Re: War bikes (Re: [CR]period of ownership)

(Example: Racing:Wayne Stetina)

In-Reply-To: <2486974.1031694740556.JavaMail.monkeylad@mac.com>
References: <2486974.1031694740556.JavaMail.monkeylad@mac.com>
To: Brandon Ives <monkeylad@mac.com>, The Maaslands <TheMaaslands@comcast.net>
From: "Sheldon Brown" <CaptBike@sheldonbrown.com>
Subject: Re: War bikes (Re: [CR]period of ownership)
Cc: Classic Rendezvous <Classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Wed, 11 Sep 2002 00:37:43 -0400

Brandon Ives quoted:
>
> >it even has the remnants of the wartime white painted rear
>mudguard (under curfew
>>regulations all bikes needed to have the mudguard painted white for safety).

and remarked:
>That's odd since all the war bikes I've seen, and I own two, are ALL
>black. All the chrome is blacked out and reflectors removed. This
>was so the bikes can be ridden during blackout. Both of my bikes
>are Ralieghs, but I've also seen this with Italian bikes too. I
>have seen a few with just the back 4" of the fenders painted white,
>but that's all and they looked hand painted. I have a small fetish
>for these all black war bikes. Does anyone have more info on these
>bikes?
>enjoy,

The white patch on the rear mudguard was, indeed mandated by law as a safety feature, but I don't believe it had anything to do with blackouts, but just with a general concern for bike safety. This law was in effect long after the war was over, and may still be in effect for all I know.

The black parts on wartime bikes do not, I believe have anything to do with blackouts either, but have to do with the shortage of chromium, which was a critical stragegic material not available for civilian use during the war.

Chromium mainly came by sea from Africa (mostly, I believe from Rhodesia (modern Zimbabwe)) through U-boat infested waters. It is used as an alloying agent (chrome-moly, for instance) and was too precious to use for decorative plating.

Sheldon "I Remember This Well, 'Cause I Was Born In 1944" Brown Newtonville, Massachusetts +-------------------------------------------------------+ | Military conscription is the worst form of slavery. | | A more enlightened age will consider it a War crime. | +-------------------------------------------------------+
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