Knock wood or knock on wood? The bicyclist ponders

dfsdfsI may get pleasure from reviving bicycles with non-indexed bar-ends and six-speed freewheels, but I understand, even if I don’t exactly cherish, the allure of “what’s next.” Bicycle Retailer recently reported the interest of Kickstarter followers in new bike technology this way: “Kettle Cycles wanted to raise $15,000 on Kickstarter to produce its new ceramic disc brake rotor. The company brought in over $70,000.” Interested? Follow your money to more information on this Spring Grove, Illinois, company and its 40-gram wonder. (Kickstarter)

The past twenty years have seen little change in the basic frame-tubing silhouette of tandem bicycles. Most of the bikes I see are direct laterals (which include a “stiffening” tube that extends from the head tube at the front of the bike to the rear bottom bracket); though I also see open frames (no frame tube crossing another tube). But I’ve never seen anything like this early Peugeot “ladyback.” I didn’t even remember Peugeot once made tandems, though this site guesses that more Peugeots were sold in the 1970s and 80s than any other make. (Peugeot Tandems)

For visuals of various tandem frame styles, see page 5 of this 2008 Santana catalog.

Today, there are two basic ways to attach a wheel to a bicycle: 1) nuts and/or bolts, and 2) quick releases. The former requires a tool, the latter just a hand. But there used to be a third option: the wingnut, basically a nut with two levers (the wing). No wrench required. Just turn it by hand (and hope you get it tight enough). You need to know about this bit of retrotech before you understand how utterly nifty this variation is. Ladies and gentlemen: I present the locking wingnut. (Bikeville Thoughts)

Everything old is new again. You call it a camping bike; I call it well equipped. (Lovely Bicycle)

Given enough time and money, I would buy just about anything—just to experience it. One of my long-term ambitions includes wheels with wooden rims. However, if for no other reason than to prove I retain a certain amount of technological prejudice, I think I’ll leave the wooden helmet on the shelf. (Sacro Bosco Bicycle Works)

About 16incheswestofpeoria

Former bicycle mechanic, current peruser of books, feeder of birds.
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5 Responses to Knock wood or knock on wood? The bicyclist ponders

  1. Erik says:

    $70k!!! I’m in the wrong business…

    • A friend of mine in bike shop days said if I wanted to stay in the business that I should find a way to get into manufacturing–easier to separate yourself from the pack and avoid the commodity nature of retail. This outfit symbolizes the wisdom of that advice.

  2. Erik says:

    Lacking any of that wisdom stuff myself, I came across this old picture in the Peoria Historical archives:

    Sorry for the long link, but it is of the Voss Brothers Bicycle Shop. Obviously, retail is a rough game, but this was the idea of that bike boutique I had a while ago.

    • The bikes are definitely of their time, but I’ve seen work by many current-day builders that emulates machines of this period. The chainrings on the suspended machines look the same as Schwinn chainrings I knew in the ’60s and ’70s. I assume they are Schwinn. Today’s Illinois Cycle, for many years the area’s Schwinn dealer, began when Joe Bousky bought the Voss Brothers business. Interesting to see the Good Roads sign in the back; seems to harken back to the Good Roads movement of the 1890s and the League of American Wheelmen. In fact, the amount and size of signage in this picture is amazing. Thanks for the link.

      • Erik says:

        Thought you might appreciate it. I was trolling for some Then & Now type pictures and of course had come across some of Peoria & vicinity that would have been incredible if not destroyed. I came across this pic and Googled around to see that Voss had been purchased a long time ago and went to Joe, then to John. Just love the simplicity of the whole store and concept.

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