The Fernleigh trackster

Photo credit: a new recylist

Photo credit: a new recylist

This bike was an eye catcher yesterday at The Vintage Tweed Ride, partly because its name referenced locally famous Fernleigh Track, and partly because of its unusual and understated colour scheme, as well as the distinctive and well-executed font used as you can see above.

photo-69A group of us were admiring it before the start of the ride and I thought it had been handmade due to the welding, but it turned out that this was not the case. One person pointed out that the handgrips were made from dumbbell ends. These just added to the quirky style of the bike …

A poor detail from the photo above which partly shows the dumbbell ridges

A poor detail from the photo above which partly shows the dumbbell ridges

I talked to its owner during the ride and it turns out that the frame was a cheap one from a K-Mart type bike and that the dumbbell handgrips just turned out to luckily fit into the bar ends, creating a unique set of grips. The addition of a leather saddle, conversion to a single speed and new wheels changed the whole look of the bike, along with the paint removal and the green details in what looked to be a type of plastic. I did not get the chance to ask more questions but this bike was a very interesting specimen and uniquely Newcastle. It also shows what can be done with a cheap bike. If its owner is reading, I’d be interested to read more about it in the comments.photo-70

Disclaimer: there were SO MANY interesting bikes  at the Tweed Ride that I would have loved to write about in more detail but I found that I was distracted with so much happening, it was difficult to focus and to take detailed pictures of the varied and interesting bikes there. The whole day tends to be overwhelming and it is only afterwards that I find myself wishing I’d taken better photos and had more chance to talk to people in meaningful conversation instead of running to the next thing that needed my attention.

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2 Responses to The Fernleigh trackster

  1. gareth brearley says:

    Hello there – so i’ve been told that there is a blog out there and my bike is on it, so here we are and I’m happy to tell you some more… the idea was to learn about stripping down a bike and re-building it, and I had a tired old cheapie I didn’t mind practicing on. With the aid of YouTube and some tools I didn’t previously know about, I did most of it over the last christmas break. Apart from the paint job, the main idea was also to simplify it by going to a fixed gear and to get a bit more of an upright riding position. I got a riser stem from Daniel at Bikecology (?) but had no idea what to do about the handlebars… until a eureka-moment when I saw that the weight set a neighbour put on council chuckout looked like it might be the right diameter – a bit of angle-grinding and drilling for a connecting rod, and it was perfect. It’s top-heavy though, so not very practical. I had to go back to Dan to get some brakes to fit, but hey it was 2 dollars well spent! Back to the paint job – similar design to the original bike except it used to be red/silver, the new green colour just happened to be an on-sale spray can at Supercheap auto, and I liked the natural aluminium of the rest of it once I sanded it down. One lesson learnt… once you buy primer, paint, clear coat – spraying a frame can get quite expensive for what’s basically a “beater”. I wanted to give it a name, and as its primary purpose is a sunday morning ride from Charlestown to the Fernleigh Cafe just off the track at Kotara, it was easy to choose. As i’m a graphic designer, doing the typography and artwork for the badge was an enjoyable extra task… and how it was done was using a laser cutter that the TAFE has, into a type of waterproof plastic paper, then sprayed to match the frame. Cost me $20 to do that, a bargain. It took a bit of a hit recently, which is why it looks a bit knocked-about in the photo. Wheels are original, cleaned up; the Brooks saddle rescued from a wreck. The biggest lesson out of this project… when you go to single speed using the existing cogs… make sure the chain alignment is good. My first go, I tried for a faster ratio and the thing locked up coming down the Hillsborough Road at Warners Bay. There was blood. Anyway, I’ve just picked up another beater off the side of the road and am starting to do another renovation/conversion/personalisation, and this time I know a bit more about how to do it. Now I know about this blog, I’ll share it when it’s done…

    Thanks for your interest!
    Gareth B

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks for finding my blog Gareth and for this information, it’s a great story! Like you have found, I also found that once you change one thing on a bike, everything changes, and it’s a learning curve. I look forward to hearing about your next project. The stripped back aluminium does look awesome too!

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