The Dawes Kingpin was introduced in 1965 as a folding and non folding model and preceded the introduction of the Raleigh Twenty by 4 years and most would agree that it is a superior design as it is built on a much lighter tube set and was handbuilt by skilled craftsmen.

This bicycle came to me in the saddest of ways as it was given to me by the family of my friend Ian, who passed away suddenly at at a very young age… he said I had inspired him to build up a small wheeled bicycle that he could use for touring and we had plans to do just that with me riding my P20 “Forrest”.

It hung in my shop for several years as I did not know what to do with it until a young lady came to my shop with her mother and test rode my daughter’s Raleigh 20 and they were enamoured. I told her that the Dawes was an even better bicycle and that we could build it up for her.

One of the quirks the Dawes has is that it was fitted with an obscure wheel and tyre that is impossible to source on this side of the pond so we decided to build it up on a set of 24 inch wheels with an AWC hub which is a three speed with a coaster brake.

This required that the frame be widened in the rear to allow for better tyre clearance and the seat and chainstay bridges had to be moved for what was a taller tyre and new fork had to be built as well.

I seem to have misfiled my shots of the frame after I started cutting and brazing… but the after shots look so much better.

The rear section had the kickstand plate removed, stays were widened (pressed) and new bridges were brazed in with threaded bosses for the fenders… the colour we chose is called Allusion Violet and this work was done by our partners at Cyclone Coatings.

The front section…

Putting it all together… the tyres are Specialized 1.5 cross, the stem and handlebar came from a Raleigh 20, and the front brake is a Weinmann centre pull.

You just have to have wingnuts…

I had a set of Wald chrome fenders which are fine in themselves but the mounts left much to be desired, I changed those to a modern style mount to allow for more precise adjustment and fit.

The headbadge…

Another teaser… that colour really is amazing.

And as they say… the full Monty.

I think Ian would have been pleased and the bicycle’s new owner just turned 11… one would expect that she will be able to ride this bicycle into adulthood and beyond and the look on her face when we rolled it out of the shop was simply priceless.

I partner with Dynamic Composites, a local company that has been designing and building all manner of carbon fibre components for well over 20 years and they are a part of mountain biking history in that they developed components for Rocky Mountain Bicycle and Race Face, just to name a few.

When a carbon fibre frame needs repairing I only have to take a short walk and talk to Al who founded and operates the company and when he opens up his tickle trunk he pulls out things like this… if you watched the video this very bike checks in at the 10 minute mark.

The Race Face SL100 composite crank… stronger and lighter than the forged version and I roll a production version on my Rocky Mountain Blizzard and should be getting another for my daughter. :)

Earlier this spring I fitted a new 7 speed rear wheel and a Shimano 600 road double to my little buddy Forrest and would have run an 8 speed if the old Suntour Barcon shifters and SRAM derailleur could have managed that… it was a case of incompatibility between the nearly 40 year old shifters and the modern rear derailleur. The SRAM X5 will shift an 8 speed and the Suntours can also shift an 8 speed but not when they are put together.

I started pondering doing a 9 speed conversion and with the arrival of some Shimano 9 speed indexed bar ends I decided to go over to the dark side.

I gathered up a new SRAM PG970 cassette and cleaned up an XT derailleur I had picked up from the gear swap for $5.00 and the conversion went flawlessly.

The SRAM 9 speed has some nicely spaced steps from 11-34 which will give me a lower climbing / towing gear…

The Shimano 9 speed bar ends and XT shift flawlessly and Forrest was overdue for some new bar tape… Fizik Microtek if you are wondering.

I think we can handle the dark side… :)

… I build bicycles.

After staying up until 5am on Saturday night I got up early and went and scratched an itch I have had for some time… maybe I was missing the Pugsley with it’s rigid frame and fat tyres and winter has been over for a while so the fixed winter bike and it’s fatties are stored until the snow flies.

I had picked up this Diamondback Apex frame that nobody wanted quite a few months back and it had been collecting dust and last evening I picked up a bunch of bits at the co-op so that I could turn that frame into a bicycle and settled on the rigid, fat tyred, six speed set up you see up there.

It was ready to roll before lunchtime rolled around and I also installed a new suspension fork on my Blizzard.

The Apex is a very nice frame made of True Temper TT tubing and is very light and with some moderately nice parts it built up to weighing a few hairs less than 25 pounds; the wheels are ancient RM 25′s laced to a Shimano UG hub and a Suzue high flange up front, the crank is a Race Face with a 34 tooth single and bash guard, brakes are Avid and Shimano (with Kool Stops), levers are Deore, and the shifting of the 13-26 six speed is handled by the Deore thumbie and a short cage XT derailleur.

On my way back to the co-op this afternoon I rode through Millcreek ravine on the gravel paths to test the handling and tyres and could not have been more pleased and the bike is actually pretty civilized on the street too.

Aside from finding a slow leak in the front tyre (the tubes were used) the riding was without incident and even the slow leak did not cause me any issues as there is a lot of volume in those 2.2 / 2.3 inch wide tyres.

The ride and handling of this bike is exceptional and on par with any Kona or Rocky Mountain from that era… it will keep the Blizzard and the Moulden company as it’s a keeper… at least until I build up the Kona Explosif I have waiting and then we will see.


The one by six was nice but yesterday I looked around this shop full of parts and grabbed a set of XT 8 speed wheels, an XT long cage, and an XT trigger to change the bike from the one by six to a one by eight which expands the range to give it a stump pulling low and a little more top end.

The Araya RM20 rims match up really well with the frame and makes most of the parts period correct XT, the shifting and performance could not be much better.

I do have some XTR 8 speed parts but am saving those for another build.

Yesterday I spent an enjoyable afternoon talking with my friend about my experiences on a bicycle as part of her master’s thesis on human ecology…

When I was a wee little fiend my first ride was my tricycle and I remember how my friends and I would terrorize the neighbourhood on them, dreaming of the day we could move up to riding on two wheels.

When that time came I inherited my older brother’s CCM Mustang which was too big for me and he took it upon himself to teach me how to ride, this was accomplished by putting me on the bike, pushing me down a grassy hill, and laughing every time I fell off.

After the umpteenth time of rolling down the hill and getting a mouthful of dirt and some more grass stains on my clothes I made it to the bottom and just kept pedaling and have been pedalling ever since.

We did not have a lot of money and I don’t recall having as many toys as kids do today but my bicycle was my most cherished possession as with that I could be anything and go anywhere in my small hometown… it was my transmogrifier.

On Monday my bicycle may have become my horse as I rode the range and fought with cowboys when playing cowboys and indians was not so politically incorrect… I was always the Indian.

On Tuesday my bicycle might have been transformed into a motorcyle with the addition of some clothes pins and a few of my brother’s hockey cards… revenge is a dish served cold.

The next day I might have been flying in my spaceship… I grew up when the cowboys were being replaced with science fiction heroes as Star Trek was in it’s first run.

We took our bicycles off road, built trails through the bush, and destroyed more than a few by taking bigger and bigger jumps like Evel Knievel.

So here I am heading toward 48 and am still pedalling, have been riding more of late, and have been finding that seven year old I think lives inside all of us that thinks cycling is the best thing in the entire world.

Because it is.

Just watch out for little old ladies in Dodge Diplomats.

If you were not downtown last Saturday you may have not realized that broken bicycles and international communism were being fought at the Bikeology Festival… June is Bike Month in Edmonton and the one day festival is a great part of a much wider month long celebration of everything bikey.

And wherever bicycles are broken or menaced by international communism, Bicycle Repair Man is ready…

A few more events have been added to the schedule:

Friday June 20th, 7:00 pm – Folding bike ride starting at Winston Churchill Square, at the fountains. Bring your folder and plan to go for a pootle and mebbe a few pints (or beverage of your choice).

Friday June 27th, 7:30 pm – Classic show and shine to be followed by a leisurely ride and again, we will be meeting at the Churchill Square fountains.

The complete Bikeology schedule can be found at bikeology.ca


Dr. David Hon spent seven years developing his first folding bicycle and he and his brother Henry founded Dahon in 1982… by 1984 Dahon folding bicycles were being produced in Taiwan from what were some of the most advanced production facilities in Asia.

2012 marked their 30th anniversary as a company and Dahon is one of the largest manufacturers of folding bicycles in the world and they come in all sizes, and they also have produced bicycles for REI in the United States and MEC in Canada under those company’s brand names.

Optimus Prime (a series 5) arrived on Saturday as a father’s day gift to myself and is a 1988 model which does not differ greatly from the earliest Dahon and compared to a bicycle like a Brompton, still stands up rather well in the folding department.

Having sold my last folder to a little old lady I was missing a bicycle that I could carry easily in the boot of the car or toss in the back of the truck… I like having a spare in case of vehicle troubles and often travel in a multi-modal fashion and will park and ride.

As far as ride quality goes it meets the claims in the advertisement… there is no surprise as to why Dahon has been such a successful company.

June is Bike Month in Edmonton which means there are a lot more mobile events to attend (as a volunteer) and I have my mobile shop all set up to go, the Burley trailer is ideal and the tool case fits like it was custom designed.

Forrest has always been an excellent little mule as there is no lack of low gearing and the low center of gravity also makes towing a moderately heavy trailer an uneventful experience.

Besides volunteering for The Edmonton Bicycle Commuters I also offer mobile services, if your company or organization has need of a roving bicycle mechanic, or your situation warrants a house call, just drop us a line at rbfcycle@telus.net to arrange an appointment.

We can also provide a pick up service at a reasonable cost to cover time / travel expenses.


The old girl and I got out the other day and I thought a picture update was in order; I had re-laced the front wheel quite some time ago and after a long search had found a Soubitez lens to replace the one that was missing which took quite a few years since these are not a common piece.

She is a 1957 Peugeot PLX8 Grande and would have sat toward the upper end of the line of touring / randonneuring bicycles that Peugeot offered and as such, suspect that production numbers were lower and after 57 years there are not many of these left. I have only come across one other that was in really battered condition that had most of the original parts missing.

That Soubitez headlamp is run from a bottle dynamo at the rear and works like 1950′s lighting technology with a 3 watt incandescent bulb that throws a warm light that will help you be seen, but is not much for seeing where you are going.

The rear light is a little brighter but does have a little crack in the lense so I need to keep an eye on that and of course, look for a replacement.

A friend and I swapped saddles the other day with him taking a Brooks Professional for his British made Ron Cooper and I received a French made Ideale Model 92 Diagonale which is a very comfortable saddle although it is not the original Model 3, which is another hard to find saddle.

Her derailleurs are the most interesting parts with the rear being a Simplex JUY 543 and the front is a Simplex Competitition rod shifter that uses no cable or lever.

The JUY543 is one of the holy grails for collectors, it shifts like it is indexed and uses a helicoil and a push rod instead of the conventional springs seen in modern derailleurs. It is a work of mechanical genius which Lucien JUY was.

The Competition is as simple as can be with a simple rod that is used to move the cage to and fro but it works very well and has a certain elegance.

Edith is not a daily driver and has seen very few miles since I saved her from the dumpster some seven or eight years ago but it is always a joy to take her out on weekend rides and do a little time travelling.

She is more than capable of covering 60 to 100 km in a day (and probably more) and the ride quality is exceptional while she is also a rather quick bicycle that climbs and descends well, her only limitation is her gearing range which is middling and best suited for moderately paced adventures.

Of course, I like moderately paced adventures and we have many of those ahead of us.




I have been thinking about getting another vehicle for quite some time; this growing business needed a light truck to haul heavier shop materials and handle mobile events, this family likes to travel, and these fiends also loves to go camping, fishing, and mountain biking in places a car might not take you.

And we live in the far frozen north.

When it comes to winter driving in Canuckistan few things can do it any better than a Jeep and the Cherokee was and still is one of the nicest utilitarian vehicles ever made… we happened upon this one (locally) and after some haggling it is now our second vehicle. We will keep the Nissan Sentra because it gets mileage that is almost good as it’s modern counterparts, is paid for, and because old folks like us (with clean driving records) don’t have to pay much extra insurance for the second vehicle.

We named him “Woody”.


Woody is a 1991 Cherokee Briarwood (with every available option) and has been beautifully maintained, we paid $22,000 less than the original M.S.R.P. and I have bicycles that are worth more than this truck.

The thing about our vehicles is that they tend to collect a lot of dust as we tend to ride a great deal more in the nicer months and also ride through the winter so our vehicles don’t see a lot of mileage.

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