Orange is the Colour For Me

For some unknown reason I have a weakness for orange coloured road bikes.



Not sure why, because if I was asked I would normally say red is my favourite colour.



I can just about remember owning a Holdsworth road bike in the team colours of orange and blue when I was a teenager. Please do not ask what model it was as I would not know , I vaguely remember it having a Reynolds sticker of some sort on it .



Up to date this is only the fourth orange coloured bike I have owned as you don’t see too many around that fall within my budget . The Holdsworth was my first one, the second was my R.E.W Reynolds of Northampton that I owned approximately 6 years ago , I bought it as a 3 speed sturmey arched equipped bike that was converted to a single speed bike and sold to somebody in Brighton if I remember rightly a few months later .



Next along was one of my all-time favourite bikes I have ever owned a mid-90’s BH road bike which I think looked a million dollars , rode very well and never missed a beat in all the times and miles I rode it . For some strange reason I decided to sell it about 5 years ago to a lucky Oxfordshire cyclist .

B H Stevlo


Last week I spotted this G.E.R Lomas of Oxford road bike and straight away I liked the look of it. So I made the normal enquiries making sure


G.E.R Lomas

that the seat post was free to adjust up and down ok and I also asked if the wheel rims were steel or alloy ? The seller replied yes to the seat post  and that the rims were steel ones which deflated me a bit , but I decided I would make an offer and see what happens . The seller accepted the offer and a collection date and time was agreed . Upon collection before handing the cash over I checked that the seat post was actually free good job I did as the seller then admitted that he hadn’t checked it earlier when I asked him ! Thankfully it was and my payment was handed over and the bike was mine to take home and enjoy .



G.E.R. Lomas


On my first day time inspection I couldn’t help but notice how bright and clean the 27” wheel rims were and upon closer inspection I could see they were clearly marked up as Rigida and Alloy. The brake track didn’t look like they had covered many miles at all, the front hub looks to be a Strongy item whilst the rear is an Atom flip flop unit , tyres are Schwalbe which seem to be in good shape and not very old .



G.E.R Lomas


The gearing is a mix of Silstar ,Suntour and Shimano components but it all seems to work well enough in the 12 miles I have ridden it so far . The brakes are Weinmann centre pull units fitted with Koolstop grey brake pads to improve braking performance . The cables need replacing and the rear pads need to be reset to try and cure the squealing they omit when applied .  I also noticed that the Weinmann brake levers still had the beige hoods and blade covers fitted which is quite rare these days .



G.E.R Lomas

There are no signs of what tubing was used in the construction of the frame but the seat post seems to measure 27.1 which should be either 27 or 27.2 mm when checked more accurately with post removed from the frame and cleaned up.  That points to Reynolds 531 which is what I was hoping for . The stem is a GB unit with slightly rusty quill bolt , no idea on the bars yet as I need to remove the red sponge tubes , rather hoping they will be GB Maes units .



G.E.R Lomas


The paintwork should polish up nicely and the few marks all add to the character of the bike .I am looking forward to getting some miles in on this bike and apart from replacing the brake cables and cleaning the pads up and servicing the bottom bracket and headset bearings the only other thing I want to do is replace the guards with either a set of black or white blumel guards .

As i sit here doing this blog i have just remembered i had not mentioned two other orange bikes one being the below Soens of Liverpool road bike shown before any work was carried out  and the other was a nice Pollard

Jim Soens


Pennine Italia Arrival

Earlier in the month I agreed a deal on what the previous owner said was a nice 1980’s Pennine Italia road bike.



It finally arrived at the end of last week all nicely packaged up in this box.


Pennine Italia


Once I opened the box I could see the quality of build on this machine just by looking at the lug joints and the thinness of the rear stays and the Cinelli MC fork crown .


Pennine Italia


The SR handlebars are a glorious piece of work which are in amazing condition and still have what I think is the original black cloth tape wrapped around them .


Pennine Italia


My initial short test ride went well and the only things I noticed were the original front brake pads were squealing well and looked rather worn so these were replaced along with the inner and outer cables .


The 27.2 mm Brimalux seat post was nice and free in the seat tube so adjustment wasn’t an issue , just a shame the Brooks saddle had lost its shape so much along the central spline area . Hopefully it should come back with some tightening of the tensioner and a few applications of leather treatment .


So far I have ridden it a total of 12 miles and can honestly say it’s a nice smooth ride, just a bit on the large size though for me .


Pennine Italia


Pennine are still in existence with Paul Corcoran and Sandra Corcoran in control which is good to see in this day and age where frame makers are going out of business on a regular basis.





The paintwork is rather dull and grubby but should come up a bit shinier with some application of T Cut and general automotive polish .

1950’s Pollard Confirmed

I am sure a few of my blog readers will have already seen my Facebook post on Racing Bike Biggs682 facebook page about how my Pollard has been confirmed as either a 1954 or 1955 built machine .





Also confirmed was that it has Oscar Egg lugs, seat stays that are tapered at both ends, a frame number in the correct place and the right number of digits and like the vast majority of Pollards it was built with Reynolds 531 tubing . I was never in doubt it was a genuine Pollard but just wanted to get it direct from the horse’s mouth if possible so I contacted what I hoped was a gentleman that bought an ex Vic Clarke Pollard frameset from me a few years ago who is also in contact with Eddie Pollard, the son of William Pollard .


Pollard Fastback

Luckily enough my contact hadn’t changed his e mail address etc etc and he received my e mail and came back asking for some pictures showing the headstock and saddle clamp areas . Once these were forwarded to him he responded within 24 hours confirming the above and stated that it was well worth restoring . Now this puts me in a quandary as I don’t mind riding a bike that has loads of patina and shows its knocks and bruises with pride .



Sadly over the years a lot of the original parts have been replaced with newer ones and some of these were removed when I started its recommissioning a few months ago . When I picked it up it had a Custom crankset and a mixed set of wheels ie a 27” clincher type front wheel and a 700c tub and sprint rear wheel , these were replaced by a set of modern 27” alloy rimmed wheels and I managed to obtain a single Sugino crankset that was more in keeping than the Custom crank was .




I also swapped the original very short stem and bars over for a nice set of G.B Maes bars and a lugged stem to give me a better position on the bike , the original brake levers have been re fitted along with new cables . The only other original part as far as I am aware of is the domed Reynolds alloy seat post that looks to carry a 1951 date code .



So far I have ridden approx 120 miles on this set up and it rides nice enough but a fine tune here and there wouldn’t go amiss to aid smoothness , I wouldn’t mind keeping an eye out for a wider ratio rear cassette in either 5 or 6 speeds just to make hill climbing slightly easier than present .

I doubt very much that I will repaint the frame and rebuild with correct period parts as I don’t personally like that idea much as the time trying to track period parts down can be awfully long winded and then is it worth it in the long run .

Singled out

On Monday and Tuesday this week I reunited myself with my single speed Pollard and it made me realise again why people like single speed bikes .



Pollard Single Speed

It has also made me think that I need to get my early 1970’s Woodrup track frame out of the loft and get it built up soon . It’s been sat in our loft space since being refinished earlier in the year so frame wise it’s all ready to go . My plan was always to build this up with a fixed gear and this has not changed . I have a 42 toothed crankset ready to be fitted along with the original Campagnola Pista bottom bracket that I removed from the frame when it went away for refinishing .




I have a donor rear hub that is currently laced on to a sprint rim and I also have a clincher rim to replace it so I will need to get that built up. Unfortunately I don’t have a matching front wheel so I will run odd wheels but both will be 700c size . When the frame was refinished I had the original rear brake bridge replaced with one that allows me to fit a brake caliper so at least now I can fit front and rear brake calipers .


Once this is built up it will mean that I have 3 single speed bikes in my fleet as I also have a Lee Cooper framed one and with the possibility of another Lee Cooper frame due soon .


This will be my second dabble into riding fixed gear the first was a few years ago , so a few short test rides will be required to get me in to the swing of things before I go blazing off into the sunset on it .

A day i will remember

Last Saturday was a day I shall remember for a few reasons.


Firstly it rained for the vast majority of the time we were out which was just over 5 hours. We spent nearly 3 and half hours in the saddle with the rest being spent either looking around some of the Historic Churches we visited en route or in the Pub having some lunch .



Brixworth Church


Secondly it was the longest ride I had done in miles and time for more years than I care to remember with a total of 51.4 miles covered beating my previous high by 4 miles so I can now say I have beaten the 50 mile mark at long last .



Paul Hewitt


The third reason was that my feet stayed dry after being exposed to the elements for a lot longer than I normally spend on a bike. After trying a couple of various makes of overshoes , I decided earlier in the year to order a Pair of Velo Toze long over shoes and I can honestly say I was impressed as when I removed my socks and threw them across to my partner, much to her annoyance, she confirmed they were dry just a bit smelly , the inside of my cycling shoes were also dry .



Velo Toze


The fourth reason was that it was the first time ever I have had 2 spokes break in one day and on one ride , with less than a mile covered a front spoke went twang so I turned round and went back home to swap a different front wheel in to replace the faulty one and carried on. Around the ten mile mark I heard another twang and upon inspection I noticed a rear spoke had broken , being too far away to swap wheels over I decided to carry on and hope the wheel stayed in shape for as long as possible which it did to about the 40 mile point where I started to notice a degree of pulsation through the brake lever when applied and the saddle when riding on a smooth surface .



Ian May


My bike for the occasion was my red Ian May road bike with a pair of SKS clip on guards fitted to try and help with the amount of rain forecast , I had been warned that a certain section of the planned route included a couple of steep gradients that I didn’t think my 1950’s Pollard would appreciate on its simple 5 speed set up , in the end I think the bike would have coped with the gradients easily but never mind there is always next time .



Bikes and York

We spent a week in York not long ago on holiday so no cycling was involved .



York Minster

It’s a place none of us had been to before so we were unsure what to expect as we normally take seaside holidays , so having a week in an inland city was something new to all of us .


Although it was a family holiday I still find myself looking at any bikes I see and boy did I see a few in York. The vast majority would be what I call Dutch style bikes, then a good mix of mountain and hybrid machines with the occasional road bike and there was an even spread between newer and retro styles with a lot of the older retro bikes having been converted to either single or fixed gear .



Single speed Peugeot

I have a couple of single speed bikes in my collection and find them very easy to use especially for commuting duties where the majority of the route is fairly flat, once you start throwing in the odd hill or two I think the majority of cyclists would prefer to have a few extra gears to choose from .

lee Cooper

A single speed or fixed gear bike has a much less complicated drive chain ie two gears and a chain plus sometimes a tensioner whereas a multi geared bike can have a minimum of 3 gears , at least 1 mechanism and a chain never mind the complication of gear change levers . So they have far less bits to go wrong and wear out.


A lot of the bikes spotted in York were parked in one of the many parking areas scattered around the City , some of these machine looked in daily use whilst quite a few of them didn’t look like they had moved much in at least a couple of months . Most of the roads we used seemed to either have a dedicated cycle lane or shared access with buses and taxis . It looked a lot busier than my local inner town area so not ideal cycling in for sure and not something I would fancy doing too often . A lot of people seem to use the shared paths along the side of the river Ouse to get in and out of the city centre area .



Bike parking in York

In a  City like York the use of a single speed bike certainly makes a lot of sense to me as you don’t have to worry what gear you are in as you jostle with the traffic. As it’s a fairly flat place with no major hills to negotiate the choice of one or more extra gears would help, you also don’t have to worry about the mechanisms getting knocked about when padlocking your bike up to whatever you lean it up against .



Bike Parking In York

It also made me think how many of the bikes I spotted were peoples only bike or were they just their day to day workhorse whilst the Sunday best bike sits tucked away and only goes out to play in ideal conditions rather than having to be ridden no matter what the weather or terrain is .



Bike Parking in York

We did also spot on a couple of occasions York’s answer to the the Boris bikes and these looked to be available to hire from the main railway station for a fee starting at £10 for 2 hours along with a deposit and a picture id .

Giant Terrago ATB

I have a soft spot for the early 90’s Giant Pelotons mainly because a lot of them have funky paintwork schemes , and in all fairness they ride well and are normally fairly well specified .

Giant Speeder lite

If there is a weakness with them it’s that you seem to get a few with seized seat posts , probably due to neglect by previous owners .


When I saw an advert showing a rather psychedelic paint scheme I couldn’t help but take a closer look at the one and only picture supplied with the advert. I could see from looking at the picture it looked to be in good condition . A bit of internet searching brought up a couple of forum posts from around the world by current and previous owners of Giant Terrago Atb’s  all singing their praises .


Giant Terrago

I contacted the seller for any further information to which I got told it had been fitted with smoother road tyres for easier riding and it was in good general condition but needed the tyres inflating as they were currently flat .


Giant Terrago

An appointment was made for me to go and see the bike and upon inspection I was impressed and handed over the required amount of cash to bring it home . Once home my first job was to inflate the tyres and give it a quick visual once over then take it for a short test ride .


Giant Terrago

The test ride didn’t reveal any horror stories , whilst the quick once over revealed a very nice Shimano Deore group set that looked hardly used , fairly new Nokia City Runner tyres and overall a very nice bike that had been well looked after . Even the Mavic rims showed very little wear on the braking surface and the stainless spokes were nice and shiny although the rear does need a slight amount of trueing up .


Giant Terrago

After 3 days of gentle commuting duties I can say I am impressed with this bike and would happily keep it for myself to use but that would mean selling my owned from new Marin Mtb of similar era .