Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Soviet Bike in Riga

I'm sorry for the sparsity of my posts. Being "on the road" leaves less time that I would like for writing about bikes! And, I must say, generally bikes have not been among the more interesting things I've seen on this trip.

I did learn, on further travelling in Poland, than what I saw on the seaside and in small Gorzów isn't by any means typical of the country. In Wrocław—a university town—I saw lots of interesting city bikes, comparable to the sorts of bikes students ride in Toronto. I also spotted the fellow to the right riding an interesting bike outside of Warsaw. I didn't see any road bikes, however, until I arrived in Lviv (Lwów to Poles) in Ukraine. (I also saw an interesting, old French-looking mobylette in the window of an antiques shop.)

Budapest, where I am now, has a lot more bikes, and a lot more road bikes. But they are for the most part like bikes in Toronto—lots of steel road frames and fixed-gears. Nice, but not very different from what I'm used to.

The most interesting bike I've seen on my trip is the Soviet bike photographed here, which I saw in Riga. The brand name transliterates from the Cyrillic as "Start-Shossyeh," which I would investigate if my meagre internet connection allowed it. The most interesting detail of this bike for me is of course the Soviet Mafac-copy brakes. A close zoom reveals the brand name "XB3" ("Kh-V-Z"), which also appears on the headbadge of the bike (perhaps "Start-Shossyeh" is the model?). This bike is worth a look, in any case, and can be found in the newly created "Bicycles of Central and Eastern Europe" set I've created on my brand-new Flickr site. (Numerous other photos, including a set of cats, can also be found there!)

I was very lucky to be lent a cool 1990s Peugeot bike by my friend David this week, which I still haven't ridden very much. But if the weather is nice tomorrow, I'll head out for a ride to the Buda Hills and post a report here.

1 comment:

OAP said...

Your flickr pictures are really nice! Looking forward for more :)