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The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles

November 6, 2009

I’ve wanted this book for quite sometime and finally decided it was worth buying. I’m a real sucker for coffee table books with great photos and this did not disappoint. Jan Heine is responsible for Vintage Bicycle Quarterly which is an incredible publication so knowing he put this book together I already had an idea of what it was going to be like.GA2coverLR

It begins with a brief history of cycle touring in France at the turn of the century and why this style of riding differs from racing which at that point was still primarily done on the track. It goes through a few bikes that paved the way for multi geared machines that would now allow people to climb mountains and traverse longer distances. Then when some started making these multi geared machines lighter and more appealing to racers who might want to begin competing in long distance road races and move away from the track. It includes photos of the Rene Herse that won Paris-Brest-Paris in 1966 setting a new record and again winning Rene Herse the “Challenge des Constructeurs” for the five best placed riders for the fifth time. There is a lot of history in this book and it’s incredible to see how well these bikes have held up over time. It’s funny now that the latest trend is going back to these early styles of bikes and noticing that the things you thought some new framebuilder had come up with is just an homage to the classics.

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