When I first began serious long distance cycling, some 25 years ago, I would often turn up at my parents’ place after a long ride. Each time, my father would wax forth about the bicycle he left behind in the Netherlands when he emigrated to Australia in the late 1950s. He had bought it – a Rudge with metric dimensions – ten years before he left and he told me about its gearing, the oil bath for the chain, the long rides he had taken on it. When he emigrated, he gave it to his brother, and claimed – every time – that his brother was still riding it. Being a skeptical sort, especially with tall stories, I was not persuaded. Who would still ride a bicycle 50, even 60, years old? I also wondered why he never rode much in Australia.

So I was stunned when one of my cousins in the Netherlands told me he still has the Rudge and that he still rides it. His father – the uncle to whom my father first gave the bicycle – had given it to him. And just to prove that the Rudge is a myth no longer:

Rudge 01a

Rudge 02a

Note the lever-brake system, the drum brakes, and the locking device.

Rudge 04a

About these ads