Sunday, February 21, 2010

Giant Jersey

We stopped off at the local PT Goodwill this morning and I picked up this like-new Giant Jersey! Great deal and it'll go with the Trance :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cinelli Bars & Stem

I stopped by Waste Not Want Not, our local used building supply and hardware shop this morning, and ran into a friend who told me about a yard sale down the road that was loaded with bike parts. Needless to say I was out of there in a flash and headed down the road in a quick minute!

I scored the last couple of items that I needed for the LOOK bike....... a Cinelli bar and stem. Both with the Cinelli logos. The bar is a Giro de Italia model.......... I actually have been watching eBay for both of these for the past 6 months, and to top it all off, they were both on the $3.00 each table!

New Goggle Straps

I finally found a suitable leather belt at a thrift store today to use for the new straps on the vintage goggles. I had to do a little trimming to get the leather to fit the strap slots, and after finishing it off with a couple of rivets, I think it turned out pretty good!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bundesgrenzschutz Bike......More Info!

After doing some EXTENSIVE internet research and following up various hunches and leads (I'm getting better with my German with all this research!), I think I've finally narrowed down the true origin of the new bike.

From the beginning of this whole escapade, the green color of the bike just didn't seem right for an army issue bike.......... all of the old military bikes are painted various shades of black and olive drab, but his one is a brighter green. I knew that I had seen that color in the old German services before, but I couldn't place it exactly. Well, today it all fell into place. The color of the bike matches exactly to the old original colors for the old German Bundesgrenzschutz, or better known as the German Federal Border Guard (BGS). The time line of the early post-war BGS, matches the date of the bike as well.........

After WW2, all of the German military, police, etc., were disbanded and all of their uniforms, insignia, vehicles, paint schemes, etc., were "erased" in what was know as denazifacation. The occupying forces of the USA and Great Britain for West half and Russia for East half, took over all of the police and military functions until the end of 1948. This is when Germany was officially split into East and West Germany. The Western occupying forces decided that there was a need for a competent Federal Border Police to handle the increasing incidents along the East-West border and Czech borders. In 1951 the Bundesgrenzschutz was officially formed by enlisting 10,000 former WW2 Wehrmacht officers as the new BGS. The BGS was organized along paramilitary lines in battalions, companies, and platoons, and was armed as light infantry. It was controlled by the Ministry of the Interior as opposed to the Ministry of Defense, assuring that it was not an actual Army.

This all fits quite well with the bike having 1948 dated numbers and for having olive drab painted inner fenders and a brighter green overall paint job. The fenders are most likely earlier army bicycle fenders that were reused in the new bike. The rear rack is also not of the same type as the army versions used all over Europe up until this date. It looks like what I would call, "Post War Modern". This fits as well.

The modern German Army, or Bundeswehr, was not started until 1955 and the colors were traditional military...... olive drab and camouflage.

Compare the two pictures........... The original BGS patch and color to the color of the bike. It's about as close as you can get! I'm confident that this is the actual ID of the old bike. Early documentation is tough to come by for this period of German history, so it will be a tough research project to track down any actual hard proof, but then I always like a good mystery to research.

Here is a picture of a contemporary German Border Police vehicle and as you can see, the color has remained the same.

The uniforms for the BGS for this period up until 1955, looked very much like the WW2 versions, including the old "coal scuttle" helmet that was replaced in 1955 with a US style helmet.

More German Army Bike Pictures

Here's a more complete set of pictures of the new, most likely, 1948 Bundeswehr bike:

Here are some close ups of a few of the "details:

Here are a series of pics of the rear hub. If you look close you can see the "48" that I'm pretty sure indicates the year.......... the first two numbers in the serial number on the frame ar "48" as well. Still investigating this point.....

Monday, February 15, 2010

1948 Bundeswehr German Army Bike

We have a new addition to the bicycle herd here in our cozy little bungalow............. a beautiful 1948 German Army Bicycle! On Saturday evening while Sweet Pea cooked up a wonderful dinner, I surfed the bicycle listings on the Seattle Craigs List. A new listing caught my eye: WW2 German Officer's Bike. I checked out the photos and it was definitely one of the old German bikes, but maybe a bit newer, I wasn't sure.......... after a lengthy phone conversation with the owner, where I asked way too many "trivial" detail questions, we "shook hands" on the deal and he agreed to hold it until Valentines Day morning. The bike was just outside Tacoma, in Milton. A Valentine's Day road trip and adventure was on the agenda!

We found the house without too much of a problem and the bike was everything he advertised it to be........ we completed the deal and loaded up the bike. We drove all the way over in the rain, and it cleared up just before we got there......... no rain all the way home until it started sprinkling when we pulled back into PT. We were able to haul the bike on the outside bike carrier instead of loading it inside the Jeep.......... Sweet Pea and I, two pugs and an old German bike.......... glad the rain cleared :)

The guy we bought the bike from was younger, maybe later 20's and had a lowered VW in the driveway and two 1930's "paper boy bikes" on the front porch. He said he went to a yard sale at an old gentleman's house and spotted the bike in the back part of the garage, not in the sale. The older man agreed to sell him the bike and told him his part of the bike's story........
He said that he got the bike from his neighbor many years ago. He said that his neighbor was a German man who had immigrated to the US in 1960. He was told by the man that he had served in the German Army in WW2 and that bike had been his and he then brought the bike with him when he came to the US.

The bike is in pretty much unaltered condition, with the exception of some rather sloppy silver paint that was applied with a brush to everything that was silver on the bike. The tires are rotted, but are German made and the tubes are the old style with the odd over sized presta stems. The paint appears to be original and is an evergreen color with olive-drab on the inner fender area. The seat is a totally shot Brooks B-72 leather seat. The hubs are German Torpedo single speeds with a coaster brake in the back and a rod brake for the front.

The rack style is not quite right for nearly all of the WW2 pictures I have been able to find of the old WW2 Wehrmacht German Army bikes. I did however find pictures of a bike that is a dead ringer for mine on a Florida military vehicle club's website. The bike is labeled as a rare 1960 German army bike. The serial number of my bike and a number stamp on the Torpedo hub on my bike indicate that mine is a 1948. I sent an email to the club's webmaster and he immediately emailed back and said he would forward my email to the club member with the 1960. My fingers are crossed that he will have loads of info on these old Bundeswehr bikes. The interesting thing to note is that the German Army was disbanded from 1945 to 1948 during the Allied occupation and the new army was started in very limited organizational capacity in 1949. The full, new, German Army, or "Home Defense Force" was officially designated in something like 1951...... so this could be one of the very first "vehicles" for the Bundeswehr!

Stay tuned...............

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What I'm Listening To........

The Idan Raichel Project

Here's what's currently at the top of my play list................... The Idan Raichel Project.
Amazing and inspiring album and group............. The Idan Raichel Project began in Israel in 2002 when Idan Raichel, a young and talented keyboard player , composer and producer put together a demo of his work in an improvised, homemade recording studio set up in his parents basement. The project draws from the cultural melting pot that is modern Israel.......... the music is woven from Etheopian, Arabic, African and Yemenite traditions and lyrics, Eastern folklore and chants, as well as biblical psalms.

A message of peace, love and hope. When so much of the news out this corner of the world is so bad and hopeless, it refreshing to find something so amazingly fresh and uplifting that is relevant to all of us in this world. We should all really take a moment and take the words of Ian Raichel to heart......... this world would truely be a greater place if we could all live these words in practice:

"Our ability to live in peace with each other depends first and foremost on our ability to accept all that is different between us.

I want to get closer to you, but let me be who I am.
I welcome you coming closer to me, while respecting who you are.

On our own individual paths we are all looking for the bread, the water, the wind and a dignified life.

And yes, we all cling to love."

Idan Raichel

Monday, February 8, 2010

TREK Cap Sold!

Well here are the final stats on the TREK cap that we picked up weekend before last and listed on eBay: 7 day listing, 11 watchers, 4 bids, final sale of $15.50.

I'll be shipping this out to the East Coast this afternoon..................

Arrrggggghhhhh..... There be treasure out there matey's! Now get out there and plunder some for yer'self!

Steam Punk Brass

I did a little foraging and scored a some great brass gears and valves in the scrap pile! Big and heavy........... now I just need to come up with a good project for all this stuff :)

Classic Steam Punk style!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Optimus No. 45 K

Saturday morning, bronze class day for Sweet Pea........... on my way back home after dropping her off, I stopped off at a funky "swap meet" that sets up every Saturday at the Chimicum Community Center. Out of all the "junk" I spottted a vintage Optimus stove box. Inside was a complete, never used, and mint condition old Swedish Optimus kerosene stove! I won't say what I paid for it, but I almost dropped my wallet trying to get my money out as fast as I could! I've actually coveted these very stoves for years but the price tags for even heavily used ones are more than I can justify paying.

This stove dates back to the early 1970's and it is from the very last run of the old style, brass, kerosene stoves that Optimus made. Everything is there......... all of the instructions, vent picks. parts, etc., even the box is in near perfect shape! It still has all of the paper parts wrappers and cardboard packing as well. The guy I bought it from said he opened it up and assembled it once, but never fueled or fired it. It is almost unheard of to find one of these stoves still new in the box.

For some reason Optimus stoves from the 1970's have middle eastern script on the tanks, labels and instructions. They must have had a pretty good market in that part of the world at that time.

I'd love to fire this up, but I think I'll ponder the potential collector's value of keeping it in the new condition....... These Optimus No. 45's are considered the "sexiest" of all the old Optimus stoves by the hard core stove collectors.


I stumbled across a deal on eBay that I just couldn't pass up........... 100 vintage onZa mountain bike stickers from the '80's. I ended up with the winning bid and now I have quite the stash to figure out what to do with!

onZa was the first very high-end mountain bike component company. They invented and marketed the first bar ends, sold $400.00 titanium cranksets, custom tires........... if you were a mountain bike racer in the '80's you probably had one of these stickers on your bike. The company was sold in the 1990's to a mom and pop trials bike company in England where it prospers to this day. The new incarnation of onZa only sells hand made trials bikes (stunt bmx style bikes with no seats). They bought the original onZa company for the brand recognition only and discontinued the cutting edge parts line. Too bad.

These stickers are very high quality with a clear coat layer and appear to have been made for bike frames................ now I just have to figure out what to do with 100 stickers!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Burning Man Tickets Are Here!

A plain white cardboard mailer came by registered mail this afternoon.................... Burning Man tickets are here! Hard to imagine the Playa dust and heat this early in the year, while we're still slogging through Winter, but the Burn really is just a hop away!

Now where did I put those tickets.................... ?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Safari Jacket is a REAL Treasure!

I've been doing some research on the Carroll Company that made the new British Safari Jacket and I found some pretty interesting info...............

It seems that the Carroll Company of Beverly Hills, California is one of THE premiere men's clothing stores in the US! From what I can tell from the website catalog, shirts go for around $250.00 and jackets around $1000.00. I knew it was high-end :)

There is a great and VERY extensive history page on the website that is VERY interesting......

The Original Beverly Hills Store

It seems that the company was founded in 1949 in Beverly Hills by a Hollywood publicist and quickly became the prefered clothing store to the stars. The early customers were the likes of Clark Gable, Fred Astaire, William Holden and Billy Wilder.

From 1953 to 1960, Carroll is one the first US company to venture overseas to Great Britian and Italy to search out interesting and unusual clothing for their store. They start to work with and purchase from small custom clothing manufacturers, importing the high end garnments to the US. The regular customers base expands and the likes of Gregory Peck, Dean Martin, and Jimmy Stewart become regular customers. Carroll expands to form a "Studio Division" and starts to assist Hollywood costumers and designers with movie clothing. Many of the era's stars insist on wearing Carroll clothing in their movies.

In the 1970's the Carroll Company expands and becomes the largest clothing retailer on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills............Carroll begins providing clothing for television shows......... "The Bob Newhart Show", "The May Tyler Moore Show", "Charlie's Angels" and the "Six Million Dollar Man". Carrol also begins dressing politicians like President Gerald Ford, George McGovern, Senator Allan Cranston.

In the 1980's Carroll Company outfits Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, and Robert Redford for many of their film roles. Carroll also supplies costumes and clothing for the television shows "Hill Street Blues", "Dallas", "Dynasty" and "St. Elswhere".

In the 1990's Carroll Company continues to grow and receives a Warrant of Appointment from His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent. They continue to provide clothing to the stars in numerous feature films and shows like "L.A. Law", "Picket Fences", and "Murder She Wrote".

In the 2000's the company supplies clothing to actors appearing in "The West Wing", "Boston Legal", and "Commander in Chief".....................................

Goodwill Treasures

A Sunday trip to the local Goodwill turned up a couple of interesting treasures this last weekend..... a vintage TREK cycling cap in "classic fuscia" pink and a beautiful, mint condition, British safari jacket!

Since neither Sweet Pea or I do the pink cycling cap thing, it went on eBay last night. I'm sure thee's a vintage TREK bicycle collector out there who will be thrilled to get a hard to find cap like this.

I have actually been looking for the right British "safari jacket" for quite some time. I have a reproduction British pith helmet that I have worn for several years in the past, out in the desert at Burning Man, and have wanted an authentic jacket to finish out the look. This jacket is in brand new, never been worn condition. The threads-per-inch weave is EXTREMELY high. The jacket is lined and has a very high-end label and is actually made in England! This is not your cheap or military version, this is a true high grade, high end, garment that would be right at home on any Egyptologist or British Explorer.

The cherry on top of the whole deal was that the cycling cap was only 99 cents and the jacket was half off! Oh yes and it fits like it was tailor made for me, exactly my size!