashionable to wear. Dismantle are again sponsoring the Fremantle Tweed Run and this years event will be bigger and better than ever. Treadlie Magazine are kindly supporting the annual event which is expected to attract hundreds of well dressed fashion conscious vintage cyclists.

The event is in its 5th year and on this fine occasion it will start from the South Beach carpark in South Fremantle at 12pm on Sunday 8 November 2015.  There is no entry fee but participants are asked to cycle with care whilst they meander through Fremantle town, then on to the North Fremantle Bowling Club which is just off Thompson Road, North Freo.

Once at the bowling club there will be the usual music with dancers, lovely playing greens, and a well organised bar from which to satisfy ones thirst.

Congratulations goes to Sam Gorecki who won the Tweed Run Poster competition this year. Here is his poster below that has captured the spirit of this fine event.

There will be prizes again this year, the most important prizes being for those vintage cyclists most suitably attired for the special occasion. A Tweed run was held in Stockholm, Sweden, on 19 September 2015. Here are some images from that ride that can inspire us all!!

Of course the weather in Stockholm is a little nippy this time of year so the tweed jackets were the perfect companion to beat the cold. I am hoping that the weather in Fremantle is favourable this year, maybe even a little bit on the colder side so that tweed can be worn in comfort!

See you on the ride, safe riding until then...

James @ PVC.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Brooks L'Eroica Tuscany Edition Saddle

Here is the last instalment of the Brooks L'Eroica series of Professional saddles. This saddle celebrates the main L'Eroica event held in the Tuscan hills of Italy. The one day event is held on October 4 2015. This edition is the fifth saddle in a series of specially produced Brooks saddles that celebrates the classic vintage cycling event.

The beauty of Tuscany!!

Brooks are co-sponsors of the event which is increasing in popularity each year. Here is an image taken during the manufacturing process of the Tuscany edition at the Brooks factory in Birmingham, UK. 

This is a beautifully crafted Brooks Professional model saddle with a L'Eroica logo and Tuscan scene embossed onto the top of the saddle. The Tuscany edition only comes in dark brown and is a classic collectors saddle that will appreciate in value considering that only 1000 pieces have been crafted. 

The Tuscany edition Professional saddle is available from the Brooks website for 180 Euro plus shipping and comes in a cylindrical shaped souvenir package that is pictured below. A fantastic gift for anyone interested in vintage cycling and a perfect saddle for that vintage rebuild you are wanting to finish.

Safe riding.

James @ PVC

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Bianchi L'Eroica 2016

Modern carbon bikes aren't for everyone, and after many years of cycling I still haven't bought one for myself. Put simply, I don't want one. Steel bikes appeal to me for many reasons, and they are becoming more and more popular with all types of cyclists as interest in vintage cycling returns. 

Bicycle manufacturers are more frequently reintroducing steel bikes to their ranges as the popularity of steel increases. In response to the growth in popularity of steel Italian brand 'Bianchi' bicycles have released a new steel framed bike that reflects all that is vintage, all that is cool, and all that is desireable.

Bianchi's clever marketing strategy has linked their new release to a vintage cycling event called 'L'Eroica'. There are currently five L'Eroica cycling events worldwide that are designed to appeal to vintage cyclists. In fact Bianchi is an official sponsor of the L'Eroica phenomenon. 

All L'Eroica events have similar rules that determine what type of vintage bicycles can participate in the ride. Bianchi's 'new' vintage bicycle is called the Bianchi L'Eroica,  and it's been approved to be ridden in these events. 

The gearing for this build uses Campagnolo front and rear derailleurs (2 x 10 speed) with a Campganolo chain and rear cluster. The rest of the kit is Dia-Compe (nice but not Italian!). The Brooks Team Pro classic saddle is also a winner!

The frame is very traditional with a 1 inch threaded fork, chromed lugs, a chromed fork crown, chromed forward facing rear dropouts, and the rear brake cable is held onto the top tube by traditional cable clamps. 

The specs of the bike are located here:

Have a look at the crankset below, very nice indeed!

Here are some more images from a recent bike event.

The centre pull brakes are interesting, not quite my thing although they are period correct and do allow for a wider tyre when riding those limestones roads during a L'Eroica event. The centre pulls are Dia-Compe 610's (with a drop of 47 - 61 mm), it's a pity Campagnolo don't make a vintage brake set and cranks to compliment the gears.

Well done Bianchi, great work!

Safe riding, 

James @ PVC.

Monday, August 24, 2015

My Pashley Guvnor in 2015

It's time to make a few changes to my Guvnor. I need some new tyres and I'd like to get a new saddlebag as well. 

I was looking for a set of white or creme tyres to replace the original Schwalbe tyres, but after being super impressed with the look of black rubber on the Pashley Speed 5 I thought I'd get some black tyres.

Here's the overall look of the bike at the moment, it certainly has changed from its original configuration.

I was looking for a set of tan wall tyres with black tread and after much research found some for sale at a bike shop in Germany. Unfortunately high shipping costs prevented me from buying a pair. 

Instead I went for a pair of classic Raleigh Roadster 28 x 1 1/2 tyres, they are easy to source and present great value. These tyres have a slightly smaller profile than the OEM Schwalbe Delta Cruiser tyres and run on a slightly lower pressure...but they are very good and roll as smooth as silk. It certainly feels as though they have a lower rolling resistance than the Delta Cruiser tyres - they roll better and with far less effort.

I also like the more traditional tread pattern of the tyre and they look great on black Westwood rims.

Being a big Brooks fan I just couldn't go past a Brooks saddlebag. After much thought (and a bit of procrastination) I opted for the Brooks 'Isle of Wight' saddlebag. This is a lovely leather and canvas saddlebag that is made in Italy and is built to last! 

It is very sturdy and really suits the style of the bike. I went for the medium size bag, but it's also available in small and large sizes and there are other colour options too. They are readily available at many online stores and are well priced.  

I also decided to change out the pedals. Gone are the original MKS Sylvan rat trap pedals....and in are the more traditional Union block pedals. 

These pedals remind me of riding a bike as a child in the 1970's. When I was a kid block pedals were the only pedals available.

What takes me back is the memory of spinning a block pedal with your hand...when you did the pedal rotated for may turns as though it would never stop. These original Union pedals are exactly like that! One spin and it rotates forever (well nearly!) Pedals don't do this anymore, and for this reason it's a pleasure to have a set of blocks again.

Original vintage Union pedals are still available if you take some time to look. They are often overly priced but occasionally you can buy a set for a reasonable price.

It's time to have a look at the LiON bell that I got from LiON Bellworks a couple of years ago. Two years of use has given the bell a nice patina. It still rings well and can be heard for miles!

The Britannia rubber grips have bedded in nicely. They are comfortable and grippy, and are a perfect match for the Raleigh Roadster tyres. 

I hope you enjoyed the images.

Safe riding from James @ PVC.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

1970's Colnago Super

The glorious story of the Colnago Super series began in 1968 in Cambiago, Italy. Ernesto Colnago designed and manufactured a bicycle which became a legend of the cycling history and the top model of his 1970's line.

Made of Columbus SL steel tubes, with a shorter, stiffer and lighter frame, the Colnago Super was, and still is, a high-performing bicycle.

This Colnago Super is in original condition and is fully equipped with a Campagnolo Super Record groupset, the most iconic groupset of the 1970's. An unusual violet paintwork makes this Colnago Super even more charming. The perfect choice for all Colnago fans!

This one is a 54cm frame and is for sale at the moment at

They have more original and beautifully restored cycles on their website. Well worth a look...

Safe riding...

James @ PVC

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

New tyres for the Pashley Guv'nor

I like to regularly change things on my bicycles, in particular I love fresh tyres on a bike.....give your bike a bit of a clean, fit some new tyres and there you have a brand new bike!

It’s time to change the tyres on my Pashley Guvnor, I’ve had the bike for 5 years now and although the original white Schwalbe Delta Cruiser tyres (28 x 1 1/2 or 40-635 ETRTO) are not worn out its time to freshen up the bike with a new set of tyres. I’ve been having a look at tyre options and I am pleased to see that there are a couple of new options for tyre replacement. 

Firstly, I’m keen to retain white tyres on the bike. The Guvnor, being a replicated 1930’s path racer, is fitted with white tyres that were typical of the period.  White tyres on a vintage ride do look good! I notice that the new Pashley Speed 5 comes fitted with black Schwalbe Delta Cruiser tyres. They also look good but I still prefer a white tyre.

All rubber bicycle tyres in the early 1900’s were originally white, which was the natural colour of rubber. Unfortunately they wore quickly and would stain easily. 

Inside a New Zealand bicycle shop in 1910.
.....and a bicycle shop in the USA in 1920.
Eventually 'carbon black' (raw carbon soot) was added to the rubber compound making tyres black in colour. Carbon black greatly increased the durability and strength of rubber tyres and this greatly increased their lifespan. Unfortunately the addition of carbon black in the tyre manufacturing process came at a high cost, so regular priced bicycle tyres remained white in colour, and black tyres became expensive.   

From a purely cosmetic perspective, black tyres were also easier to keep clean, so they eventually became more desirable than white tyres. Luckily for us the black tyre manufacturing process became cheaper over time making black bicycle tyres more affordable for everyone.

Nowadays, as the popularity of cycling is on the increase, so is the variety of tyre options for vintage styled bicycles. At the time of its release in 2009, there were very few white tyre options available to Pashley. I've recently discovered a couple of new options.

The Vredestein 'Retro' tyre with ivory tread:  

Here is one fitted to a Guv'nor, that's one cool tyre!

The Continental 'Classic Ride' tyre with cream tread:
Just released by Continental, but not yet readily available!

The standard cream block tyre (generic standard throughout Asia):

The CST 'Traveller' tyre (in cream) and the Schwalbe 'Delta Cruiser' tyre (the standard Guv'nor tyre):

The Vredestein tyre certainly appeals to me - the lettering in the tread pattern looks really cool. I do however prefer the clean styling of the new Continental Classic Ride tyre. I run Continental tyres on my road bikes and find that they are just excellent. I've noticed that the new Conty Classic Ride tyres have only just been released and at the moment are hard to come by, I'm sure this will change as they become more popular.

I think I'll wait until the Conty's are easier to source.....

Safe riding.

James @ PVC

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Brooks L'eroica Saddles

Saddle makers Brooks of England have created some fantastic special edition saddles in the past. My favourite is definitely the Brooks Professional "Alpe d'Huez" saddle that they introduced in limited numbers during 2010.

Alpe d'Huez is one of the main climbs and has been a stage finish in the Tour de France almost every year since 1976. The first was in 1952, and won by Fausto Coppi, at a time when most cyclists were riding Brooks Saddles.

A stylised topographic pattern of the Alpe d’Huez is impressed on the surface of the leather saddle. The design was created by Dan Funderburgh, a wallpaper designer and artist from Brooklyn, New York. His patterns, prints and installations are varied in content but all demonstrate a love for decorative arts.

The Alpe d'Huez edition saddle was available in honey, brown and black, and after it's release it sold out fairly quickly. It is almost impossible to buy new now, although second hand ones appear on eBay occasionally for ridiculous prices.

I was lucky enough to get hold of a brown Alpe d'Huez saddle some time ago. It is such a beautiful work of art that sits pride of place in my bike room. I'm sure I'll fit it to one of my bikes sooner or later!!

The most recent line of special edition Brooks saddles focuses on vintage cycling and the L'eroica series of rides. There are now 6 recognised L'eroica rides internationally and each year they are becoming more popular.

1.     Eroica California, USA,  12 April 2015.
2.     Eroica Primavera,  Italy,   3 May 2015.
3.     Eroica Japan,  17 May 2015.
4.     Eroica Hispania, Spain,  7 June 2015.
5.     Eroica Britannia, UK,  21 June 2015.
6.     Eroica Tuscany, Italy (the original event),  4 October 2015. 

As a tribute to the rides Brooks has released a series of limited edition saddles to commemorate the events. These are beautiful saddles that will compliment any vintage (or modern) ride.

California edition in honey brown

Japanese edition in green

Hispania edition in maroon

Britannia edition in black

Today (21 June 2015) is coincidently the Britannia edition of the ride - I am so envious of those lucky enough to be participating!. 

At this stage there have been 4 saddle designs released and there is expected to be one more released later in the year to commemorate the original L'Eroica ride in Tuscany. The saddles are available for purchase on the Brooks website however you best be quick as they are limited to 1000 pieces for each edition.

Good luck and safe riding,

James @ PVC.