It was mid summer in 2004 , i was riding a 1964 carlton catalina that was resurected at much effort after its last owner wrote it off following a frame crushing accident .
On my way home after a long 13 hours in the workshop i was turning right on a quiet junction , a driver who was sat at the junction waited to pull out , i had a super bright front light and reflective riding jacket so was lit up like Tron .
The woman clearly distracted by the kid in the back seat decided to pull out right into me effectively side swiping me at low enough speed i had time to jump up from the flat pedals above bonnet height of the car so she only made contact with my beloved old bike , the woman must have panicked as she momentarily floored it before hitting the brakes . She got out rather annoyed and tried to have a go at me , I quickly told her she pulled out from a stop point into traffic with right of way and she just earned lots of points on her license , she could either shut up and give me her details or i would call the police claiming injury ! Her choice ? She shut up and did the former .
This led to me hunting out a new frame , i came across an old heap , badly painted but with skinny dual taper chain and seat stays , nervex lugs and no visible rust . Upon picking the frame up i was flummoxed by the weight , or lack thereof. I really do mean light , i have a 22″ hobbs streamweight that is a very lightweight frame by any measure , the new frame is 4 oz less . This really puts it in the featherweight class . The tubing is of very thin wall type with generous butted sections .
Just barely visible were some vindec cycles decals that were all waterslide types and they are the only vindec decals of this type i have seen . The downtube decal is similar to the vindec moped chainguard decal but the headtube decal seems to be a one off .
I bought it and started assembly to see how it rides . When fitting the headset i noticed a tiny crack in the head lugs top and bottom . A little heat , some flux and brazing rod later and she was all good to go . Only one gear lever boss so so i mounted the front shifter with a band mounted to the top of the seat tube .
The ride , oh man the ride . Quite unlike any other bike i had owned . My old flying scot continental is similar in that it has its own very distinctive feel but the vindec just feels so planted and sure footed . Comfy but stiff under duress , it rode like a french randonneur machine i once worked on as a 19 year old mechanic , the customer wouldnt tell me what it cost but if i say the name on the downtube was Rene Herse you will get the picture .
I am not saying the vindec is a Herse machine but its in that league for ‘rightness’ , it is , to me ,, perfect .
This has induced a long term mission to make it into the bike i would have made for me . Mafac racer centerpull brakes mounted with braze ons , a quick release saddlebag rack like the george Elrick type , downtube gear lever bosses and cable stops for the front mech were needed . Back to the torch and bit of silver bronze and all those issues were attended to .
I still cant decide on a colour so its blue-ish white for now while seek out the colour but she is at this moment hanging in the shed while the colour coat drys before applying the clear coat tomorrow. Its just a rough paint job as i am desperate to get back on this bike so the proper paintjob can be done over the winter .
Below is a pic of the home made saddlebag support , it is of the quick release type as was used by George Elrick and a few other builders of the time .
Picked up a new (to me) vintage bar bag . Cant find a makers mark in it though . Still , too cute , very lightweight and the perfect size .
Lightweight , nimble and smooth .
You can see just how blue it is in the twilight , it helps car drivers see me at this awkward time of the evening where the light can make everything blur together .
Been doing a little lug lining to experiment with colours . To be honest ,i am rather taken with the pale blue lined with mtalic pearl orange . Zoom in to see how poor the paintwork ( especially the lining ) is . The lining is just acrylic which can be wiped off with isopropyl alcohol.
Mudguard’s painted to match the frame , stem and bell are being prepped for paint to match.
Not sure if I should put Vindec decals on it 🤔