The "constructeur" concept is facinating. I'm beginning to feel that bikes of this type are actually the "ultimate" bicycle. Sure, the track bike is still my favorite and the purest form of the simple bicycle; but a ground up cycle for a special purpose with no restrictions allows creative and skillful craftsmen to build strong and light frames for a lifetime of service. I'm really anxious to spend time on mine but duty calls for a while. I may share some of the highlights of my design at the Velo Rendezvous with those who attend the framebuilding seminar on Friday in Pasadena.
I just recieved a complimentary copy of Vintage Bicycle Quarterly myself. I'm sending my greenbacks right away. I can't read, but the pictures and drawings are fantastic! Keep them comming, Jan. The event known as Technical Trials is something I'd never heard of before. I'm not surprised something like that never took hold here, but the conditions in France were obviously ideal for these unique rides. I can't quite justify a frame with that much work in it only being good for two races; but hey, that's the sport. The beauty of the whole concept is that it generated what we now know as the ultimate vintage touring and camping bicycles. I think it will be SUPER interesting to see what can be accomplished along these lines with modern technology. I feel the need for speed when I ride, so my attention for myself will be directed towards a machine that will perform at high adverage and top speeds. The instant strip-down feature is also of primary importance to me because I personally expect to ride it more often as a "sport" bike. Simplicity and strength/lightness will be ( and already have been) the cornerstones for the designs. No wonder I have ants in my pants! This stuff is unlimited.
Thanks again, Jan. I really enjoyed the interview with Uncle Ernie. Inspireing to say the least. Looking forward to more cool stuff; especially the pictures!
Brian Baylis La Mesa, CA
> You forgot one other group of people - Those who appreciate and are
> fascinated by the craftsmanship, work... that goes into a constructeur bike.
> Every time I see these (only in pictures so far) I'm amazed at the amount of
> work they put into them - custom made cranks, stems, bottom brackets, made
> to measure racks, fenders, internal wiring...
> John Price
> Denver, CO
> Plug for Jan Heine - subscribe to his new quarterly magazine. Just got mine
> yesterday and am really impressed with it. Great stuff Jan ! So, if you
> haven't subscribed yet do so - let's see this new venture of Jan's take off.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jan Heine [mailto:email@example.com]
> Sent: Sunday, September 08, 2002 9:02 PM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: [CR]Now: Who'd want a constructeur bike anyhow?
> People explained why bicycle camping isn't that popular in the U.S.
> (In fact, I see more fully loaded bikes here than anywhere else...but
> of course, RVs outnumber them still.)
> This got me thinking about who would want a cyclotourism bike made by
> a constructeur?
> 1. Anybody who does longish rides that aren't races - supported or
> not. This can be a century, or multi-day trips (Cycle Oregon,
> RAGBRAAI (sp?), etc.). Fenders and lights are useful here (it might
> rain - you might get caught in the dark, or bad weather, or a tunnel
> on the course), and so are slightly wider tires and a more relaxed,
> less nervous geometry. (In fact, the geometry of a randonneur bike
> very much resembles that of a racing bike until about 1975...)
> 2. Randonneurs. They have to ride in the dark, and in the rain,
> sometimes on bad roads. Most ride racing bikes that give trouble
> (lights falling off, fenders breaking or rubbing, etc.), which could
> be avoided if the bike had been designed for the type of riding.
> 3. Credit-card tourers. Many randonneur bikes have the option of
> adding front low-rider racks, so you can carry a few clothes and
> other stuff in two panniers. Say up to 20 lbs.
> 4. Camping cyclists need their own variety - true camping bikes.
> Reading stories about riders that "waited out the rain for a week"
> makes me think fenders should be considered essential on a touring
> bike. And how often did I find that terrain was more hilly than
> anticipated, a campground had closed, or some other reason caused me
> to get caught in the dark. Now I have lights on my touring bikes...
> I think 1-3 make up a good portion of the cycling public who
> currently have no choice but buy a racing bike. (Of course, racing
> bikes still are the perfect choice for racers and those fast weekend
> Jan Heine, Seattle