Velobrico Workshop: 2007 Giant TCR Composite (custom)

Not really much work to do on this, but I finally bought my first full carbon road bike!

Just picked it up today and have a few minor tweaks to make but nothing major.

A couple of photos from the ad. (PS. Nope it doesn’t have a double saddle, I just got to choose, and went for the narrower Selle Italia one, though the black saddle looks arguably better.)

There’s a lot to like here.

Giant T700 full carbon composite frame in matt clearcoat finish

Campagnolo Record carbon 10 speed shifters

Campagnolo Chorus other groupset bits

Campagnolo Scirocco G3 rims

All pretty clean and tidy, no bumps, no cracks.

The TCR (Total Compact Road) is a true icon and changed road bike geometry after the 150 year reign of the diamond frame. I’m very keen to ride it.

Almost all new bikes have compact geometry, which lowers the centre of mass, stiffens the frame, and makes a given frame size easier to fit for different body shapes through other adjustments. Fewer different frame sizes (e.g. S/M/L etc.) meant lower production costs and allowed more investment into innovation. This, combined with carbon fibre technology now hitting its stride, makes for a very promising bike indeed. I’m excited to get to know it better.

I must confess, the look of the bike was a big draw for me. I’m a big fan of naked frames, and love seeing the raw material one is made of. The Lemond Chambery is a great example, and the clear coated aluminium and carbon fibre is one of the reasons I like it so much.

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Yangon, Myanmar – a morning wander

In the full light of day, I’m glad to say Yangon seems even more similar than I remember it from 12 years ago. Lots of traditions remain and daily life hums along. 

Here’s some snaps to give you a flavour of the city. It’s not like any other south east asian capital. 

And there’s a few bicycle rickshaws thrown for good measure!



This pickled tea leaf salad was great!

India does love the bicycle 

I almost bought this Hurricane indian made  gents town bicycle, with rod pull brakes, but… I just don’t have the space and common sense got the better of me.

Still, I did get some “Cycle” brand matches and sandalwood incense sticks recently in Mumbai. They smell so strong!

Not sure of the connection to bicycles though… 😂

Bangkok, Thailand – full of surprises 

Yesterday I was in Bangkok. Like Mumbai, not a city you might think ideal for cycling, but I was surprised to see it heading in that direction. 


A bicycle can be your shop as well as a means to commute. 

My recollection of Bangkok was more like this. 


Than this


Great to see cycle lanes, and in use too!

I was surprised to see they have an urban bike share system. Great stuff. I wonder how popular it is. 


I walked and walked all day and found myself in Lumpini park, where hundreds of people were jogging in the early evening. 

Then I came across a Bubble Pirate. “What’s one of those??”. The Bubble Pirate turns out to be a man by the name of Sandy with an interesting story and a penchant for spreading joy. Read more here

He traveled to Bangkok from Singapore, where I also once lived, over 3 months, enchanting families with bubbles along the way. 

Just before sunset in the evening light, the colours in the bubbles were so vibrant. 

Sandy’s journey will continue, so who knows where you might find him next. 

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I also spotted a beautiful vintage Thai-made Rama (the name of the Chakri kings of Thailand) bicycle at the Chatuchak weekend market (not for sale). I would guess this dates from the 30-40s. Beautiful condition and apparently complete and original. 

That’s a lot of surprises for one day. Bangkok never fails to amaze. 

Velobrico Workshop: 1997 Colnago Tecnos Soft Paint

After looking for a number of years, an opportunity presented itself and… I just bought my first Italian bike!

Here’s the photos from the advert, looking mostly complete and in sound condition.

The Tecnos is a steel framed road bike, made by Colnago in the second half of the 1990s and I understand to be the lightest steel frame they ever built. The tubing is made by Columbus, with a special alloy, made only for this bike.

I presume this was one of the last frames to be made in Italy before work was outsourced to the far east. The frame is painted in Colnago’s Art Decor style, a somewhat psychedelic, vivid paint scheme, done entirely by hand. It’s really something special. According to the 1997 Colnago catalogue the paint scheme is called AD10-SP10.

On getting it home, for once I managed to contain my excitement and took some close-up photos before I did anything to it, though I was itching to get to work!

Non-original saddle.

The bell really adds to the look, as well as the reflective tape on the head tube…

A little cable housing rub on the head tube, pretty common on used bikes.

Damaged chrome on one fork leg, not good.

Rims are sound and true, no cracks.

Really nice lug work despite a little light rust.

Lovely brakes.

The other fork leg is fine.

Some pretty spectacular paintwork. You either love it or you hate it!

The paint was a surprise. I expected it to be glossy, but it’s actually a matt, soft, slightly tacky finish. Quite unusual and I have never seen this before.

Chain rings are good, no shark teeth here.

Quick release put in the wrong way round for my liking.


Cleats that don’t work with my cycling shoes.

I spent the rest of the day washing it, removing stickers, the bell, the saddle bag, the lock, and various bits of sticky tape.


…and servicing the gritty and grimy rear derailleur, cleaning the chain, adjusting the saddle, brakes, installing some new Michelin Classic tires and switching out the pedals to Ultegra SPDs for a test ride.


Some blue grease, to go with the blue frame 😁.

As there’s still some more to do, I’ll keep the photos for another day, but I took it for a shakedown ride on Sunday and it greatly exceeded expectations.

My overwhelming first impression was how smooth it is. Very little road vibration, smooth shifting, everything is tight. At speed it just flies with very little effort. Gearing ratios are little odd, and didn’t give us much range as I would’ve expected for a triple chainring, though climbing was no problem.

Steering is very precise, without being twitchy and nervous. I had never ridden Campagnolo before, so the shifting took a little getting used to, but it has a good, positive, clicky feel.

It’s amazing how well this 18 year old bike rides, a real cracker.

https://www.strava.com/activities/1074740028/shareable_images/map_based?hl=en-US&v=1499594298

Watch this space for updates and photos of the finished project!

Oh yeah

Finally the wait is over. I bought my first Italian bike. 

And what a bike! 

Can’t wait to pick it up…

Velobrico Workshop: 1930s Wonder tandem (update 1)

While trying to find some info on the Wonder tandem, (it’s easier to research on the net in winter than brave a cold workshop), I came across this great forum, all in French, related to this manufacturer from St Etienne.

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Some fantastic advertising posters.

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A few pictures of tandems, but Ravat models, not Wonder. This one looks pretty similar to mine. Similar derailleur, “gents” saddle at the front, wider “ladies” saddle at the back, same tool pouch, mudguards, but it has a split down tube and the top tube carries through to the rear seat tube.

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From the look of these pedals, mine aren’t original.

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I imagine myself pretty much as the chap in the photo below, casually pointing out a route on a map to his female companion.

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I was curious why the chain goes all the way from the front chain ring to the freewheel on my tandem. Typically I have seen one shorter chain between chain rings, and another between the rear ring and the freewheel.

The advert above says that this is how Ravat tandems were deliberately designed, along with a short rear wheelbase and thin lateral tubes, which “improves stability, rigidity and performance”. That’s a bit of a vague claim, and I don’t see how the chain length would help with that, but when I ride it I guess I’ll decide for myself!

Once I start on the restoration in earnest, I’ll be sure to reach out to the forum members. Looks like the only place to go!