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Here we are, with the gravel bike racer, which could also be a light racing motorbike from early in the 20th century. It has a mix of parts from the last 40 years, and could also be quickly folded and fitted in the back of my car. Practicality, style, purpose - it has all of these, and all at low weight, size and cost.

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So here is my final pictures, and I just need a little help in selecting the final one.

1) This is against one of my neighbours sheds, just opposite my workshop. It is a great place to gather light and heat in the morning.
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2) The same place, but you can see the shape of the handlebars better.
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3) This is one on the road. The only road through my village, and it runs out of tarmac in less than a mile. Zenit has been ridden many times up and down this road, but never before like this.
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4) We actually get a few services here, mostly in the spring, when the priest comes around in his car. It was quite today.
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5) Our house used to look a bit like this, and that pale blue is the original outer surface of the house. It was probably rewrapeed in the golden exterior in the 1960s. My bike is rather like that.
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6) An Autosan trailer. They made a coach that was used all over the country as a local bus - it was grindingly slow but had a stylish stork emblem.
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7) This is what traditional Polish houses look like underneath the later exteriors. A fine location for my bike.
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8) Remember the first picture of the bike outside the garage, after it had received its first changes? Well, we have had this extension since built on the back of the cottage, so it is as close as I could get.
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I have enjoyed riding it, it has been a great experiment where I could explore different ways of looking at my own bikes.
 
5 would be my pick. Your bike pops against the backdrop, and the backdrop itself is pretty interesting. You did a great job on your bike! As soon as I finish posting my Finish Build thread, I'm going to check out your build thread and everyone else's build thread I missed out on for the past 4 months.
 
5 would be my pick. Your bike pops against the backdrop, and the backdrop itself is pretty interesting. You did a great job on your bike! As soon as I finish posting my Finish Build thread, I'm going to check out your build thread and everyone else's build thread I missed out on for the past 4 months.

Now I look at it, it kind of reminds me of the Wizard of Oz - farmhouse that has landed, old lady's bike.... ;)

Eek!

But yes, a good choice!
 
Here is my bike before:
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...and after:
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Other than the tank, I have chopped the frame where the forks mount, replaced the forks, front brakes, handlebars, seat mount, seat, seat tube, cranks, derailleur, gears, cables, mudguards, side stand and aluminium front wheel rim. And the frame has been cleaned up and clear painted. I now have a whole selection of Zenit parts, so I am on the lookout for one that needs restoring ;)

It has been great fun, and I managed to spread the whole task over the summer months so that I did not have a sudden rush at the end of the session.
 
On the subject of those wheels, since I failed to really mention them in the text, the aluminium rim on the front came on as the original back wheel of another Polish bike, a Best, which I bought on the internet and which arrived one day, well over-wrapped, outside our top-floor apartment while we were out. The bike was a nail, but with some cleaning up I have managed to use most the parts and the frame for many things. The front wheel was a replacement, steel, and probably off some old Romet. The Best was used as the frame for my winter build, and supplied the fork for this build.

The rear wheel has a very deep and sloped rim that I have seen on some Romets, but I have no idea where they came from and match none of my other Romet rims. It might just be something you could buy as a cheap replacement rim, as it has quite a bad twist just where they welded it. Well, it has depth, making it ideal for off-road riding around here, which means most of my riding.

The tires were also on my winter build - my parts get shared around a lot, which is really a significant part of my bike building, as I prefer to use all my parts on one bike or another, depending on the season, until they wear out or find their final use. For example, the mudguards were off the Romet Turing I rebuilt last year, and have probably found their final destination here.
 
I always enjoy following your builds and this one especially. I honestly wasn't sold on the big pvc tank to start with, but then you worked some mojo magic with the heating, bending, and filler and it came out beautiful and sexy!
BRAVO!
 
. . . I managed to spread the whole task over the summer months so that I did not have a sudden rush at the end of the session.
I knew I would be rushing at the end. There’s always more things to do than time to do them.

I will continue to build bikes here, and in fact I am working on two in the boat yard, and two more in the shed. I am just scraping paint and making decisions mostly, but I do have the Centurion bike nearly assembled. Some grips and a little work on the shifter set up will make it rideable if not beautiful.

But I think I will avoid entering future contests. I am too irritated by schedules and dates and deadlines. They interfere with the pure joy of the experiment.
 
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I always enjoy following your builds and this one especially. I honestly wasn't sold on the big pvc tank to start with, but then you worked some mojo magic with the heating, bending, and filler and it came out beautiful and sexy!
BRAVO!
Thanks, I am really glad that you liked the result :)

This is why I often use just black to paint everything that I add to a bike, except for one blob of colour, here the frame. It means that everything becomes part of the same thing - so the tank and the front forks both become equal additions, both have had equal thought and effort in their addition, whether by me or another designer.
 
I knew I would be rushing at the end. There’s always more things to do than time to do them.

I will continue to build bikes here, and in fact I am working on two in the boat yard, and two more in the shed. I am just scraping paint and making decisions mostly, but I do have the Centurion bike nearly assembled. Some grips and a little work on the shifter set up will make it rideable if not beautiful.

But I think I will avoid entering future contests. I am too irritated by schedules and dates and deadlines. They interfere with the pure joy of the experiment.

I too had that feeling, as there are always external things that could get in the way. So I decided to have a number of escape routes by having sets of parts I could slap on to finish a bike - you can see the cream painted wheels hanging on the wall on many of my shots, which I used last winter to finish off my build when I was not well. It took about a day to slap together the rest of bike using such parts. I plan to actually continue last winter's build this winter.

The bikes I finish here are not their final form - I change them later to be more practical, or strip them down completely. My winter build frame no longer has a fork as it is now on my current build, which will have the seat, tank and handlebars all changed to get it back on the road.
 
This bike came great GP! I really like the final style. The build on that custom tank was fun to follow along with and really added a cool element to the bike as well as giving it that distinctive styling. And I really like seeing bikes from other regions that I've never come across before. Great work!!
 
This bike came great GP! I really like the final style. The build on that custom tank was fun to follow along with and really added a cool element to the bike as well as giving it that distinctive styling. And I really like seeing bikes from other regions that I've never come across before. Great work!!

Thanks, it was an interesting build, and I am very pleased with the result, even though the bike is a little small for me to ride comfortably :)
 
I too had that feeling, as there are always external things that could get in the way. So I decided to have a number of escape routes….The bikes I finish here are not their final form - I change them later to be more practical, or strip them down completely…,
I won’t be stripping my project bike. I am riding mine every day and I still am working on it silly hours.

I probably spent 6 hours today shaping filing and sanding on one little part for a tail lamp. I spent another three hours working on a spring for the shifter.

It sounds grueling, but actually all this work saves me from a life of idle debauchery. That, plus all the time spent posting here.
:cool2:

My lovely wife would tell you that all this bicycle building is just idle debauchery.

She could be right.
 
Ha ha, I think that maybe she is right!

Once I would have kept mine and ridden it, but at the end of the day since I was once a development engineer (until 25 years ago), and I already have enough bikes to ride around, it really becomes more like an attempt to enjoy my skills, learn new things, and then take it apart again to do something new with it all. Since I have already repaired my neighbours bikes, and the fact that most of them only see a bike as an old fashioned tool or kids toy, then no one here will miss them much... ;)

Anyway, the seat has to go back on its original bike, as that is heading to the city the next time we go.
 

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