J. Lefol: Inventeur – Constructeur

As with other French component makers from cycling’s golden era that remain popular today – Ideale, JOS, Maxi-Car and Stronglight, to name a few – surprisingly little is known about the Lefol marque given the timeless familiarity of the company’s fenders. Maybe aluminum just rusts slower than steel, with oxidation resistance preserving Lefol’s legacy more…

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…

Idéale Saddles: Behind the Leather Curtain

Idéale saddles are among the least understood classic bicycle components given their standout prominence and frequent exorbitant value. The dizzying array of models produced under the Idéale marque continues vexing even the most ardent collectors, who seem to enjoy the punishment received when combining obscurity of fact with broad product offerings and potential stratospheric price…

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…

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…

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…

Gitane: The Dark-Eyed Wanderer

“Gitane” is an unutterably lovely word if you speak French, both in sound and meaning. It is pronounced “zhee-TAHNN” and represents the more romantic of the French words for “gypsy.” There could not be a more evocative or euphonious name for a bicycle in all the history of pedal powered transport.