Friday, April 11, 2008

Classic Dutch Bicycle Pictures

I found these wonderful classic Dutch bicycle photos from collector Andre Koopman.

It is a mixture of photographs of this collector's bicycles, plus prints made from the old original glass plate negatives, some dating back to the late 1800s. These came from the Fongers factory, a Dutch bicycle manufacturer.

One of my favorite set of pictures is of a Gazelle bicycle; (Top picture.) it comes with a pretty amazing story that goes like this:

In 1939, a man buys a new bicycle. Soon after WWII breaks out, and with the impending invasion of Holland, man hides new bike in attic. Soon after man becomes sick and dies. Bike remains in attic for the next 64 years.

The unused bicycle was discovered in 2003 and bought by this collector.

Even the original Gazelle tires were still good. The handlebars have a celluloid covering; yes, celluloid the stuff they used to make movie film, and was a forerunner of plastic.

The bike has dynamo lighting; the wiring has rubber insulation with a woven cotton outer casing.

The bike also has a leather dress guard, and a single front brake that consists of a rubber block that pushes down on the front tire.

Pictured below is another bike that caught my interest, and is also from WWII. It is a British made, BSA folding bike that British Paratroopers carried on their back when they parachuted into Holland during the war.

There must have been a large number of these left around the Dutch countryside after the initial drop.

Another even older military bicycle is this 1898 Fongers. (Below.) Looking surprisingly like an Alex Moulton.

I am thinking that the picture got “flipped” and was printed backwards. I have never seen a bike with the chainwheel on the left side. There is no point in this as it would require a left-hand thread on the rear sprocket.

You can view the rest of the pictures here.

My thanks to Bakfiets en Meer, Netherlands who found the pictures first.


Anonymous said...

I have never seen a bike with the chainwheel on the left side. There is no point in this as it would require a left-hand thread on the rear sprocket.

Actually just this week I saw a YouTube video about a one legged bicycle courier. He had a left side drive train for very good reason. :)

mander said...

You can set up a fixed gear bike with left side drive, as the reverse threaded lockring holds the cog in place and keeps it from unscrewing. Every once in a while someone posts an LSD (ha ha) fixy on fixedgeargallery. But this setup is pretty rare, because there are cyclo-Darwinian forces working against it: if you use regular cranks in an LSD setup, the pedals tend to come out due to precession, possibly messing up the crank threads. Those in the know, know that this kind of setup is a bad idea. However, some tandem cranks have the pedals threaded for LSD. The LSD fixies that use these cranks will actually work over the long term.

But I digress. Nice pics and post Dave.

Dave Moulton said...

I should know better than to say “Never.”

Anonymous said...

Dave, you must have seen ads for those war surplus BSA paratrooper bikes in the papers in the UK back in the 1950s. They sold for 70/-, equivalent to about $10 back then. Here is a website by a guy who is quite an authority on them:

Anonymous said...

LSD was somewhat popular in BMX freestyle a few years ago.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Here are some photos of the 1958 SCO bike my wife picked up this weekend:

She loves it!


Ed W said...

Lovely old bikes, Dave. Let's be happy that people collect them and cherish them. Too many old bikes went into the scrap metal drives in both world wars.