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...............

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