Vintage bike heirloom rides in style again

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Classic and pure vintage single speed rides again in Brussels

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – A classic design rescued from the confines of a dusty garage.

“It is my grandmother’s bike. Back a few years, my grandfather was really into cycling. Always on the bike, every weekend. He was always doing some DIY with the bikes. My grandmother is very short, like me, and so she needed a tiny bike. He asked one of his friends to make one for her.”

“So how did you end up with the bike?”…

“After years and years, my grandmother stopped using it. One day I was looking for a bike and I asked  her, “Do you have an old bike in your garage I can borrow?

“She said, ‘Of course, yes. I have this bike.

“So my grandfather customised it and put on these orange grips.

“Now it is travelling around London, Paris and Brussels on Eurostar. When I discovered that I could take the bike on the train, I thought, ‘That’s great.’  It does not travel very often, maybe once a year. But the last time was about three weeks ago when I moved here. “

Photographer’s notes: Current cyclists tend to think they created the single-speed culture, but it was a constant until the 1960s. We are just experiencing another example of retro-fashion – this one on two wheels.

I saw this bike late in the afternoon and almost did not ask for a photo. Light was fading and it was cold. But just look at this bike. Everything screams class. The frame a beautiful touring model – and modern frame makers are recreating the double tube frame design in some very expensive replicas.

The wheels are stained with age, the hubs clearly from forgotten decades. There are no quick release hubs here and the single speed and chain is likely the same one from its first ride.

And, gratefully, the owner appreciates what she has.

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