Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Genuinly Useful Velo

We were in downtown Middletown yesterday for the Main Street Music Festival, watching popular Cincinnati group "Robin Lacy and DeZydeco"...
. .

...when a man rode-up on his rather "personalized" trike. Steering-wheel with bell, three mismatched tires, single front peg on one side of the front wheel & incomplete electric assist unit on the other side.

He paused there for a moment, looked around at the stage and crowd, then did something I hadn't expected. Wheeling the trike around so the front wheel faced away from the stage he parked near the curb, stepped off, walked around to the back, and turned his trike into a rather comfortable looking chair.
Talk about being "as one" with your machine... suddenly my bike didn't seem as "complete" as it had been before.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

First Roses

Seems like it's been an excellent Spring for flowers. The tulips and iris did great, and the roses are going nuts. Here are a few of the first blooms.

The local fad is to name your rose bushes - "Glorias's Bounty" "Miss Miami Valley" "Passion Ruby". If the neighbors ask, I think I'll call these Manny, Yonkl, & Simche.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Aluminum Bottles Available Again!


(above: Jean Robic collects a few "Nescafé" aluminum bottles before a stage of the Tour de France.)

It's been many years since real aluminum bottles were available. Replaced beginning in the late 1950s by plastic bottles, the beautiful shining aluminum have been one of the Holy Grails of vintage bicycle parts.

An Ohio manufacturer has re-introduced aluminum bottles to the market. Decorated with printed logos (mostly blue in color) with mirror-finish aluminum details and spouts, these colorful bottles are sure to be a favorite among the retro crowd.

I can hardly wait to buy a couple and try them out!


Monday, May 25, 2009

Back to the Front Rack

(I'm reposting this because of errors in the original description of the "La Paon" rack.)

Time to turn our attention back to the Luxor front rack & twin headlights assembly. First, a recap...

This is the image we're probably most familiar with, from page 81 of The Data Book, showing Daniel Rebour illustration of a fully hammered combo at a bike show in 1947. Fully "honeycombed", smooth lenses.

Though rare, the rack does show up from time to time on eBay. Here's one from last year. The details are slightly different from Rebour's illustration above, but as I discovered with Luxor headlights, their product designs were not at all static, and were instead updated on a regular basis. This particular rack is in the "La Paon" (peacock) pattern. Note how the pattern is deeper toward the front of the headlight shells, narrowing and fading to the rear. Looks like this pattern is repeated on the deck of the rack, too. Note the revised two-part center opening on the platform, and closed edges on the side and rear openings.

Here's another example, cleaner and in better condition than the first, and in the hexagonal "honeycomb" pattern.

I requested that, if anyone found another one of these, to please let me know. It didn't take long for Richard Jenkins to contact me from Liege saying he not only found one, but was planning to part-out the bike it was on and I could have first dibs on the rack lights and fenders. Here's the donor bike, a Prima city bike.

Note that this combo, with its mixed pattern of hexagons and ribs, differs slightly from the otone above which is fully "honeycombed".

Next time: Details and Disassembly

Dilecta Women's Bike

Found this is on eBay-France... a Dilecta women's bike. Wish the pictures were better - the bike doesn't look like much at first, but note the 650Bs, honeycomb fenders, Luxor honeycomb headlight (missing its lens) and taillight, bouble rear reflectors, and interesting rear rack with tool boxes. Seller says bike is from 1920s-1930s, but I'm guessing more like 1950s, or at least updated then. It's "local pick-up only", so we probably won't ever know for certain.

Rare Unhammered Luxor Taillight

Finally! Spotted this on eBay-France. I knew there had to be one - a smooth Luxor taillight. Looks like someone has messed-about with the bezel, but no mistaking that shell and lens. Another empty pigeonhole filled on the Luxor family tree.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Häckel Headlight

Small (child's?) headlight, not particularly attractive, but look at the great box! I'm guess this is from Germany. Graphics show the light (with different mount), large factory complex, and four youngsters relying on a bicycle and it's headlight to illuminate their nighttime march.

Luxor Patterns so far

Everytime I think I've seen all the Luxor patterns, another pops-up somewhere. What's next? Polka dots?, Fishnet? Stone wall?

Anyway... here's the story so far. Missing from this picture, but seen elsewhere: smooth "50", peacock taillight, zeppelin "65". There's probably a zeppelin taillight, too.

First picture:
Top row: smooth "65", honeycomb "65", honeycomb taillight
Middle: honeycomb with rib "50", "65", and taillight
Bottom: peacock "65", knobbly "65", knobbly taillight

Second picture is a repeat of the zeppelin "65" for reference.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Three Large Headlights

Possibly for velo or moto, these three lights appear as a group on eBay-France. The light center front is an aluminum"Self" with interesting cut-outs backed with red celluloid. I wonder if the light was visible from the side through these windows?

Luxor "65" Zeppelins

Missed my chance for not one, not two, but Three of these Luxor 65s on eBay. It wasn't until after the auction that I really looked closely at what I'd lost... see the lines on the shell? These were "zeppelin" pattern Luxors - yet ANOTHER pattern!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Another Lovely Vitalux

Another attractive light from Vitalux, similar to the drum-shaped shell light, but this time with a shallow curved shell. Note the vertical lines and "Vitalux" script sand-blasted into the lens.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Edelko Twin Headlight Combo

Just one picture, and not a great one at that, but here's another interesting twin-light combo from eBay/France, this time by Edelko. Looks like it bolts directly onto the top of the front fender. The bezel clasps at the bottom of the lenses look similar to those on Luxor headlights. I like the vertical lines and round central logo molded-into the lenses... too bad they're both damaged. These are pretty rare, so I imagine it is difficult to find good replacements.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I moved daily coverage of the 1949 Giro d'Italia over to:

Sunday, May 3, 2009

That Darned Ukelele (a short story based on a collection of photos I found in a junk shop)

My brother's girlfriend Fern Olmstead is coming for a visit, along with her entire family. And look - Fern has brought her ukelele again.., how nice.

But wait! Looks like Fern's mom, Mrs. Olmstead, plays the ukelele too! Well, this is going to be a special occasion.

At least my brother Eli will get to spend some quality time with Fern... and her ukelele, of course.

Seems like Fern can't go anywhere without that darned thing. What are they, joined at the elbow or something?

Well... I suppose it is nice of her to let me have a go at the thing. :::plunk plunk plunk:::

Evening shadows may grow long, but Fern never seems to tire of strumming away.

Eventually even Eli has to gave it a try.

Sadly, Fern's brother Phinneas isn't musically inclined, and must find other amusements.

Another unidentified headlight seen recently on eBay-France. Small (50mm dia x 90mm long) like the Luxor "50" and Jos "500" series, with a red plastic ridge down it's back. Possibly for a child's bike?