As a keen cyclist, I have occasionally toyed with the idea of getting a period bicycle for dressing up purposes, but the idea of restoring a rusty old wreck has always seemed like too much work. eBay however came to the rescue with a a supply of modern Indian made bicycles with many of the features of their 1940s counterparts. Even putting the Indian bike together was an 'interesting' exercise, so I've very glad I didn't go down the restoration route. So, on with turning a modern bike into a 1940s troop carrying bicycle, or 'Truppenfahrrad'.
|In the process of repainting, undercoat, particularly on the chromed parts. The originals were finished in matt or satin black all over (although many were later repainted in panzegrau, dunkelgelb or whatever too).|
|Early pattern leather saddle springs.|
|Front rod brakes. These were an absolute pig to assemble and adjust, not helped by the brake guide clips being missing. eBay rode to the rescue with spares and a whole fascinating world of vintage bike restoration.|
|The finished thing, suitably draped with gear.|
|Not sure how correct these stowage options are, but the breadbag does make an excellent pannier and I've seen the odd photo with bikes set up like this.|
|This is modern pump in the same pattern as the originals, fitted for the Woods valve (more on those later).|
|The saddle in all its glory.|
|One for bike nerds. The abominable Woods Valve, note the spacer collar to keep it off the rim.|
So there we have it, a vaguely passable 1940s style troop carrying bicycle. It isn't a perfect repro as really it needs a fixed rear wheel rather than a single speed plus a dynamo front light, a fixed wheel would also remove the need for a rear brake, but is good enough for now and I've got a couple of events coming up later this year where it can hopefully have an outing.