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 Post subject: Ancient single speed
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 1:05 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2009 12:47 am
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Location: The South Coast's Premier Dump
I would love it if someone can get some info on this bike.
It's a Hercules ladies frame, single speed, rod brakes and curiously, no chrome fittings whatsoever. I think it's been comprehensively painted over but underneath that the bars, stem, brakes, crankset and pedals have no chrome plating at all.
A new set of tyres are on and it rides lke a dream. the simplicity of the thing is truly appealing and it feels very efficient - even the brakes are a revelation!
A search on t'internet only produces conflicting specs and no reference to 'austerity' spec finish. I could see the sense in war issue bikes being sprayed black all over but again, I can't find reference to that either.
It was bought locally in Southampton and just down the road there was a huge war hospital in Netley. I lived in digs in Cornwall many years ago and, coincidentally, my landlady had worked as a nurse in Netley and told me that she and others used to ride up and down the corridors on bikes to save time!
It would be really great to find this bike is from there and then.
Anyway, enough of the sentimental tosh, here's some photos


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MV sm 3.jpg
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MV sm 2.jpg
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 Post subject: Re: Ancient single speed
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 1:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:23 pm
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Location: South Oxon and North Pennines
There are many Hercules brochures posted online by the V-CC in conjunction with the National Cycle Museum. Many are beautifully illustrated. Hercules was the biggest cycle maker in the world at that time.

It's here: veterancycleclublibrary.org.uk

The type you have looks like the Safety CA model from the 1940s. There was a national shortage of materials for chrome plate during the war and immediate post war years.


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient single speed
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 6:45 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:19 am
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Location: Worthing, W.Sussex
Bolt on seat stays point to pre war ....


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:54 am 
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I see where you are coming from but there are still significant differences.
The saddle is leather with Hercules stamping, The rear stays are even diameter and tuck in with a double bend at the brake bridge. The brochure states chroming on usual components.


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient single speed
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:23 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:23 pm
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Location: South Oxon and North Pennines
Could well be a district nurse's bike from the 1930s to 1950s period.

It would not be unusual for a large organisation such as the health service, the police or the post office to make large orders for bikes to a specific specification, and these would be cheaper without chrome fittings. A leather saddle could have been specified also, for comfort and longevity.

Brochures cannot be relied upon for complete accuracy. They were expensive to produce and would not necessarily be changed for small differences in spec or even colour schemes.

I have seen brochures from the immediate postwar period stamped over saying 'chrome plating not available due to shortages'.


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient single speed
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 4:29 pm 
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Location: The South Coast's Premier Dump
Thanks Wheelnut. Looks like my theory as to it's history may well be true.


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient single speed
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:43 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:55 pm
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Location: New Forest, UK
I suspect post-war. In the war people were advised to paint the rear part of the mudguard white to aid visibility in the blackout.
It's not an absolute guide but helpful nonetheless.


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient single speed
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:44 pm 
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Location: South Oxon and North Pennines
hamster wrote:
I suspect post-war. In the war people were advised to paint the rear part of the mudguard white to aid visibility in the blackout.
It's not an absolute guide but helpful nonetheless.


Why post war? Many roadsters in the 1930s had the rear of the mudguard white from new, as shown in the makers catalogues at the time, while many of these older machines had the rear of the mudguard painted white on official advice from the war office, as you rightly say.

In reality, roadsters changed little from the 1930s to the 1950s so hard to tell the age.


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