As a change from the Cape Cod theme, I would like to share these photos of some early French bicycles from the collection of Nick March. These pre-war bicycles are not quite mixtes, but they are not classic step-throughs either. Whatever their construction, they have an overall grace and elegance that I find inspiring.
This beauty is a very rare bicycle by Caminade (see here for additional details).
What makes it truly exceptional, is that the frame is alloy, with hexagonal(!) tubing and elaborate lugs. I have never seen a bicycle with hexagonal tubes before, so these photos blew my mind. I wonder what it feels like to ride this creation.
In the close-up photos, it appears as if the lugs might be bolted to the tubing, but I am out of my depth here. Any further details regarding the construction of this bicycle are welcome. This is definitely one of the most exceptional ladies' bicycles out there, and the condition in which it has been preserved is amazing.
This sage green bicycle is an Alcyon from the late 1930s. The mixte-like construction has twin stays that curve sharply at the seat tube, then connect to the lower part of the rear stays. One of the elements of early French ladies and mixte bicycles that appeals to me, is the colour scheme: The combination of pastel blue-green paint and chrome accesories takes my breath away - even when the bicycle is old and rusty and the paint is faded.
This ancient Helium is another example of the faded pastel green paint I love. Notice the curved stays again, which I have also documented on many bicycles in Vienna. The twin stays extend all the way to the rear drop-outs, but is the bicycle technically considered a mixte if the stays are curved in this manner? I assume the purpose of this design was to lower the step-over height, but what effect does it have on the bicycle's structural integrity?
Largely dilapidated, the Helium in the photo is in her owner's "destined for the trash" pile. I wish I could wisk it away to a bicycle history museum. My thanks again to Mr. March for permission to use these images; they are a treat to see.