Vintage Bikes from Simpler Times

Old English Racers

Old English Racers

About a week and a half ago my shooting friend Debra Rozin and I took a little trip to the Simpler Times Vintage Bicycle Gallery on Cleveland’s west side.  Externally the old storefront and larger warehouse behind would not draw your attention, but inside was a treasure trove of hundreds of old bicycles and bike parts in various conditions. Some were relatively new and others were over 100 years old.  For me, I was instantly transported back to my childhood, seeing old 3 speed bikes that we referred to as “English Racers” with their Sturmey Archer gear shift levers and smaller heavy balloon tired bikes that looked just like my first bike.  My secondhand “English Racer” was made in America, but some of these were actually made in Great Britain.

The Cleveland made Road Master

The Cleveland made Road Master

A couple of the most pristine old bikes were Road Masters, made in Cleveland by the Cleveland Welding Company.  These were big balloon tired bikes with hand brakes unlike most balloon tired bikes I’d ever seen.

I’ll definitely make a trip back some day soon.  I saw some accessories there that I’d like to add to my own bike.  Owner Jef Janis, his uncle and another assistant could not have been more welcoming and interesting to talk to.  Jef is a great photographer and artist in his own right and really appreciated our interest and efforts to capture unique photos of his treasures.   If you are in to bikes and bicycling pay a visit to Simpler Times, you won’t be sorry!

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About Kolman Rosenberg

My interest in photography began as a college newspaper and yearbook photographer during the stormy 1960s and 1970s. I was influenced by many of the great photojournalists and documentary photographers such as W. Eugene Smith, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, Margaret Bourke-White and other black and white photographers of Life Magazine and the earlier Farm Security Administration. Though many of these photographers documented the horrors of war and the plight of poverty, they also showed me the dignity and adaptability of human beings in their desire to prevail.
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