sports culture. The chronicle of Bernard Chambaz: « My last bike »


For the month of May, I subscribed to my desire, that’s the right word, to offer myself a bike that would be – by the force of age – the last…

For the month of May, I subscribed to my desire, that’s the right word, to offer myself a bike that would be – by the force of age – the last.

The first dates back to when I was six years old. It was sky blue, with racing handlebars, and like everyone else, I remember the immediate feeling of unparalleled freedom and adventure. The second goes back to when I was thirty. It was black and I shared it with my sons.

After buying an Italian lemon-yellow bike from a department store, I got serious about pedaling because “my mind won’t work if my legs don’t move it”. On my Laurent steel pink bike and then on my Cyfac white carbon bike, I rode a lot, with a lot of happiness, sometimes furiously, I made loops and completed crossings I was lucky enough to be able, then, to report. And a singular godsend wanted them to be sponsored.

Thinking this is the last bike narrows the horizon a bit, but there it is. So, as much as it is beautiful

Thinking this is the last bike narrows the horizon a bit, but there it is. So, as much as it is beautiful. It will therefore be a Méral, a little cousin of the Cyfac. The brand dates back to the 1970s and was created by a former amateur runner, Francis Quillon, whose slogan sums up the vocation if not the ambition: “haute couture at the price of ready to ride”. The model I will be riding bears the first name of another rider, famous enough that the first name, Louison, suggests the name. Immediately, I found on my shelves the marvelous book from the Green Library, Champion Cyclist. And I remembered the day – July 14 – when Bobet abandoned his last Tour de France at the top of the Col de l’Iseran, 2764 meters, exhausted, in cycling shorts and a tricolor jersey under an English gabardine; he was thirty-four years old.

Excellent craftsmanship

In the first days of May, I therefore visited the workshops of La Fuye, in Indre-et-Loire, a vast hangar which houses excellent craftsmanship. It is placed at the edge of the departmental road, in a deserted hamlet in the middle of fields illuminated by broom. About twenty passionate employees work there and the captivating visit – which takes a good hour – was only the prelude to the choice of the color of the frame. In a color chart that makes you lose your head, I would have opted for a splendid gray.

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