I wasn't really happy with the sharp angles the more I looked at it, so I took it off and reshaped the whole brake handle, then spent the night polishing it back to chrome. the next challenge will be installing the spring.
I was trying to mimic the bicycle ridden by Gustave Garrigou, the second place winner of the 1909 tour de france. You can barely see the piston brake in the small photo of him but it is there.
On a side note these bikes had to be extremely tough, no paved roads, and the dangers of being blown off the road in extreme weather or being kicked by a horse were always present. Not to mention the distance these riders had to go was insane on an old steel bicycle. To put things in perspective, The 1903 Tour de France was run in stages like today. Compared to modern stage races, the stages were extraordinarily long, with an average distance of over 400 km (250 mi), compared to the 171 km (106 mi) average stage length in the 2004 Tour de France. These bikes (like the riders) had to be tough.
I have my mind set on a bag and a few tools to carry with me on this bike. If you were racing in the early Tour De France a being self-sufficient was a must! Competitors were actually forbidden to have help or assistance from others at any time during the entire race. The rules used to state that “A rider was responsible for his own repairs and outside assistance was prohibited”. If you’re in the mood for an interesting story read up on Eugène Christophe’s experience during the 1913 tour de France where his front forks broke during the race and after a 10 kilometer walk with his bike, he had to weld the broken forks back together himself at a nearby blacksmith (at night). They had to be mechanics as well as athletes.