Louison Bobet, French, 1925 - 1983
Louison Bobet was, by some accounts, a fairly tedious character, on the one hand crying, sulking and whinging and on the other hand preening, boasting and claiming that he did it all without drugs (while quietly admitting that he drank the contents of the little glass bottles that his soigneur gave him supposedly without knowing what they were). But he was a formidable cyclist, King of the Mountains in 1950, and outright winner of the Tour in 1953, 1954 and 1955.
His derailleur choices reflected this quixotic nature - initially he was devoted to the French Huret Competiton, then, to reflect his heroic status, Huret specially created, just for him, the, extra special, Huret Special Louison Bobet. Then, after this magnificent accolade, the self-styled and undisputed champion of everything French and cycling... defected to that most Italian of brands, Campagnolo. But, just as he didn’t allow his moods to hide his talent as a cyclist, he also did not allow his over-weening pride to prevent him from using the best equipment - and by the late 1950s that meant that you had to be riding Campagnolo.
This Huret postcard of a rather confident, tanned Louison Bobet eating up an hors catégorie climb, describes him as 'vainqueur du Tour de France 1953 avec derailleur special L Bobet'. Unfortunately the photo clearly shows his derailleur to be a plain Vanilla Huret Competition - which is, I suspect, the derailleur he used in 1953. I would quietly guess that the Huret Special Louison Bobet was released to celebrate his 1953 victory - rather than to enable it.
And whatever happened to postcards with deckled edges? They are well past time for a comeback.