Aspice Christophorum et Tutus Viam Carpe – ding ding!


I was in Salisbury yesterday, for work purposes, and had to go to Waitrose on the way home to pick up some chow for tea. As regular readers of The Highway Cycling Group will know, I like to take photos of bikes that are chained up outside shops. I struck some gold this time. I saw an old lady, dressed in a big coat and a woolly hat locking up her bike, which looked like quite a nice traditional style roadster of the sit up and beg variety. As she wondered into the store I took a closer look at her steed. It was laced with rust, the cables, once white, were discoloured, and much of the protective paint had come off the basket. In time honoured tradition of old lady’s bikes, the tatty old seat was covered in classic style with a plastic carrier bag. However, the handlebars had a beautiful shiny bell mounted on them. It was quite large, and as I moved in close, I could see it had a St Christopher on there, surrounded by the words “Aspice Christophorum et Tutus Viam Carpe” – which I guess means something like “Look at St Christopher and travel on safely“. St Christopher of course being the patron saint of travellers, but he’s also revered by athletes; mariners; ferrymen; people who carry things; archers; automobile drivers; bachelors; boatmen; bookbinders; epilepsy; floods; fruit dealers; fullers; gardeners; lorry drivers; mariners; market carriers; porters; sailors; surfers; and transportation workers.

Fabulous! A search showed that these bells, often made in Germany, come up from time to time on ebay, fetching around USD 20 or so. Nice. This one was so shiny in comparison to the rest of the bike, it looked like maybe it was a gift for the old lady. I hope it was.

Published in: on March 20, 2008 at 9:07 pm  Comments (8)  
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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Dear Sir/Madam,

    I live in Bintaro (Tanggerang) – Indonesia, I like to ride a bicycle (not the modern/brand new), and we have a community/club for those who like to ride and have an old bicycle.

    Last week I just got an “old” bicycle with the stamp (mark) “Aspice Christophorum et Tutus Viam Carpe”.

    Is there a way if I want to know the year of this bicycle made ?

    Apriciate and thanks for the response

    Muhamad Ismala
    (Mat Rois)

  2. any news regarding my comments and question above ?

    regards,

    Mat Rois

  3. Hello Mat/Muhamad

    Sorry I haven’t replied, I did mean to, then sort of drifted off. The bell in the post above is made in Germany in the 80’s, I believe, you don’t say if your bike has the Aspice Christophorum et Tutus Viam Carpe motto on the bike itself or on a component such as a bell. Does it have a headbadge on the front and a model decal on the tubes? (i.e my racing bike says Lemond on the headbadge and etape on the tube decals, by cross referencing the make and model with the colouring an components one could work out the year. Does it have gearing at all? If, as a lot of ‘classic’ older bikes do it has a Sturmey Archer rear hub, it may have a date stamped on it? Try looking under the bottom bracket to see if there are details stamped on there – sometimes there are.

    I don’t know if this is any help. If you post a picture or more details we may be able to help you more.

    Your club sounds great, do you have a blog or website?

  4. I leave in the subburb south of Jakarta call BINTARO, our club just develop, but if you want to see the website of Indonesia (Jakarta) for “old bike club” please visit “wira-wiri naek sepeda” sorry most of the information in Indonesian langguage.

    regards,

  5. How often do you yourself do Archery or do you just write about it?

    Can I ask though – how did you get this picked up and into google news?

    Very impressive that this blog is syndicated through Google and is it something that is just up to Google or you actively created?

    Obviously this is a popular blog with great data so well done on your seo success..

    Archery greats you should write about next.

  6. Hi,

    I read this when I was searching on google what the incription of my bell ment. This one is from 1987 (it has an old registration plate at the front). also there stands 2 times st christophe on the bike itself. Now I wondering if this bike is worth anything.

    regards

  7. Hi all!

    I live in germany and bought a bell like that in a bike store near my home just yesterday. It cost me about 4€.

    If you’re really interested in getting such a pretty, just mail me and we’ll figure things out. (your admin should be able to figure out my email, else write a comment here, i’ll be notified)

    Shipping is about 14€, good thing being that I could stuff in some more of these pretties and you could share shipping with the whole group.

    Best regards, Rollschuhfahrer.

    • Where are you in Germany? Or can you tell me where these bells are?


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