The making of Cynthia…

You may have read in previous posts that Mario has a new girlfriend… Cynthia; a retro styled bicycle. We got interested in the idea of a ‘vintage’ bike when James did the Tweed Run earlier in the year. So James found me a bike on Ebay, the right style and most importantly with a basket! DSC01917DSC03546IMG_1167 She was collected rather inelegantly, returning from Swindon, upside-down on the back of the car. Although it looked pretty good in the photo’s it was a bit tatty around the edges and so a restoration to match Mario was plotted. There was a fair bit of discussion as to how she would look which I blogged about earlier.

We put some pictures on Mario’s FaceBook and our personal pages and got our friends to vote on the combination they preferred! James set to taking Cynthia apart and got on with preparing, priming and spraying the frame and other metal parts, using the paint we had left from restoring Mario many years ago – proving that two-pack paint keeps perfectly well. He also striped down the gearbox, cleaned it all and reassembled it which will hopefully solve the problems with the gears slipping and polished all the alloy frame components to a mirror finish.photo 2photo 1
10552512_730254053697077_6924704042527702638_nIn the meantime I set to work at home in the kitchen sink with bleach and brillo-pads and cleaned the wheels and tyres, handlebars, saddle etc. The handlebars went in the dishwasher which brought them up really well, they were then lacquered to seal them. I managed to get rid of all the little rust marks and although the chrome is still a little pitted it looks pretty good. DSC04183 DSC04185 DSC04187 DSC04188 DSC04191She was soon being put back together with the addition of some rather nice checker tape to match Mario’s bling. We had contacted Cicli Cinzia the original manufacturer to try and get some decals, they didn’t have any of the originals but very kindly sent us some from their current range of bikes, as the logo is quite retro looking which looked perfect and finished off the frame. It’s nice that you can still see the manufacturer especially as they are Italian. They also confirmed that Cynthia was originally manufactured in the 80’s (1986, marked on the gears) which is good news as Cynthia will be eligible for some of the vintage events. James also lightly sprayed the baskets blue which we rubbed back to give a distressed look and added some flowers round the front basket to complete the vintage feel. We also managed to get a perfect black and white elastic skirt guard which fitted perfectly in the holes on the mudguard.photophoto-3photo 3photo-2DSC04194 DSC04206 DSC04207 DSC04208photo 2-2 DSC04209

Now everybody knows that many of the top automotive launches take place at Goodwood and so the GRRC Open Day seemed a perfect venue for Cynthia to make her debut. The first thing was to see if we could fit the bike inside Mario. With all the seats folded flat into the floor the Multipla has a huge load area comparable to it’s size and Cynthia just fitted. With some fiddling and strategic positioning of bungee straps she was very secure and we had a easy journey to Goodwood House. The previous posting tells of our day out at the Open Day but I’ll just say here that Cynthia went down a storm and made a beautiful pair with Mario, she even had her own little sign!
DSC04210DSC04213DSC04221DSC04225DSC04268DSC04303Layout 1We are delighted with the result and are looking forward to more seaside cycling and hopefully taking part in a few vintage cycling events in the future. Mario is just pleased to have a new friend.

Advertisements

A two wheeled friend…

After all the fun of the Tweed Run we quite fancied the idea of doing more period cycling so it was very exciting when James bought me (and Mario) a present of an ‘old style’ bicycle.

m06WRZf7VHLetGoST2WTc5glogoFound on ebay it’s Italian made by Cicli Cinzia, a company formed and still, near Bologna in 1967, by Giuseppe  Bombi  and  Severino Maccaferri who made their name initially with a folding bike which was popular across the world.

We don’t know how old it is but it has all the period features of a drop bar and holes in the mudguards for a skirt guard, white walled tyres, luggage rack and most importantly a basket! The idea is to restore it to match Mario but we haven’t decided which way round we should paint it. We’ve already found a black and white checkered bell and hopefully will be able to find/make a checkered seat cover and grips to mimic Mario’s Italian ‘bling’ trim.

Here’s an ‘artist’ impression of what it might look like…

Bicycle Bicycle2

A bit of research has revealed a whole array of designer bicycles out there but don’t think James will appreciate replicating the paint jobs!

195411_1346059589DolceGabbana-animalier-bicycle-Ummmm now there’s a thought… Mario coloured leopard print!blue-green bikeMissoni-bikes-468x318 Chanel-bike1-468x340 Love the ‘luggage’ on this one!Fendi-bike Gucci-8-8-2008-bike-468x300

We went for our first ride on Sunday, taking the bikes to Southsea, parking at the far end near the Hayling Ferry and then cycling along the seafront and through old Portsmouth to Gunwharf Quays for a recuperative ice cream and a bit of retail therapy, although one needs to remember it’s not so easy to get two new pairs of shoes on the back of a bike! Seeing how I haven’t cycled for thirty five years it all came back quite quickly but I am suffering for it today!photo 1DSC02665photo 3

We haven’t tried to get the bike in the back of Mario yet but this of course leads on to the possibility of making a stylish roof rack for him which would also allow us to display vintage luggage on the roof at events. These Louis Vuitton cases sold at Bonhams at Goodwood Festival  of Speed would look fab, but a bit pricey at £1-£2,000 each!DSC02998screenshot002 i234112 DSCN1466 DSCN1415 800600001roofrack images 1c94414a959f16310ae473f7e5b8cd3a James is looking into the possibility of fabricating one, initial research found these rather stylish curved ones designed for Beetles which look much less boxy and not as clumsy, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

155-391-01988-4 155-391-01988-2

That leaves just one problem… what to call Mario’s new friend? It should obviously be Italian and although it is a ladies bike I still veer towards a male name. Maybe Giuseppe or even Bombi after the founder or Sergio, Dino, Dante (Dante Giacosa designed the Multipla), Benito or Carlo, though the translation of Cinzia is Cynthia which just maybe is a good name for a vintage Bicycle!

Two wheels not four…

Don’t panic Mario still has four wheels firmly on the ground but last Saturday James took to two wheels for the first time since he was old enough to have an engine under him!

1394728353423DSC00569The event was the 2014 running of the Tweed Run – a metropolitan bike ride with a bit of style. James was given a entry for his ‘big’ birthday and I went along in capacity of team photographer. The event is now in it’s sixth year and involves 500 people dressed in period tweed, cycling around ten miles or so round the capital on vintage bicycles with various stop offs for tea and picnics. All jolly good fun, the route is a closely guarded secret and although now an official London Event with sponsors and lots of press coverage, it is still run in a slightly ‘guerrilla’ style with groups of suitably clad marshals riding ahead of the pack blocking the traffic, temporarily ‘closing’ the roads to allow the run to pass through.

The starters at Somerset House (thanks to the Tweed Run)

The starters at Somerset House (thanks to the Tweed Run)

This years route started at Somerset House although I have no pictures from there as I was still trying to park the car, a total nightmare with city roads empty and loads of spaces but none with the right combination of time allowed and cost. Having turfed out James and his bike earlier so he could make the start time and finally finding a suitable space I then had to download an App and register so I could pay!

DSC00603

First sighting of Mark and Richard on the Tandem

First sighting of Mark and Richard on the Tandem

DSC00620

A wave from Marge

DSC00605 DSC00609

The fabulous Fleur De Guerre

The fabulous Fleur De Guerre

DSC00615 DSC00622I finally caught up with them at St Paul’s Cathedral where a bride came out onto the balcony to watch the run come past. A quick dash round the corner to the Guild Hall for the first stop of the day and my first chance to catch up with friends Mark and Marge Elliott and Richard Sherwood all looking fabulous and tweedy with their trusty steads. Marge (aka Tweed Queen) had dressed her bike beautifully complete with one of her Tweedidermy Trophy Heads. The assembled crowd all looked wonderful although with maybe a little less heavy tweed than usual given the mid 70ºs temperature. There was still of course many excellent displays of sculptured facial hair. Marge’s bike was of course fully equipped with a cocktail bar so it wasn’t long before the Martini’s were served.

DSC00634

Maybe Mario could be a support vehicle?

DSC00643DSC00638 DSC00648 DSC00691DSC00679 DSC00697 DSC00704 DSC00729 DSC00737 DSC00743As the participants headed off towards London Bridge and Borough Market before crossing the Thames again at Westminster, I hopped on the tube and waited for them in Parliament Square. As they entered the square another modern cycle ride was leaving Whitehall for Westminster Bridge, the cheering was deafening with the Tweed Runners cries of Tally Ho and the ringing of bicycle bells competing with the hooting traffic as the area was pretty grid locked.

DSC00769 DSC00773 DSC00784DSC00808Bikes of all shapes and sizes from Penny Farthings to delivery bikes, tandems and regular vintage bikes with a selection of baskets, flowers, dogs and tweed covering as accessories streamed into the square to the delight of the watching crowds. Many had children along, either on their own bikes or riding various contraptions attached to their parents transport.

DSC00929DSC00883DSC00906DSC00908The route then proceeded up the Mall past the Palace via Burlington arcade to Saville Row the London home of tweed. Unfortunately public transport on a busy Saturday is much slower than a bike so I only caught up with them again at Russell Square where the infamous Tweed Run picnic was taking place. A welcome glass of bubbly and a ‘cheesy moustache’ was most welcome, my charging around following the route appeared to be fair more exhausting than a gentle cycle ride through the city streets.

The Marshals blocking the road

The Marshals blocking the road

DSC00970

Andrea Woelke, who won the prize for best moustache

DSC00958 DSC00993The final section was a gentle run to Clerkenwell Green where the event finished in the grounds of the church and the celebrations carried on into the evening at the Three Kings.

A jolly spiffing event and one which I’m sure we will try to do again, although I feel that Mario may just have to acquire a two wheeled ‘female’ sibling!

See more photos of the day here