This week we will take a look at a heavy duty carrier bicycle restored by the proprietor of Long Life Bicycles (長寿自転車商会）located in Komae City, Tokyo.
These iron mules were the backbone for transporting goods locally in the late 40's through the 50's.
Let's start at the front and work our way towards the rear examining some of the features of this bicycle.
The bicycle boasts a fine example of the typical type of fender ornaments found on bicycles just before or after 1950. It also has an original BE (Beaded Edge) Dunlop tire. Note the black enamel spokes which were popular back then.
Here is a close up of the fender ornament.
The initials TMS stand for Tomishika, the brand.
The spoke bell and hand painted pin stripping are also indicative of bicycles from this period.
Here is something that I have never seen before. Check out the brake pads. They are obviously much larger than those used on utility cycles from the same period. These iron mules were much heavier than utility cycles and were often pulling loaded trailers more commonly referred to in Japan as "rear cars". Thus the need for larger brake pads.
What is also interesting to note is how the pads are attached. There is no stopper for the brake pad. The show would appear to slip out of its groove the moment the brakes were applied. Instead of the normal stopper, there is a bolt which runs through the pad itself.
The fender stays are much larger in diamerter and heavier than those found on utility cycles.
The pin stripping on old bicycles is amazing. A close look reveals that they were indeed hand painted. You have to love bicycles like this that were crafted.
Fork guard mechanism.
Check out the head lug. One piece.
The paint is over half a century old, but still retains its luster.
The deep ruby red head badge is cloisonne.
Here we see the trigger mechanism for the spoke bell.
The chome on the handlebars is again, over half a century old, but like the paint it still shines.
Note that the handlebars employ two different size diameters, a larger diameter in the T-section and smaller diameter out toward the bar ends.
The propietor has added a sign advertising his shop Long Life Bicycles (Choju Jitensha=長寿自転車商会）。 The shop name certainly fits in with this bicycle.
The leather saddle is surprisingly well maintained and note the serious suspension on this one.
Under the saddle and connected to the seat tube is a trailer (rear car) hitch.
Seat tube also has a badge, very characteristic of bicycles from 1940s and 50s.
The wheel base on these heavy duty carrier bicycles is l-o-n-g.
Over 130cm from the rear axle to front axle.
Note the relaxed frame and all the the space between the seat tube and rear fender.
The bottom bracket is cottered, another telltale sign that this bicycle is at least 60 years or older.
That is one large rear rack.
The heavy duty carrier cycles had large tires, a normal utility bicycle would have a 1 3/8 inch rear tire, but heavy duty carrier cycles sported two inch rear tires or larger.
This particular one has the original 2 inch 4 ply Dunlop tire.
The rear fender stay is about as durable as they come.
Since these bicycles normally pulled trailers, the rear heavy duty fender stay was probably to protect it from close calls with the trailer.
The rear racks for utility cycles attach to the rear hub, but for this heavy duty carrier cycle the rear rack attaches to the frame itself.
The rear stand has an exclusive hook built-in for the spring.
These iron mules took a real beating on a daily basis. It is rare to find one in such good condition. For fans desiring a close look, visit Choju Jitensha (Long Life Bicycle Shop).
Higashi Izumi 1 Chome 5-13
Komae City, Tokyo