There are no words for how much I love this chase scene from the 1971 pilot for McMillan & Wife. If you patiently stick around and watch until 1:06 you’ll see why.
This is one of the prettiest bikes that’s come in as a donation at Bikeworks North. I don’t know much about Italian road bikes, vintage or otherwise, but I think this is a sweet ride. There is some conflicting information out there on the Cambio Rino company, but I found this concise summary at Disraeli Gears.
This bike has Rino branded hubs, headset, derailleurs, seatpost and shifters. Some of the other components include Universal brakes & levers, Wolber rims and a nice copper riveted Brooks saddle. I have to be shallow and admit that my favourite thing about this bike is the luscious green paint job. The paint is mostly in good shape but is flaking off at a few points showing the chrome beneath. Click on a few of the photos below to get a better look at the colour. A few other nice details are the pretty, but not overly ornamental, lugs and the Rino logos on the fork crown and seat stays. I also like the shifters which are nicely ornamented, and with the rear shift lever having a pleasant curve.
This bike has been tempting me for several months now even though it’s a smidge too big for me at 58cm. It’d be great if somebody dropped by the shop and bought it so I could stop mulling the possibility of adding an Italian bike to my little fleet.
There were a few noteworthy rides this year that for one reason or another I never did get around to writing about. In typical TuckamoreDew fashion I am going to try to sneak in under the looming New Year’s deadline with a few last minute posts. This first one was never blogged because of an untimely computer failure…and also because of my general laziness since then.
BURTONSVILLE ISLAND NATURAL AREA CAMPING TRIP
Back in the middle of the summer I went on a 3-day group bike camping trip organized by Chris C. of EBC. I was really excited to be doing this as my inclination to try bike touring has been growing with each passing year, but I hadn’t been able to make it happen. Several years ago, I bought my ’83 Nishiki Continental touring bike for that very purpose. One obstacle, of course, is that I have young children and my vacation time is always spent on family outings rather than heading of by myself into the wild blue yonder. When the prospect of taking part in this trip came up, I reflected that in the 12 years since my daughter was born I haven’t taken a single trip by myself, and I reasoned that I could easily justify to myself a few days away from home.
I mostly already had all the gear I needed for the trip and felt pretty comfortable with the camping part of the trip given the amount of time I spent backpacking in the hills I grew up beside. I was perhaps a little unsure about the cycling part, however. I’ve cycled longish distances before, and I’ve hauled loads on my bike too many times to count, but I’d never done both at the same time before. And just because of the way things worked out this was going to be my first long ride of the year.
On the day of the ride, there were nine of us assembled at Chris’ house ready for the 100 km trip out of the city to the camping area. Getting out of the city was something of a chore, but in relatively short order we were on highway 627 and headed West. There could be no route confusion as we’d be travelling in a perfectly straight line over mostly flat terrain for about 60 km before the first turn.
The riding was mostly smooth except for a 14 km section that was being resurfaced. This part was pretty horrible. The asphalt had been roughened and covered with a thin layer of tar in preparation for resurfacing. We doggedly cycled along the bumpy, tacky surface, our tires encrusted with a delightful shake ‘n bake coating of pebbly tar and asphalt. Every so often some of the debris would fly off my tires and race along the inside of my metal fenders with a shrieking noise. We were pleased when we were finally back on the smooth road.
We turned south of the highway and onto Range Road 44 for what I think was the best riding of the trip. There was a climb at the beginning, but then it was mostly a long, swooping descent along a quiet rural road into the soft evening light. The pavement eventually changed to gravel, but it was well-packed and easy riding. At the very end, we were in for a bit of the rough stuff as we had to pedal along a rutted, grassy path to the water’s edge.
As you will have figured out by our method of reaching the island, the Burtonsville Natural Area has minimal amenities. There are very roughly marked trails, and a couple of very basic areas set aside for camping. We spent the first while stumbling through the woods trying to find one of the paths. Dragging my heavy panniers through the brush was the toughest part of the day, and months later my arms are likely still a couple of centimeters longer than they used to be. We finally found a path leading to a campsite and were setting up the tents at nightfall, and cooking supper in the dark. Chris had things well organized and soon had an awesome meal was ready. He kept everyone well fed during the entire trip. I had packed my own food as well, and ended up gorged. I played my travel guitar for a bit by the campfire and a ukulele was strummed as well. I slept well that night.
We spent most of the next day wandering around the island looking for the second and allegedly better campsite. Except for Derek, that is, who hiked back to the bike pile to attempt a repair to this rear derailleur that had malfunctioned during the last bit of the ride the previous day.
We camped another night and headed back the next morning. Hauling our gear back to the bike pile was a lot easier now that we knew where the paths were.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the bikes used on this trip. Our selection definitely leaned towards the vintage, with only two of the nine being new bikes. There were three Nishiki touring bikes (my Continental and two Internationals), a Sekine, a Peugeot, a Kuwahara, and an old Cannondale mountain bike. The two new ones were a Surly LHT and a MEC National. Not shown in the gallery below are the LHT and the Cannondale, as the riders of those bikes headed back before the rest of us.
The ride back was fairly easy: a reduced weight of food was helpful. The road resurfacing had come along nicely during the days we were camping and we were treated to a long stretch of beautiful, new pavement – a great improvement. Getting back into the city felt a bit weird after all the highway riding. We headed back to Chris’ house (after a short stop to pick up a few beer) and flopped down on his driveway, fairly beat. Being a consummate host, he started showering us with food and drink where we were, with no need for us to even get up. A great ending to a great trip.
More of a short story really…
For the final installment of my Thanksgiving weekend cycling, I joined The Raving Bike Fiend on Monday for an easy cruise from Bikeworks North to Whyte Ave and back. We were both riding bikes made by Edmonton former frame builder Jim Moulden. Jim established Hardcore Bikes back in 1989 and built frames up until 2003. The photo above shows both bikes returning home.
Both the bikes are nicely fillet brazed. A little measuring with the calipers at the shop before the ride, showed that the main tubes of both bikes are the same diameters, resulting in one being a pretty lightweight mountain bike, and the other being a stiff, strong road bike. I’ll be posting about my bike in more detail soon.
After, this photo session we headed down Whyte Ave and stopped at a coffee shop for some hot beverages. While we were sitting outside enjoying the fine autumn weather, another EBC volunteer pedaled up an joined us, giving me the oppourtunity to add a little bit more Canadian content to this blog post.
I wasn’t quite as successful as an early riser on day 2 of my Thanksgiving cycling mission. The Saturday morning ride, followed by a solid afternoon of pedaling around town pulling my son in a trailer (as well as a heap o’ groceries in my front basket), had left me at day’s end as drained of energy as the Energizer bunny running on cheap, counterfeit batteries. At night, I slept deeply and then through my alarm the next morning, resulting in a late start. My knees were a little sore for the exertions of the previous day, which is uncommon for me. I blame the long, slow climb up Cameron Ave with a full load of cargo.
For Sunday’s ride, I decided to dust off the tweed jacket, and take my 3-speed Raleigh 20 for a leisurely tour of the more Southern end of the river valley. I know that some readers are now shaking their heads sadly at my choice of bicycle. Perhaps a 3-speed isn’t the best choice on a day when one has sore knees? I am happy to report that my knees felt fine and that I rode my bike with immense enjoyment (in accordance with rule #3 of The Society of 3 Speeds). I did, however, walk up a couple of hills.
As always, the R20 was a delight to ride, handling nimbly and moving faster than one would expect from its appearance.
By this time, I had decided that my destination would be the Fort Edmonton Footbridge as I’d only been there once before and that was a couple of years ago. I dipped down into the river valley and eventually found my self at one one Edmonton’s much discussed public artworks, the Talus Dome. Although the artists claim that it’s supposed to represent the accumulation of stone at the foot of a cliff, I think that any mechanically inclined cyclist will immediately recognize that it is actually a pile of giant ball bearings. I don’t mean that as a criticism and I’m keen to see the bike they could be installed in. I wonder if Park Tools could supply an appropriately sized SBC-1 on special order.
From the dome I headed onwards towards the Footbridge, taking the lovely gravel path down by the river. The R20 was perfectly at home riding the rough stuff.
After the stop at the bridge, I headed for home. I wasn’t sure what time it was but I felt that I was likely running late so I did my best to pick up the pace. Where possible, I clicked the R20 into third gear and zipped right along. A lot of people feel that the stock gearing is too high, but I actually quite like the option of digging in and going fast.
I made a small error in deciding to explore a few new trails on the way back and was confronted with a no bicycle sign. Not wanting to backtrack, I found a trail that wasn’t marked and went onward. This lead to a large field that was absolutely swarming with people and dogs. There were more no cycling signs here so I detoured onto a large trail with no prohibiting signage. Unfortunately, there more swarms of dog walkers here so I got off and walked my bike. The dirty looks I was getting from some of the people made me think that I was still in no bike territory, so I gave my chirpiest “good-morning” greeting to everyone I met. Many of of them replied in a guarded, terse manner. Hey folks, I’m walking my bike AND I’m wearing a snappy jacket: surely that counts for something. As I left the trail upon reaching the Hawrelak Park bridge I glanced back over my shoulder and saw, yep, another no cycling sign.
While I was riding through Hawrelak a passing cyclist asked me what model of bike I was riding. It turns out that he, too, had an R20 that he was thinking of fixing up. I took the oppourtunity to praise the little bike and to defend the three speed hub as a practical bit of equipment (Rules #1 and #2 of the SOTS).However, I am embarrassed to admit that even when directly asked if I was a member of a cycling club, and even though I was wearing an SOTS button and riding a bike with an SOTS sticker, I STILL forgot to mention the Society of Three Speeds. I hope that there aren’t some sort of demerits awarded for such a lapse. I’ll do better next time.
On Friday after work, I picked up a couple of used cycling books at The Bookseller by Mill Creek. While I was flipping through “Discovering Old Bicycles” by T.E. Crowley I came across the following passage describing a velocipede from 1887:
“They (Singer & Co.) were also responsible for the Multi-military cycle which carried eight, sixteen or more between pairs of wheels coupled together with towbars, and wound its sinuous way along like some monster road-serpent. But not for long. Mechanical millipedes carried whole clubs that year, but like the last and clumsiest of the dinosaurs, they proceeded on their way to oblivion”
I thought that this unlikely sounding device must be the oddest of the often strange attempts by the military to use bicycles. Unfortunately there were no accompanying pictures in the book. Luckily I had the internet close at hand and was quickly able to google up some more information.
The drawings seem to have originally appeared in two issues of Scientific American (June 11th and July 16th, 1887). The text of the July article is:
Of late years attempts have been made to apply velocipedes to military purposes, the results of which have been so favourable that one might well expect to see companies of troops mounted on these vehicles. But heretofore only velocipedes have been tried, so that the new English invention the military multicycle by the London firm Singer & Co. is a decided advance in the transportation of infantry from one place to another. It will carry twelve men who, in case of necessity, can draw a light baggage car or ammunition wagon. The operators are seated in line, one behind the other, the vehicle can be easily steered, and offers less surface to unfavourable winds than if two or four men rode abreast. The multicycle can be propelled remarkably fast, making ten English miles an hour, or with practiced hands fifteen to sixteen miles an hour. And it suffers less than other velocipedes from bad roads, and can easily pass over railroad tracks.The entire control and guidance of the machine lies in the hands of the first man, and at a recent trial in London he had no difficulty in carrying out his part of the work, even in the most crowded streets.The multicycle required less room than a hansom for turning, and made its way without accident among numberless vehicles of all kinds.Military evolutions can easily be carried out on the machine, and, in the case of attack, it can serve as a protection for the men who can fire from behind it. The war department are trying to make the multicycle practical for war purposes.
I also found a description of the machine in The Sydney Mail of July 1887. The text of that article is almost identical, but has some further tidbits of information. It describes the multicycle as being Singer an Co.’s, “latest adaption of their Victoria or Four-in-Hand Quadricyle” and describes the tires as being “wired on the Otto principal, so that they cannot be greatly damaged by cuts from sharp stones”. The machine was to be severely tested at Aldershot by the authority of the war office.
I can only imagine that this contraption did not fare well during the severe testing. Although there is probably no existing example of the multicycle, it’s fun to imagine that it may someday turn up in some cobwebbed warehouse or barn. If not, maybe some crazy re-creationist with too much time on their hands will reproduce it. I’d love to see one in action!