Notes : Daniel Ridings

November 29, 2009

Holdsworth Mistral, on the road again

Filed under: Bicycles,PAW 2009,Pentax *ist DL,Photography — at 6:52 pm

About 27 years ago I ordered a bicycle frame from Holdsworth, a touring frame called Mistral. At that time you couldn’t get a decent touring bike in Sweden. The frame I ordered was made of the same quality steel (Reynolds 531 double-butted) as the competition bikes, but the geometry was different. It was made to absorb the bumps.

I’ve ridden it for years. I installed an Ideale model 45 saddle on it way back when. It’s leather. You couldn’t get Brooks here at the time. I’ve sat on this one for 27 years. You could say it fits my butt pretty well.

Ideale model 45 after 27 years.

This year I decided to try to rejuvenate the bike. Believe me. That was not easy. Bicycles have always been close to anarchy when it comes to “standards” (the nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them), but add to that confusion 27 years of companies that disappear (Holdsworth, Sun Tour (for all practical purposes), Ideale, Mafac (a _real_ problem for me) and you end up with a puzzle that at times lookes like some of the pieces are missing, for good.

Finding a threaded free-wheel is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Well, ok, I thought. As much as I hate to, I’ll retire my Campagnolo Record hubs (threaded for free-wheels) and build up new wheels with integrated free-wheels.

Not so easy … The frame was built for, I think, 125 mm axels in the back. Actually, I think it was less. The frame is made of steel and I had been shoving in 130 mm hubs for years. Probably shouldn’t try that with an aluminum frame.

You can get 130mm hubs, but … they are intended to be used on racers. They tend to have fewer spokes than a now aging biker would like to see in his wheels.

No problem. Hubs intended for MTB bikes are easy to find with 36 spokes. … But … they’re made for 135 mm axles. I’m prepared to cold set the steel frame for a slightly wider spacing, but I’d be stretching it for over 10mm. Long story. Solved it.

The real problem is that the frame was designed for the British market, read: 27″ x 1 1/4. Even back in those days 700c was taking over the market. No problem, I thought. The brakes will just have to reach longer.

Now this is a touring bike, with spaces for fenders, so the brakes have to reach pretty far anyway. Put in smaller wheels and you’re starting to hit the limits. Back in those days I could pick up a pair of good center-pull Mafac brakes with exactly the reach I needed.

Mafac 2000 long-reach center-pull brakes

But … see that cable that straddles the brake arms? The cable that they one leading from the brake levers pulls up? If it breaks, I’m out of business. Mafac is out of business and it is well nigh impossible to 1) find a replacement straddle cable and 2) to find long reach brakes that will fit. The well-being of the whole bike rests on that little cable.

Bottom-brackets have changed, they’re now sealed and better than anything I could get back in the early 80’ies.

I’ll not go into the Cinelli stem and bars (Cinelli had a standard all to themselves … and they no longer make anything for that standard anymore. No one else ever did).


I got it up to snuff and took it out for a 50km spin today. The wind was against me and the temperature was just above freezing (but it _was_ above freezing at least) but the sun was shining.

First to Särö Västerskog, always to the sea …

Särö Västerskog looking east

The wind has been blowing very, very strongly for a couple of weeks now. All kinds of debris has been washed up on the shore:

Holdsworth Mistral at Särö Västerskog

Then around to the other side of the bay (cove ?), to Vallda Sandö. This is the road leading to Sandö (Sand Island):

Road leading to Vallda Sandö

Same road, but looking back east:

Looking east from the road leading to Vallda Sandö

My break at Vallda Sandö:

Rest stop at Vallda Sandö

With the saffron rolls (buns ?) (lussekatter) that Ewa baked right before I left. They’re traditional at Christmas and today is the first day of Advent.

Saffron rolls (lussekatter)

Never could figure out which direction the wind was blowing. I travelled 360 degrees, and it was never in my back.

November 19, 2009

Waiting … on Oxford Street

Filed under: 28mm Pentax,PAW 2009,Pentax *ist DL,Photography — at 3:09 pm

Walking down Oxford Street in London at this time of the year, maybe anytime of the year, is not the easiest thing to do. To even consider going into one of the stores is beyond me. The thought does not even dawn on you as you dodge first this, then that, then fail and get rammed. With any luck you can find a couple of square inches of safe territory … and wait.

Waiting on Oxford Street

November 3, 2009

Afternoon walk in Trondheim

Filed under: 28mm Pentax,PAW 2009,Pentax *ist DL,Photography — at 10:54 am

The days are getting shorter in the north. Walking back to the hotel in the afternoon, I saw the light …

I saw the light

I’ve gotten tired of cameras … equipment-wise, not imaging. So I’ve decided to use my daughter’s rejected Pentax digital (*ist DL). It’s simple, small, can use a fixed focal-length lens from the film days (a small, 28mm) and it has manual settings.

August 6, 2009

A cold morning, not so long ago

Filed under: Nikon D300,PAW 2009,Photography — at 9:00 am

I had an early meeting in Copenhagen a while back and spent the night at a budget hotel. Leaving for my meeting in the morning:

Copenhagen on a cold morning

July 30, 2009

Between Sweden and Denmark

Filed under: Nikon D300,PAW 2009,Photography — at 9:47 am

Up until now, I’ve crossed between Sweden and Denmark by ferry between Helsingborg and Helsingør instead of the bridge between Malmö and København. I say up until now, because I won’t be doing so in the future. The ferry companies have raised the fare just too much. It used to be worth a little extra when compared to the bridge, but now the difference is just too much.

I’ll miss it.

Ferry between Sweden and Denmark

March 23, 2009

Malawi: Feb. 2009

Filed under: Malawi,PAW 2009,Photography — at 12:01 pm

There’s a family I’ve been involved with for a couple of years now in Malawi. The father, Philip, died a few months ago. If you dig around on my blog or ask me, I can point to some background information.

This year the priority is food. It always is in Malawi. The price of fertilizer has gone up almost 3 times from last year and cost around 90 USD a bag. That is a total insult to the masses of farmers out in the country who rarely see cash. The majority has never seen 90 USD at one time. It takes about 8 bags to cover a field large enough to supply a family with food.

You can see the difference. The corn (maize) on the left is a field that belongs to the family I am helping. The corn to the right, to someone else in the hamlet who couldn’t afford fertilizer:

With and without fertilizer

Dorte said one thing to me in English: “blankets”. And this is when she said it:


The cold season is coming and sleeping on the earth can be very, very cold.

There’s some more pictures here:

Feb. 2009

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