Chemineau postcard -
1906 Velocio avec son carrosse de gala

Chemineau postcard - 1906 Velocio avec son carrosse de gala scan 1 main image

This guy - if you work in a bike shop you have met this guy. He’s the guy with the crazy sandals and ugly hand-welded handlebars who comes in every full moon and just has to tell you his latest lunatic theory of bicycle design - even though any half-aware human being could tell that you were insanely busy...

Except that this particular handlebar-mutilating sandal-wearer is the legendary Vélocio (Paul de Vivie), the man who has, arguably, had more influence on the design of the modern bicycle than any other. Perhaps we’d should treat our own local ‘interesting characters’ with more respect - they may, after all, turn out to be the very geniuses (genii?) who change the course of cycling history.

This postcard was published by Joanny Panel of Le Chemineau. On the back it carries a quote from Vélocio in July 1928 saying that ‘Les Chemineau - Touristes Stéphanoise continue the work of the old École Stéphanoise’. Les Chemineau - Touristes Stéphanoise was the house cycling club of the Le Chemineau factory and the École Stéphanoise were the original and true disciples of Vélocio . My guess is that the postcard was published shortly after Vélocio’s death in 1930, and was part of an intense struggle between Joanny Panel of Le Chemineau and Albert Raimond of Cyclo to claim the right to inherit his mantle as the true keepers of the derailleur flame.