One of the great frustrations from moving house has been embodied in a cardboard box, just one amongst so many. But an odd shape, long and flat.
It arrived a week before we moved and I allowed myself a single peek into the box before very reluctantly I packed it away.
So having unpacked everything domestic over the last two weeks I treated myself to a session in the shed and I carefully brought Freddie Grubb number 11773 into the light after its respray and refurbishment for its 50th birthday (and mine).
A thing of rare delight, a 1963 English steel track frame which has been in my first club, the Godric CC for its entire life. I acquired it in the 1970s and after a short racing career in grass track and rollers I mistreated it for almost 30 years.
But now as I gradually pulled the packaging away I broke into an irrepressible beaming smile. This is my classic and I am really looking forward to the gradual build. Watch this space for more updates.
An important focus for our hosts in Vienna was cycling cultures. This meant several things:
- The heritage of Vienna as a cultural capital
- A growing bike culture and counter culture in the city
- A relatively newly elected city administration that is determined to build a cycling culture by all means possible
- A parallel workshop at the ECF AGM for young volunteers from new cycling organisations – the VOCA programme
This element is so strong they decided to make it the theme of next year’s Velo-City conference and announced it while we were there.
As a self confessed old git cyclist I have to say the best of this was being exposed to the new advocates group on the VOCA programme and counter cultures tour led by Alec Hager of campaigning group Radlobby IG Fahrrad and Gudrun of the Bike Kitchen.
Ending up in the Bike Kitchen late afternoon enjoying some food and a beer and hearing the enthusiasm of everyone involved was just refreshing. I felt a bit sorry for friend Doretta who thought she had signed up for a culture tour and ended up with a tour of workshops and bike shops, but I was really at home. And a big shout out for their inclusive, supportive, collective values – not much of that survives in a material society.
I wonder whether there is a point when the counter culture becomes the new orthodoxy because none of the elements on the tour were at all unique to Vienna, but I guess you can’t really describe a city as having a vibrant cycling culture without them so Vienna is making important strides.
My thanks to all the places that hosted our visits, here are a few photos of variable quality – and special thanks to Bikelager for outstanding coffee served amongst a gallery of classic bikes laid out like an art show. And of course the scene stealers were the fabulously painted Colnagos on the scalloped frames. At the time we just knew they would become classics.
Bikelager Wien - coolest bike shop in town
Vienna Fixie - great paint job
Cargo fixie at Fix Dich
Heavy Lifting Cargo Bikes
Vienna bike workshop - build your own
Colnago frames feature