Improbability Drive, French Version

While I was having a chinwag with our local bike dealer yesterday evening a rather strange contraption freewheeled onto the forecourt. A young man dismounted and proceeded to ask for a 20 inch inner tube, while I asked myself how he was going to get this machine to his destination, surely no further away than a few kilometres.


The cycle dealer went to look for the tube, and it became clear in a conversation with the young man, Jean-Francois, that he had bought two carrier bicycles in Copenhagen a week ago and was taking them both back home to Paris. OK, what´s the big deal, you´ll ask. The big deal was that Jean-Francois is (yes, still, while I write) pedalling one of them and carrying the other one on the rack. It looks like this:


But this is not all. Jean Francois runs a small business selling Belgian beer in France, at festivals and similar events. He imports the beer on his other carrier bike, admittedly sometimes with the assistance of the railway. It seems to be his specialty to ride day and night, while preferring nighttime because of the absence of motorized traffic.


He thought that the Omnium carrier bike, steel framed, BTW, presents a good combination of lightweight running gear and heavy duty carrying capacity, so he got himself a couple, not at least because he takes part in a number of messenger bike races.




A well-broken in Brooks Pro which certainly didn´t come with the bike.



The frames are designed in Denmark, but made in Taiwan. They seem to be well made and thought out, and watching Jean-Francois riding along with his heavy load one can only say that it works. We rode to the next large electronics store to obtain a part for his GPS system, with the Omnium empty, and Jean-Francois remarked that it rides even better with some load on. If he says so it must be true as he knows how to ride a bike. He built his Omnium up himself in Copenhagen and raced it the next day to place highly in a Copenhagen cycle messenger race.


So after hooking up the newly bought external accumulator to his GPS system and after a light refreshment Jean-Francois disappeared into the night for the remaining 550 or so kilometres to Paris, leaving a feeling of envy at his cycling prowess. It certainly was a privilege to have met him.


There was no 28 x 451 inner tube available for miles around, by the way.



  1. Posted August 30, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Congratulations to this rider!
    We just recently rode two cargobikes from Den Helder, Holland to Leipzig Germany and our route we almost passed by Mr. Krügers Workshop on the way to the Porta Westfalica. We were riding the OMNIUM and the DOUZE Cargobikes and they were both pretty well suited for the tour. We did only 860km and were carrying rum and chocolate, brought to europe by the tres hombres, nowadays the only cargo sailing ship.

    Just a hint: there isn’t any 451 inner tubes, because 451 and the more commonly used 406 are both 20″ actually a Big Apple 406 outer diameter is similar to a 451*28mm tires outer diameter. So what’s more important in that case is to take a slim tube, since most 451 tyres are pretty slim.

    • Posted August 31, 2013 at 7:59 am | Permalink | Reply

      I know about the similarity of 20 inch inner tubes; I should have written that there were no inner tubes suitable for Jeff´s tyres to be bought where we live.

      Anyway, passing by Spenge and Porta, you only narrowly missed me. I would have loved to see you here and have a chinwag.
      Did you also ride nonstop?

      This story about the cargo sailing ship sounds intriguing; I need to check it out.

  2. Posted August 31, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    We did between 85 and 120 km per day, sometimes only actually riding the half day and meeting people on the way for tasting & and delivering a few packets of the nice tres hombres products. Check it out and maybe join us next year for an even greater rumfahren tour!

  3. jeff
    Posted September 3, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi is jeff. I post some pictures on Facebook

    Thanks for the article I don’t really made Copenhague -> Paris , I stop 200 kilometers before paris (Too many Highway, and don’t have the good tyres for the “Véloroute”). So I took the train at Maubeuge.

    I gonna try again CPH -> Paris with better equipement, like a real gps, real gloves, maybe I gonna sleep more than 1 hour per day too.

    For the statistic : I left Monday 26/08 and I was in paris 30/08 for the dinner. I rode something like 1400 km (I not good with a plan, so I was lost very often). The extra batterie for the Gps arrived a little too late.
    And I’ve made something like 280 km per day.

    • Posted September 4, 2013 at 5:44 am | Permalink | Reply

      I admire your cycling prowess, as I said before.
      When you try again, you´re welcome to call at our place.

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