Ernest and Hans Ohrt


According to the March 28th, 1910 edition of the San Francisco Call, in 1910 Ernest Ohrt was
"the president of the San Francisco aero club, an organization of boys interested in solving the problem of aerial navigation".
He and his brother Hans built a biplane glider and Ernest successfully flew it in Alameda.
According to an article in the May 1910 edition of Aeronautics, Ernest held the club "record for height, towed flight and gliding".
Hans and Ernest Ohrt were bicycle racing brothers.
According to this article in The Bicycling World and Motorcycle Review, September 22, 1914, Ernest became a professional in 1914:

The N. C. A. has ground its axe, and
at the termination of the present racing
season a number of prominent amateurs
will have their heads lopped off and in
the future years will be known as pro-
fessionals what they have been in fact
all the time, but they masqueraded as
amateurs. Among those who will enter
their proper class will be Harry Kaiser,
the American champion; Donald Mac-
Dougall, the old champion; Ernest Ohrt
and Willie Hanley, the San Francisco
riders;

This is a photo from a race in 1920 at Parc des Princes, Paris.
The cyclist on the left is Peyrode, Hans Ohrt is in the middle and Ernest Ohrt is on the right.

In this photo which was also taken in 1920 at Parc des Princes, Paris, Ernest is in the middle between Louet and Pierre Sergent

In 1924, Ernest was the coach of the US Olympic Cycling Team
While in Paris, Ernest contracted with Jean Thomann a French bicycle frame builder to supply bikes for the U.S. team
According to a May 19, 1934 article in the San Jose News titled "Ernest Ohrt To Run Bike Races At World Fair".
Ernest was "in charge of the world's fair cycling exhibit" in Chicago.
Ernest was mentioned in
The Bicycle Comes Back by John E. Lodge in the July 1936 issue of Popular Science.
Last year, Ernest Ohrt, former racing star, now a representative of the League of American Wheelmen,
promoted races in twenty cities, seeking talent for the team which will go to the Olympic Games in Berlin,
Germany. He uncovered a number of topnotch riders.
After being coach, Ernest opened a bicycle shop in San Francisco.
I found this 1924 passport photo of Ernest, Florence (Potter), and daughter Constance Irene OHRT, on the website www.findagrave.com
Ernest opened his bicycle store, Cycles Ohrt in 1937 on Stanyan St. in San Francisco.
The November 3rd edition of Billboard magazine wrote that
"Ernest Ohrt, well known to oldtimers as a wardrobe salesman is making bicycling popular in San Francisco,
and a picture of his two eldest daughters adorns the cover of an attractive advertising brochure put out by the City of San Francisco".
Ernest died on August 4th, 1973

This is a bike that he sold in his store with his badge.

I think that it was made in France, at first I thought that it may have been built by Bertin, but after the review of some experts,
I think that it may have been built before WWII. Bertin did not start to build bikes until after the war. Most Bertins were built with Vitus or Durifort tubing.
It is built with Oscar Egg Lugs and Reynolds 531 tubing.




It has Bowden Sport Touriste Brakes and Levers.




I found an ad from 1950 that shows a similar AVA stem like the one that came with my Ohrt.
The one in the ad shows a stem with a handlebar clamp,
while my stem has the handlebar bonded in the stem with no clamp bolt.
My stem's quil diameter is 22 mm whcich is the French size.

The photo below shows the headset which came on the Ohrt

The photos below show the frame after I removed the bottom bracket and head set and did an intitial cleaning.
















The photo below shows the French threaded bottom bracket.
I think that the spindle was changed when the cranks were changed.
It may be that the new crankset with tho chain rings required a longer spindle, or maybe it was just worn out.
It may be that the bike originally only had one chain ring.

I have located 5 more Ohrt bicycles. One of them was found on Dave Ogden's flickr page
by a fellow enthusiast on the French forum Velo Retro Course.
Here is a close up of its Cyclo derailleur.

This type of Cyclo derailleur with the big "C" cut out first appeared in the 1948 Cyclo catalog.
There is a catalog page from 1951 that shows the Cyclo derailleur on Disraeli Gears.
I was able to get a Cyclo derailleur, shifter and cable on Ebay.
I still need the long derailleur tension spirng and a clamp to anchor the spring on the chainstay near the bottom bracket.
Here are some of the comments that I have received on the bike:
Well! Looking at that bike details, is is so neat to see the extra touches that apparently were the norm in that era...
Look at the lugs and that lovely fork crown. I hope you can save it Chris!
Dale

We need to establish an annual award titled "The Bikesmeller Pursuivant" for these instances.
So I propose this as the 2014 nominee for the obscure gems.
Joe

That is a very interesting bike. Looking at the parts I would guess it might be pre WWII. As for who built it, I would not hazard a guess.
Best of luck with your restoration. Please let me know how you get on.
Cheers,
William

William sells vintage French bicycles and parts on Ebay under the name reparagevelo

I looked at the photos you posted and I regret to say, I am unsure if your bike is a Bertin.
It is obviously early post-WW II perhaps late 40s or early 1950s. Unfortunately, my earliest catalogue is mid to late 50s.
The bike in your photos appears to be made with Reynolds 531 whereas early Bertins were often made from Vitus Rubis or Durifort.
Are the 531 decals in French? Are there numbers stamped on the dropouts?
Jim

Jim runs a website called Bertin Classic Cycles

It's a lovely bike that you just got yourself!
The Oscar Egg lugs that you refer to appeared somewhere in the mid-30s and continued into the late 40s/early 50s.
Norris

I have not heard of Ohrt before but the frame featured in the link that you sent has some nice detailing!
The derailleur hanger that you ask about was very typical of the period from the 1930s to the1950s and most derailleur manufacturers
of the time would have made models to fit it. It was probably more commonly associated with touring gears than with racing gears.
Typical brands would be Simplex, Huret and, perhaps most typically, Cyclo (of France or of England), although there were also many others.
Thanks again,
Mike

Mike is the webmaster of Disraeli Gears

Here is a list of interesting links which relate to Bowden brakes.

Grace's Guide Bowden Brakes
Wikipedia Bowden Cable
OldBike.eu Bowden Brakes

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