Cyclo - letter 1959

Cyclo - history letter 1959 main image

This letter, dating from 16th February 1959, accompanied two documents, one detailing the history and production processes of the freewheel and the other detailing the early history of the derailleur. The letterhead is that of Madame A Raimond, the widow of Albert Raimond, the founder of Cyclo, who died in 1953, but the referece is JR.LL, indicating that it was probably written by JR, Jean Raimond, Albert's son and the Managing Director of Cyclo in 1959.

Note, also, that Cyclo's address, in Saint-Priest-en-Jarez, is Avenue Albert-Raimond 43. Albert Raimond had been an active supporter of the French Resistance during the Second World War and had been imprisoned and beaten up by the Gestapo. After the war Albert Raimond had also been elected Mayor of Saint-Priest-en-Jarez and had had a road named after him.

The letter is addressed to 'Monsieur le Président'. It is not clear who this president is or what they are president of. The reference JR.LL reveals little about the addressee.

It is unlikely, but you could dream that the letter is addressed to the Président of the Republic of France. Following the crisis arising from the war in Algeria in 1958, Charles de Gaulle had been elected as Président in order to, once again, 'save' France. He took office on the 8th January 1959, a few short weeks before this letter was written. De Gaulle had, of course, been the wartime leader of the Free French, and may have known of Albert Raimond. The first sentence of the letter might translate as: "A full third of the French population uses a bicycle or moped, making 17 million journeys of 20 to 30 kilometer every day." This wide-ranging statement, concerning all of France, would not be an inappropriate way for a businessman to start a letter to a national leader.

Cyclo - history letter 1959 main image