A French Song

In August 2003 my family and I were on holidays in St Valéry en Caux (76), France. I can still remember vividly that on the way from the baker´s I saw a chromed bike being ridden by a young man. I hailed him, he stopped, and I nearly fell over backwards when I saw what the bike was. The young man had been given the bike by his Paris landlady, and I´m not sure that he knew what he had. He woudn´t sell it, he said, because it had been a gift.

I was able to take some photographs of the bike because the rider was friendly enough to accompany me to our flat. I think that judging from the state of the bike (headlamp, knurled screw on rear lamp, fraying brake cable) I witnessed te first stage of dilapidation and sincerely hope the bike made it and didn´t end up as a hack in Paris. I photographed the frame number; perhaps this is a lead as to who owns it today or what happened to it.

This must have been one of the best Singer Randonneuses in existence; the only item missing was the headlamp. The use of the Nivex rear derailleur and the Stronglight 34 together with the Singer made brakes and front rack and the Singer modified hubs put it firmly in the top range of bicycles. The lug tips are the thinnest you will find anywhere.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted August 4, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    That is simply amazing – both story and bike!

    • Posted August 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Well, it is. Although I have received a caveat re the bike: Alexander March wrote on the Classicrendezvous mailing list that he thought that the bike had been modernized as the original Singer front derailleur had been replaced by a more modern, cable operated one, and that the bike had been replated in the process. Sounds very likely.
      Still, a marvel.

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