The ladies at the RSL Auxiliary want to put up a display to show how the girls at HQ and particularly signals units in Brisbane delivered messages and military documents around town on bicycles. Army nurses also used bikes to get around to clinics etc. They want to own the bike not a loaner
They used ladies bikes where available but mostly the standard men's bike. Photos below are possible types. Some had back-pedal brakes and others had rod actuation rim brakes. I am sure a standard 28 inch of the period (with those fatter tyres) would probably suit but they are keen on a genuine Army bike. I am happy to buy it for them and do it up if required - once it is green I am sure a correct period civilian bike would convince them.
I will pick up anywhere in SE Queensland.
This is an Australian Army Malvern Star
These are American Army bikes.
This is probably the most common, a BSA
The American actually made dedicated women's Army Bikes
The BSA (and other makes) folding bicycle was produced in large numbers and there are many in Australia. These would be a winner. Note these have modern cable-type brakes.
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The suspension line was about 20 feet long and when the parachute opened the trooper would drop the bike to hang far down. It would hit the ground first and hopefully any light breeze would have carried him clear of the bike by the time he hit. All paratroops use this long line now for the huge packs they carry these days.
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Deceased estate produced a completely rust free 1943 Malvern Star for $20. Not only that but it is a ladies bike. I am now the world expert on serial numbers (or at least there are a flock of people like train spotters out there who know everything about Malvern Stars).
Apparently Malvern Star built around 20,000 bikes during the war. About half went to the military including around 1,000 ladies bikes. This bike is too good to repaint so is being left as-is with its green paint. It must have been the last of the bikes to use British parts mainly from BSA and they became fully Australian construction due to supply problems.
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And the winner is, Lang. Great find and better price. In the top photo it looks purple and bottom you can make out the green. The rims look as if they are slightly rounded on the lip area as hand operated brakes and the blocks were not around then, I think so they appear to be original as well.
Cheers Cobba & Cobbarette
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The heavy army bikes (same frame but beefed up) had the back-pedal brake and the rod style lift up front brake that came up on the flat of the rim beside the spokes. I think like the pommy Raleigh's and most Indian bikes still use this system.
I suppose we have had lawn mowers and sheep shearing machines so a bit of irrelevancy on bikes might be OK.
I found one of those Gumtree junk sellers nearby and he has about 200 bikes. Mostly modern of course but I picked up two correct mudguards, two correct good condition hand grips and the proper Malvern Star rear carry rack. Steve, I will go back to him to get a chain guard once I Google the proper period style.
Just trying to find a set of rubber pedals as the rubber blocks have disappeared. Plenty on Ebay. I originally thought that rubber pedals would be out by 1943 but the Malvern Star forums tell me they went on to synthetic rubber and that is why they all have crumbled away just leaving the rods.
For those so obsessed, they say buy a set of $20 Ebay ones and rebuild the original pedals with the rubbers. The fact that the new ones are absolutely identical to the originals apart from having easily removed reflectors don't suit the concourse blokes (but maybe me).
Here is how I was able to date it.
The 3 stands for 1943, starting at 0 for 1940. The M stands for Melbourne factory. The serial numbers match the Malvern Star forum numbers. The lower frame is BSA as is the back pedal brake and front sprocket (and probably other stuff). Malvern Star like most Australian manufacturers, such as Hartley and Speedwell, were assemblers more than a manufacturer right from 1903. Supply problems during WW2 forced the Australian companies to manufacture nearly everything here and their late war and post war production only used limited overseas stuff such as bearings and brake parts..
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Just picked up three of them for $4 each from BigW. They have REPCO stickers on them but once removed fit perfectly with the exact correct 16 inch length.
It is a ladies bike which will have Mammoth's suggested chain guard so no clips needed. I don't think the army bikes had lights. I can remember back when I was a kid those tyre generators would make it feel like pushing up hill on the flat.
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