Thursday, October 13, 2011

Jacqueline Rides Again

Jacqueline, Neubaugasse
If you've been reading this blog for some time, you are familiar with "Jacqueline" - the vintage Steyr Waffenrad lugged swan-frame bicycle that I ride in Austria. Though she does not belong to me, my friend Wolfgang lends her to me when I am in Vienna. I keep Jacqueline parked outside the flat where I am staying, and use her to get around everywhere. I am very fond of this bicycle and we have not seen each other since last summer, so the reunion was joyful.

Jacqueline, Neubaugasse
The more other classic city bikes I try, the more I realise just how unusual this one is. It is somewhat similar to a Dutch bike, but with a shorter wheelbase, lower bottom bracket, and a shorter head tube - allowing for the handlebars to be set lower. It is unliftably heavy, but rolls very easily and accelerates well. The fork has an insane rake that would make toe overlap impossible even in size 20 workboots. The steering requires a very light touch, or else the entire front end wobbles. Jacqueline always takes me a few minutes to get used to, but after that she feels incredibly natural. The bike is not effortful to ride long distances, and last summer I took 30 mile trips along the Danube on it easily.

Jacqueline, Neubaugasse
The lighting looks ancient, but works just fine. 

Jacqueline, Neubaugasse
The rear folding baskets work perfectly for carrying my stuff. I feel like I have a system with this bike, and we understand each other. Given how heavy it is, I am not sure that it would work well for me in Boston. But it's perfect for the Vienna infrastructure. 

Jacqueline's Friends
Wolfgang has an extensive collection of old Austrian city bikes, and some of Jacqueline's friends were parked next to her when I came to pick her up. I was in a hurry, but I have my "good camera" with me here this time - so will try to take some decent pictures of Wolfgang's vintage bikes and his other projects. In addition to offering bicycle tours of Vienna, he recently started a company offering moving and delivery services via cargo bikes, and has recently opened up a cargo bike shop that carries nearly every single manufacturer of box bikes and longtails in existence. Hopefully I will be able to test ride a few.

After last summer, I did not think I'd be going to Vienna again any time soon, but I am glad to be back here. I will actually have some free time during this trip and much of it will be dedicated to bicycles. Among other things, I will get to try a bike with a Sturmey Archer duomatic drive, which should be interesting. And who knows, maybe I will even get to finally do my century, along the Danube. After all, my love of long rides began here. 

22 comments:

  1. Uoo, I like really much the metal logo W that have in the mudguard!

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  2. I hope you will be able to obtain a bike with the Sturmey Archer 2 speed. I plan to have my LBS convert my new Bianchi Pista Via Condotti to this gearing with the brake, this winter. I'll look forward to reading your review of this gear arrangement.

    Thanks!

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  3. oh yay. you being in Vienna means I get to read your posts with my morning coffee! Glad you are back there as well. I love your tale of two cities stories.

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  4. A century on Jacqueline should count double, I think.

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  5. Anon - Unless something goes awry, the duomatic test ride is definitely happening. I am surprised though that you are thinking of using it on a bike like the Pista; the coaster brake feels weird to operate with a leaned over posture.

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  6. Yay, I love Jacqueline! I came to your blog when you were in Austria and posting about riding her around the city and it's one the things that made me fall in love with your site and become a regular reader. It's nice to see her again!

    Viel Spass in Wien!

    S.

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  7. I look forward to more Austrian posts. My husband and I cycled from Vienna to Budapest along the Donauradweg in the fall of 1994 and loved the countryside.

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  8. Are you saying that you bike in size 20 work boots? Just curious.

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  9. The bad thing about reading this blog is there are so many stories of people visiting interesting and beautiful places, something I haven't been able to manage for several years. Ah well...

    Anyway, regarding two-speed hubs: I have an old Fichtel-Sachs Torpedo Duomatic (with coaster brake)on my ride-to-work bike and love it.

    I wonder if anonymous 7:45AM knows that Sturmey Archer also makes a freewheeling two-speed that may suit her better than the coaster version. It comes in 110 and 120mm widths.

    I bought one in the spring from the good people at Harris, but haven't yet laced laced it up. I'll do that this winter,

    Enjoy your holiday.

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  10. I have to agree with anon. I too have been itching to build a road bike with one of the s2c hubs. I'm going to pair it with a Sturmey drum front for weather proof braking and ultra clean lines.

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  11. I'm looking forward to reading more (and seeing more pictures) about your time in Vienna. I noticed that there is a bottle dynamo on Jacqueline. Any thoughts on how effective/reliable that type of dynamo is for commuter lighting? I know that a hub dynamo would be the best solution but the entry cost for a new wheel is pretty high.

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  12. I am looking forward to the Austrian posts too. It is great to get an insight into the bicycle culture of a European city and to read about how it is different to America and also how they set up their bikes and ride them in Austria - it seems that Europeans regard their bikes as entirely different creatures and I think we can learn from that.

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  13. "Are you saying that you bike in size 20 work boots?"

    I'm saying that one could. There is what looks like over a foot of space between my toe and the fender.

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  14. RickF - I actually prefer bottle dynamos.

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  15. Can't find this older post now. But when you first wrote about biking in Vienna I remember you didn't like the cycling tracks compared to riding on the road in Boston. Have you changed your mind?

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  16. They are a royal pain if you don't have a braze-on for them, though. It _will_ need adjustment.

    Some people think that rear wheel bottles are better in this respect. If I didn't have a braze-on, I would _possibly_ consider a rear wheel install, but more likely would get the Supernova Airstream and park next to an outlet at home.

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  17. Anon 6:32 - Oh why do you have to ask such a tough question!

    I think the post you mean is this one.

    It's complicated. In a sense, yes I've changed my mind after two additional years of cycling experience in both cities. I now prefer Vienna for transportation, no question.

    However, the Vienna system works only in conjunction with certain laws and attitudes that exist there which do not exist in Boston. Two years ago I did not understand this, and expected the Viennese drivers and cyclists to behave like Bostonian drivers and cyclists - but the thing is that they do not, and that is a big part of why the system works. I have a post coming about this once I formulate my thoughts better.

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  18. Thanks V for the link on the bottle dynamos. I should have thought to search first. The lower cost of the bottle is appealing but I also like them for nostalgic reasons. I had one as a kid on my 70s Roadmaster 3-speed. In high school I cannibalized it and used the dynamo for my science fair project which was a wind turbine for generating electricity. Keeping MDI's comments in mind I think I will look into the bottle dynamo more seriously.

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  19. This is a remedial question, but: don't you worry about your briefcase/bag popping out of the wire basket? Or do you attach it somehow?

    (yes, this is a selfish question . . . I'm trying to decide between a wire basket+normal bag or a fabric pannier. I currently have the basket covered with mesh and no bag at all, which means my macbook air flops around with nothing but a fabric case to protect it . . .so far it's fine, but it does't seem prudent!)
    -Jen

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  20. Jen - it's stuck in there pretty good and does not budge even over bumps. Having said that, I prefer a pannier.

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  21. The question is have you sung the sound of music soundtrack while riding in Vienna yet?

    Ahh I miss the Mozart Chocolate balls...

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  22. Xander - No, that's in Salzburg : )

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