Sunday, May 31, 2009

Brain 'Happy' Howlett at the 1949 Empire games trails, sporting a similar bottle/food canister set as pictured below.

I am pretty sure this is the earliest Coloral set I have, they came from Lyn Parris who was NZ road champion in 1956, he was using these bottles in the late 40's.
The details on the bottom of the bottle and canister have a CPL logo that I haven't seen on later Coloral bottles.

Coloral thermos flask, used by Russell Robinson during the cold winter months of training in the Waikato during the mid 1950's.
This is the same size as the normal Coloral bidons, and are made for the same cages.

Bidons, Water bottles & Flasks.
these are some of my favorite things.....

Well I'm not sure I can tell you to much about these bottles, as far as production dates and time lines etc.So if anyone has some good information let me know.
Anyway I will start off with my Coloral collection,I guess these would have to be considered this quintessential 1940's-early 60's British alloy bottle (therefore the most commonly seen in New Zealand). No pre 60's British lightweight should be without one or two.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Comet Cycles

Neil Ritchie Melbourne Olympics 1956
Brian 'Happy' Howlett NZ Olympic trails 1956
Ads from New Zealand Cycling Review magazine November 1950
Period Comet ads and photos


Neil Ritchie's 1956 Olympic track bike
This bike was made and given to Neil Ritchie especially to take to the 1956 Melbourne Olympic games by Slater Hayes, who also made one for Don Eagle ( this bike unfortunately has been thrown out).

The bike features hand done/stencil lettering on the down tube which looks real cool.
Cranks Williams
Pedals Phillips
Chainwheel Williams
Wheel set 28 hole tied solder front and rear
Hubs FB (oil no grease)
Rims Fiamme sprints
Stem ATP
Saddle Brooks sprint

The comet road bike in the photos below is one I got from Christchurch a while back. It was a bit of a wreck, but you know how it is, I could see through the 20 or 30 years of neglect oil dust and rust to the beauty underneath etc.
So I strapped it on the back of the car with the rest of the South Island bike haul (that's another story), and brought it back up North to it's spiritual home,at lest that was the spin I was starting to put on it for myself, once I had realized how far gone it really was....

It didn't have much of it's original equipment remaining, so I decided to build it up with a Sturmey Archer FM 4 speed I had laced up (with the help of Rob from The Hub in Hastings), but had sat unused in the black hole sometimes referred to as my garage for that past year.

Anyway after being rechromed and a few coats of a nice mismatch two pack paint from the local automotive paint supplier ( a good way to get some nice colours at a pretty good price) I put it all together in the bike in the photos.

It is a good ride, nice and smooth with its fairly long wheel base.However I have had some trouble with the SA hub slipping, so I will take it to SA guru Jim Buger up in Auckland next time I am up there.


This particular way of doing the half wrap seat stays is a Comet/Slater Hayes signature.
Serial number is located just behind.

1958 Comet
Cranks BSA flutted
Chain wheel BSA
Pedals Chater Lea sprint
Sturmey Archer FM 4 speed hub
Front Hub BSA high flange
Rims Wiemann
Brakes GB Super Hood Courier
Stem GB 531


Comet cycles was one of Aucklands most established bike shops, and also a builder of fine racing frames.Comet was started in 1937 by Slater Hayes and Bull (first name unknown).

Bull sold his share to Slater upon his return from active duty in 1945. The shop was situated in Aucklands K'rd until about 1970, when under the management of Slater's son Jacky Hayes, the shop was moved to Grey Lynn, finally closing down in 1997.

Slater Hayes had been a pretty successful cash (pro) rider himself during the late 1920's to late 40's,winning the New Zealand road championship title in the mid 30's,riding a Leader Special which will be featured on this blog shortly.

Slater had learned the bike trade and cycle construction while working for one of Auckland's other well known cycle traders, Clarkes Cycles during the 1920's-mid 30's.
Clarkes were builders of the famous Leader Superb and later Leader Special racing frames.

Just prior to WW2 and until 1949 Comet had also in it's service one Doug Hills, who went on (taking the Comet secretary Nora with him) to start Auckland's most important cycle shop of the late 1950's- 70's Hills Cycle Works, more about this shop later.

Comet racing frames were, although not pretty in the English lightweight sense, were light and robust more in keeping with French racing bike design. Comet signatures are the half wrap seat stay (with a few file marks),Simplex rear drop outs on nearly all rear derailleur bikes during the 1950's,serial numbers on the rear seat cluster,usually three to four didgits.
All of the later 1950's bikes that I have seen are 531 Reynolds butted tubes with Nervex lugs.

Right here we go. This blog is all about my personal obsession with vintage and classic racing bikes, memorabilia and New Zealand cycle history in general from about 1945-85. It will also be a sort of journal following my endeavors to get a book about New Zealands great six day road race published.The book is called 'Wolves of the road', 'The Wisemans and Dulux six day road race 1953 to 1985.
So stay tuned.