Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Paris bikes 2

My wife and I just returned from our trip, so here are the rest of my Paris bike pics as well as the few pics I shot at Alex Singer. Enjoy.
Emma with a midget's bike. She looks huge at 5'4" next to that thing.
We went to the Musee des Artes et Metiers as well. It's basically a french museum of technology from the 19th and 20th centuries. I was hoping to see some bikes there and I got my wish near the end of the displays. I didn't take notes and the placards were in french, so I'm not sure what these are, but always fascinating to see these old things so that you can recognize the "new" technology when Shimano reproduces some ancient idea.

We saw this Motobecane locked outside of Pere la Chaise cemetery. At first glance it is nothing special, but we stopped for a coffee and I kept staring at it from the window and noticing the details. I thought it was a killer porteur.

Mega fender, but the most impressive detail is the reinforcement from the chainstay to the seat stay. I'm supposing that it's for the coaster brake.
Close up of the Radios headlight, fender cutout for the generator lamp, and Mafac cantilever brakes.

A better shot of the rack.

As I mentioned in the last post, I saw a beautiful Jo Routens locked on the street. It was crusty, had goofy bars, and looked abandoned so I almost overlooked it. But closer inspection revealed it to be a true randonneur bike.

The craftsmanship shows through the crust here with the wrap around seat stay tips, pump peg, long point lugs, and almost totally dissolved reynolds 531 sticker.
Vertical dropouts help ID this as a randonner bike as it is intended to be used with fenders.

Mafac racers that have been mounted with studs brazed on the the frame.

Same detail on the front for the brakes. The bike also has what is probably a custom front bag rack that mounts to braze-ons on the fork

Also as I promised my few pics from the visit to Alex Singer. Here's the shop from the street. I believe they have been at the same place since the 30's or 40's which in my opinion makes it one of the most special shops in the world. The place is just heavy with history.

A custom rack on a touring model in the showroom.

The showroom was full of ridiculous eye candy but thankfully Emma speaks some french and she asked the young french guy working the shop if we could take a peek in the back. I had already seen enough in the front to leave satisfied, but the back was the real treat. Bikes and parts covered the ceiling and walls. Many were Singers but there were also other old french bikes. They even had two Rene Hereses.

Another small room in the back was where the magic happens. Although Ernest Csuska died this summer, bikes and frames are still being made. They even use ancient tools to make these old world bikes. There was a rack in progress on the big alignment table and this stem in progress in the vise. I wish now that I had taken more pics in the shop, but I was too absorbed in the moment and I didn't want to freak out our generous host. All in all it was an amazing place.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Paris street bikes

I've been in Paris visiting my new French family for the past week. As a bike junkie, I have been scanning the streets to see what kind of sweet bikes French people ride. As France is one of the places most involved with the development of multigeared modern bikes, you'd think the place would be brimming with sweet bikes, but mostly people seem to be riding some real clunkers with a preference for the mixte. I have however seen a few bikes of note, and found a couple of early MTBs.
This thing is a MBK (I think). Nothing too special, but I've never seen these Cantis before:

You guessed it, French biopace:

I couldn't resist this Vitus 979 Mixte, like I said they love those Mixtes. The frame was unbranded, so it is possible it was actually a ALAN, but to the best of my knowledge they are the same bike.
An early 80's Norco. Lots of low end components but still has bullmoose bars and a Biplane fork crown.

Also, not a MTB, but a rad chainring on a Motobecan.

Some random early 80's lugged mtb.

I've been shooting pics on two cameras and one of those I forgot to bring the cord for. So eventually when I'm back in the Etats Unis I will post some pics of my amazing trip to Cycles Alex Singer, and an incredible Jo Routens randonner bike I saw crusted out locked on the street.