Rolfe Cycles Carnegie

Imwit
Posts: 222
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:21 pm
Location: Albury

Rolfe Cycles Carnegie

Postby Imwit » Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:16 pm

Just wondering if anyone knows something about Herb Rolfe's shop in Carnegie in Melbourne?
And more particularly the bikes that came from there.

Herb's shop was where I got my first couple of bikes as a kid.

I have seen a couple of really nice ones for sale but missed out on them.

The one I do own is a Malvern Star semi racer with a nice Rolfe paint job..

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[imghttps://farm5.staticflickr.com/4239/35868273235_bd70a21ee7_z_d.jpg][/img]

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Bill Bowker has a photo of a Rolfe tandem that him and his brothers used to race in the 50s, on his website..

http://mycyclingmemories.com/resources/Bowker%20Archives%20b.pdf

and also a photo of Herb in the crowd at Carnegie saying that Herb helped found the Carnegie Amateurs club in 1924/5 ish. And a more recent shot of where the shop used to be on anther page of his site.

Trove comes up with a Herb Rolfe in the cycle business in Ballarat in the 1910s. Not sure if its the same fella.

http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/73911369?

http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/74513971?

I am wondering if anyone has a Rolfe and could put up photos?
Also if anyone knows if he did build any of the bikes himself or did the fine line work?

Cheers
tim

tedsbikes
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed May 23, 2012 3:12 pm

Re: Rolfe Cycles Carnegie

Postby tedsbikes » Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:28 am

I lived in Carnegie in my school years and later - c1946 to 1959 - and raced with the Carnegie club in the late 1950s. We lived close to the Packer Reserve track and I spent many days training and racing there.

Herb Rolfe had his shop at the southern corner of Koornang Road and Morton Avenue, near the Carnegie Station. It was more of a general bike shop, dealing mainly in utility (roadster) bike rather than racing bikes.

As far as I knew he didn't make his own frames and from the number of times I was in his shop there did not appear to be any frame making equipment. His main business would be more on the lines of straightforward repairs - replacing tyres, tubes, cables etc. I don't know who built his frames nor who painted them but it was common practice for many bike shops to use external suppliers for these services. But he did sell many bikes using the Rolfe brand name. However, there were only a few riders in the club using Rolfe bikes.

Herb was also president of the Carnegie amateur club around that time and, from club news printed in the Australian Cyclist magazine in the late 1940s he was one of many who were making a comeback to racing after the war. He was known as "Pinky" in those reports but I never heard him referred to by that name - just Mr Rolfe.

Imwit
Posts: 222
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:21 pm
Location: Albury

Re: Rolfe Cycles Carnegie

Postby Imwit » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:56 pm

Thanks Ted. I was hoping you might have something to say on this.
My memory (from the late 70s) it is that the shop wasn't very big and looked quite full with bikes and stuff hanging from the rafters so couldn't imagine where frame building might have fitted there.

john jrolfe
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:11 am

Re: Rolfe Cycles Carnegie

Postby john jrolfe » Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:33 am

Hello, my name is John Rolfe and Im the son of Herb Rolfe late of Carnegie, maybe I can help with info regarding him and the business. You can also contact me on jjrolfe@bigpond.com

Imwit
Posts: 222
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:21 pm
Location: Albury

Re: Rolfe Cycles Carnegie

Postby Imwit » Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:27 am

Gday John,

Any info on Herb, the store and the Rolfe branded bikes and associated stories would be greatly appreciated.

a couple of photos of other nice Rolfes.. (not mine :( )

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john jrolfe
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:11 am

Re: Rolfe Cycles Carnegie

Postby john jrolfe » Wed Apr 11, 2018 3:04 pm

Hi imwit, would prefer phone discussion first, I might find it easier as I don't know what info you have and if what I've got is of interest. Also unsure how to send any material via the forum.
JohnR
[Admin Says]Your phone number was removed for your privacy. People can respond and swapping contact details is best through the private messaging.[/Admin]

uart
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Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 9:15 pm
Location: Newcastle

Re: Rolfe Cycles Carnegie

Postby uart » Wed Apr 11, 2018 3:40 pm

john jrolfe wrote:Hi imwit, would prefer phone discussion first, xxxxxxxx, I might find it easier as I don't know what info you have and if what I've got is of interest. Also unsure how to send any material via the forum.
JohnR


Hi John. To send a private message to another member just click on their user name in the left hand column next to one of their posts. The name is highlighted blue to show that it is a link. From there you will see an option to contact that member via private message. It's very easy to find.

I would recommend not posting too much personal info like phone numbers in open forums. This stuff can get "harvested" by randoms and used to spam you.

Imwit
Posts: 222
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:21 pm
Location: Albury

Re: Rolfe Cycles Carnegie

Postby Imwit » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:01 pm

Had a good chat to John Rolfe today so I will get down some of the relevant information while I remember it.
I reckon here is as good a place as any to record it for posterity.
Hopefully John will be along sooner or later to correct me where I get it wrong and maybe Ted or someone else can fill in a gap or two.

The Rolfe family have a pretty long history in bikes.
Herb's grandfather Jack Rolfe won 4 six day events in 1881-82. He then went into the bike building and selling business.
Meanwhile his brother Bert was in Kalgoorlie where he raced successfully and also went into the bike business.
Next in the line was Jack's son, also Herb Rolfe. He was in business building and selling bikes in Ballarat before WWI and afterwards in Bendigo until moving to Melbourne about 1920.
First moved to Essendon, then to Rosstown Rd Carnegie in 1922 and finally to Koornang Rd in about 1930.
I'm not sure about when Herb junior took over the business.

John reckons they were building their own frames and doing the enamelling up until about the early 50's.
After that he is not sure where the frames came from but that an old fella from Glen Iris did a fantastic job of the pin striping and fine line work. It would be great to find out his name if anyone has any ideas?

Herb closed the business in 1981 so 50 years in the same spot was a pretty good run for a bike shop.

nemo57
Posts: 68
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2016 1:39 pm

Re: Rolfe Cycles Carnegie

Postby nemo57 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:58 am

Ken Dickie for the line work? He's in his early to mid-80s now, so probably working from mid 50s-early 60s onward. But before he took up the brushes I've no idea.

Imwit
Posts: 222
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:21 pm
Location: Albury

Re: Rolfe Cycles Carnegie

Postby Imwit » Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:12 pm

Could be. Was he in Glen Iris? I guessed he was more northern suburbs.

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