Jo Routens: Randonneur de l’Excellence

Joseph “Jo” Routens was one of the greatest makers of randonneur, cyclotouring and cyclosportif bicycles in all of cycling history. The only other name regularly considered alongside his more aged contemporaries, Rene Herse and Alex Singer, Routens was distinct from these seminal influences in his unwavering commitment to the everyday cyclist. Initially through his partnership with…

Cycles Alex Singer: Ageless Grace

“Alex Singer” sounds like a name you might more associate with the fumbling lead character in a classic Woody Allen movie than with what many consider the most revered bicycle builder and outfitter ever. Yet this tiny shop, first opened by its namesake founder some 80 years ago in Paris, France — which still occupies the…

Carlton Cycles: Foundation for Greatness

Carlton Cycles is one of the most deserving bicycle companies to be better known than it is. While revered by its cliquish followers and well-known among enthusiasts of fine road bikes, a mention of Carlton to any member of the general public — even the lad or lassie tooling along the bike path on an aluminum…

The Mystique of Masi: From Vigorelli to Volumetrica

Since the dawn of competitive bicycle racing, Italian frame builders have produced some of the world’s most painstakingly crafted and sought after machines. Of all the Italian brands desired by bicycle aficionados, vintage Masis turn up high or even highest on the list.

Cycles Automoto: Setting the Standard

Cycles Automoto History Cycles Automoto was a pioneering French manufacturer of bicycles and motorcycles founded at the turn of the 20th century. Well regarded for thoughtful design and meticulous construction, Automoto grew in popularity until merging with the Peugeot group in the early 1960s. Nicer Automoto bicycles — of which there certainly are some — are…

Bridgestone: Beyond the Dream

The first Bridgestone I encountered was in 1994, the last year the company sold bicycles in the USA, when I bought an RB-T after a long search for a good touring bike that could be used for commuting — and which I could afford at the time. Since then I have ridden exclusively Bridgestone bicycles…

Terrot: Forging the Way

From its 1887 beginnings as a modest textile workshop built by Charles Terrot in rural Dijon, France, the Terrot enterprise grew to become a resoundingly popular manufacturer of bicycles and motorcycles over the next three-quarters century. Terrot successfully combined ground breaking product, aggressive marketing and regularity on the podium to rise above a crowded field…

Alvin Drysdale: Mid-Century Mystery

Some people pass through life leaving little trace of themselves, though their work may be significant. In Judaism, there is the legend of the lamed vov, the thirty-six good souls whose mere existence is enough to justify to God the continuation of the world. These are simple persons who are compassionate in the Buddhist sense,…

Rivendell: Against the Wind

In the Beginning Rivendell Bicycle Works has existed barely ten years — and beginning even before its founding — has managed to engender almost continuous controversy, as well as outpourings of both unadulterated love and scorn. In 2006 it comprises merely ten people, plus a contract framebuilder and a painter for custom bikes, and a…

Caminade: The Circle of Cycle

Hearing it might shock the average rider of your swoopy, parrot-painted Italiano-alluminio wonderbike, but many such bikes are actually way, way old skool. In fact they’re so old skool they still spell it “olde school.” Aluminum frames? Octagonal tubes? Coupled bikes that disassemble with a few twists of a wrench for easy traveling? How about…