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18

May
2015

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In Lovely Bikes
The Big Day

By Gavin Bannerman

Poster Bike 2015

On 18, May 2015 | No Comments | In Lovely Bikes, The Big Day | By Gavin Bannerman

Each year we put a lot of thought into our poster bike. We try and make sure each year is a little bit different, but still true to the local-made ethos Pushies Galore is about. Previous poster bikes have included a Bon-Ton gents bike made in Ipswich, a Llewellyn track bike made in Everton Hills and a Super L.A. BMX made in Woodridge. The very first bike featured didn’t have the local flavour, though it was a particularly nice Colnago. As you can tell, the graphic design standards improved once the professionals took the reigns after the first year.

 

After reading this guide, this year’s bike was an easy choice. When people talk about Brisbane-made bikes, there are a few names that have high awareness across Australia. Hoffy Cycles from Sandgate is one of those iconic Brisbane builders.

I’ve done a bit over the years on Hoffy, including interviewing Eric Hendren and putting up copies of Eric’s order books. It’s been interesting to note over the last few years, just how many times these books and the video get included in online sales listings. I think it’s for good reason: people want to connect with a little bit of Brisbane and Australia’s cycling history, and you can’t get much more genuine than Hoffy Cycles.

The hardest part was choosing which Hoffy to profile. I’d taken photos of an amazing Hoffy/Hendren “street tracker” a couple of years ago.

 

But a visit to the still-running Hoffy Cycles shop late last year put forward another candidate. John Harman has been working as a mechanic at Hoffy for donkey’s years. His beautiful road bike, built by Eric Hendren, was sitting out on display. The thing I love about this bike is that it looks so ride-able, but it looks so good: “everyday special” you could call it.

 

 

John told us the story about asking Eric for the bike to be painted in the famous Bianchi celeste. Eric mixed some paint to produce this colour: it’s definitely not celeste, but it sure looks good on a poster. Coming to good cafes, bike shops and drink establishments near you.

Pushies Galore 2015

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05

May
2015

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In Lovely Bikes

By Gavin Bannerman

Pushies Road Trip

On 05, May 2015 | No Comments | In Lovely Bikes | By Gavin Bannerman

The idea had been brewing for a while. We just had to make it happen. A fairly simple premise: a mini-van, a notable bike collection and some refreshment stops. Put that together and you’ve got a nice little road trip. On Sunday a group of VBEs (vintage bike enthusiasts) went out to see a great collection. I’ve written about Terry’s collection here before, so I won’t repeat myself too much. Suffice to say, Terry has a wide array of Australian, and Queensland-made bikes. Fairly well-known builders like Hoffy, Rocket and Tom Wallace are widely represented, along with more obscure makers like Bon-Ton in Ipswich, Renoun from Toowoomba and Dart Manufacturing Co. in Brisbane.

Terry road this Dart, around a hundred years old, on a ride from Broken Hill to Bourke – fitted with a non-period, comfy seat, bike computer and bottle cage.

 

 

A good day all round. How often do you get to ride a bike from 1887?

 

A massive thanks to Terry for being so generous in opening up his collection and letting us ride a range of his bikes.

 

 

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01

Mar
2015

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In Happenings
Lovely Bikes

By Gavin Bannerman

Kurilpa Swap

On 01, Mar 2015 | No Comments | In Happenings, Lovely Bikes | By Gavin Bannerman

It’s hard with weather – the price for not getting rain is sometimes scorching sun. The No Frills Bike Swap today certainly was on the warm side. Despite the heat, it was a great day. This was our first West End event and the first at this venue: the Kurilpa Community Childcare Centre. I’m biased, my son Vincent goes there, but I think the centre has a remarkable feel to it. It’s relaxed, it’s welcoming, it’s fun.

There was a big turn out – 22 stallholders and plenty more buyers – rolling throughout the morning and into the early afternoon. The sausages and iced coffees were a hit, the cakes hit their mark and water was in constant demand. How often do you get to set up a swap stall in a playground?

There were plenty of frames walking out with new owners, lots of transactions being made. It will be good to see how many new builds pop up at Pushies Galore in July as a result.

A big thank you to Kurilpa for letting us use their space, thank you to the sellers (particular Peter McLennan who drove up from Grafton) and thanks to everyone that came along to join in the fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See more pics on Flickr.

 

 

 

 

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31

Dec
2014

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In Lovely Bikes

By Gavin Bannerman

The Spirito of Christmas

On 31, Dec 2014 | No Comments | In Lovely Bikes | By Gavin Bannerman

I enjoy going to bike shops, particularly those that have stood the test of time. My trip to Hoffy Cycles a week ago reminded me how nice it is to have a local bike shop catering to a range of cyclists, with the knowledge that they have done so for years and years.

I also really love going to visit single operators. These people, generally guys, but there are some great women operating, have often worked for shops, seen the retail and trade perspectives; now they need their own space. I believe there is a real niche for these kind of workshops. Dan Hale of Shifter Bikes is obviously doing his thing at an incredibly high level in Melbourne.

Ben Kamenjas from Sydney has worked for a range of bike shops over his career. Now he has set up his own space in St Leonards in Sydney’s north. His workshop Cicli Spirito is within a creative precinct supported by developers TWT. With my community/arts development hat on, it was fascinating to see the artists, photography studios and other creatives that had taken advantage of reasonable rent and flexible workspaces. Ben’s workshop backs on to a shared space for visual artists, beautifully highlighting the aesthetic characteristics of both their work.

Ben came up to Pushies in 2014 with a special bike he’d built himself. The bike was first set up as a classic down-tube shifting road bike that he road at L’Eroica. Then he turned it into a porteur of exceptional taste. So much so that it took out best cargo/utility in the show ‘n’ shine.

 

When I popped into Ben’s studio on Christmas Eve, he was finishing the last job for the year: converting his porteur into a gravel-grinder for the holidays. It involved some 10 speed Chorus  to 8 magic, putting on new bars and de-fendering.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, but Ben’s space is dripping with character. Cartier-Bresson prints on the wall, stacks of vinyl around the record player, abundant Amoretti and espresso, this is a place that rewards observation. Look carefully and you’ll see parts of wall lined with the deli wrapping paper – the kind you get your finest Grana Padano in.

The words, “Fatto A Mano” (Italian for “Made By Hand”) are painted on the workshop wall. The personal touch can not be overstated in this “bicycle tailor.” Everything in the workshop has a story, everything in some small way reflects Ben’s personality and knowledge. If you’re in Sydney, do yourself a favour and say “ciao” to Ben. You won’t look at bikes the same.

See plenty more pics here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ben also kind me lent me a bike while I was staying in Sydney. Possibly a Centurion frame, with braze-ons for centre pull brakes, Grand Bois tyres, bar-end shifters. The perfect bike for poking around town.

 

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22

Dec
2014

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In Lovely Bikes

By Gavin Bannerman

A Visit to Hoffy Cycles

On 22, Dec 2014 | No Comments | In Lovely Bikes | By Gavin Bannerman

I visited Hoffy Cycles today with a few people on special business. John Harman, the long-term mechanic there has a lovely road bike that was made for him by Eric Hendren, a previous owner of Hoffy Cycles. John told the story that he wanted Eric to make him a frame in the famous Bianchi celeste green. Eric mixed some colours together and got this blue as a result. It’s not celeste, but it’s nice.

There’s also a little Hoffy on the wall. John put it together with a mix of tubesets and parts. If you look carefully you can see the missing links in the chain to prevent a circus performer making off with it.

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30

Nov
2014

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In Lovely Bikes

By Gavin Bannerman

From the start

On 30, Nov 2014 | No Comments | In Lovely Bikes | By Gavin Bannerman

Some builds are worth seeing for the parts list, others command your attention with their backstory. This build shapes to be something special. Suffice to say, this is an important artefact of Brisbane’s frame building history. More details will be forthcoming soon. I was very keen to document the bike “as is,” in an effort to record the history of what was and what will be.

 

 

 

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