The little paper cyclist

Ever heard of Bulat Okudzava? Singer-songwriter of the Breznev era who lived in Moscow? If you haven´t you should find out about him; he was great. One of his songs was about a paper toy soldier who died heroically when he tried to save someone from a fire. It´s anyone´s guess who a modestly dissident Soviet songwriter meant when he wrote the lyrics, but in the case of my little paper cyclist there´s no question about anything besides selling a long forgotten bicycle gearing system, and no political intention at all.

Some ten years ago I found this sweet little pub item in a French antiques shop when on holidays in Normandy. The weird thing is that there is a little copper rivet linking the neck to the jersey, and the littler paper cyclist can move his head, from a very relaxed stance to an aggressive, scorcher one.

OK, there´s still the somewhat artificial smile, but never mind. The words mean “the champion´s dream”.

This is the reverse side:

Here´s the translation: Look at… the “2 Velectrik”, the derailleur without cable and the new super powerful brake. Infos: Cycles “B.G.A.”, and the St. Etienne address. Free price list, it says, and consult our agents. St. Etienne was France´s centre of bicycle production in the thirties when this little item was made.

I have been sent some photos of a Velectrik equipped bicycle by Claude Boelens from Belgium (see comment). I really like the very elaborate paintwork restoration. Look at the multicoloured actuating lever knob – a lot of work.



  1. Posted August 9, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hello , I have a 1936 racing BGA velectrik , I don’t really know how to send you the pictures,if you send me an email to i will send the pictures of my bike to you


    • Posted August 10, 2012 at 5:32 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Claude,
      I just sent you my e-mail – thank you for offering the photos. I hope to insert them in the post soon. People have asked, so that will be a nice addition.

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