The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles – en Français!

GAHB_FR_cover

Our first and best-selling book The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles is now available in a French edition. Published by Editions Vigot and printed by a quality printer in France, the new book turned out beautiful.

I am excited that the story of the constructeurs and their amazing bicycles is now available in its home country. As France re-discovers cycling, I hope the book has a similar influence as it has had in North America, where a new generation of young builders is crafting wonderful machines which are inspired by mid-century French craftsmen like René Herse, Alex Singer, Jo Routens, Camille Daudon, Paul Charrel and the many others featured in this book.

GAHB_FR_retro

The book starts with some of the earliest cyclotouring bikes and their amazing gear changing mechanisms. Above is a Retro-Directe. There are two freewheels mounted side-by-side on the rear hub. The outer one works normally, when you pedal forward. The inner one is activated by pedaling backwards. See how pedaling backwards pulls on the lower chain run that goes over the larger freewheel?

This top-of-the-line Hirondelle has a front derailleur, too, so you get four speeds. I was able to ride this bike during our photo shoot – it rides very nicely, but my legs aren’t used to putting out power while pedaling backwards!

GAHB_FR_ageclass

The bikes that we love today were developed during the classic age: 650B wheels with wide, supple tires; low-trail geometries; lightweight frames to offer a spirited ride… These bikes were perfected on the road, and that is one reason why they are so much fun to ride.

GAHB_FR_herseport

Even the porteur bikes of the newspaper couriers were designed for performance. Not only were the couriers paid for each run – the more newspapers they delivered to the newsstands, the more they earned – but they also had an annual race, where they fought for the title of the “Roi des Roule-Toujours” (King of the Always-Riding).

GAHB_FR_singcamp

The constructeurs built many types of bikes. I am especially fascinated by their “camping” bikes: touring bikes designed to be ridden with a full camping load. There is so much to them – this 1985 Alex Singer has no fewer than five racks – and yet it’s all designed as a coherent whole to offer a wonderful ride.

The French edition is available through bookstores in France. We also have a few copies available in the Bicycle Quarterly bookstore. (Select the English version, and during checkout, you get a choice of language.)

After nine years and over 16,000 copies sold, the English edition of The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles is currently out of print. It will become available again next year. In the mean time, we have a few copies left – if you want it as a holiday gift, order your copy soon.

About Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

I love cycling and bicycles, especially those that take us off the beaten path. I edit Bicycle Quarterly magazine, and occasionally write for other publications. Bicycle Quarterly's sister company, Compass Bicycles Ltd., turns the results of our research into high-quality bicycle components for real-world riders.
This entry was posted in books. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles – en Français!

  1. JPI says:

    Super nouvelle !

    La traduction est-elle la même que celle qui était fournie avec l’édition originale ?

    A+

    JP

    • La traduction a été entièrement revisé, et le contenu a été mis au point en regard des dernières recherches qu’on a fait.

      The translation is completely reworked, and the contents has been brought up to date in light of our latest research.

  2. Paul Glassen says:

    I love the photo of the motorcyclist crouching down to encourage the tandem riders on the pages, “1940-1959 L’age classique”. Already an avid pedal cyclist, I started motorcycling toward the end of that period. I remember both the motorcyclist’s “pudding basin” helmet and full coverage weather suit. Are the photos and layout just about the same in both the French and English language editions?

  3. alexmwilkins says:

    Excellent to see a quality localisation into another language. Are you considering translating it into any other languages? Perhaps Italian given the huge history of cycling there?

Comments are closed.