1891: In the first long cycle race, the 600km Bordeaux-Paris, the British unexpectedly took the first three places by riding without rest, G P Mills being the winner in under 27 hours. The event made a great impression on the French public.
Later that year, Pierre Giffard promoted the 1200km Paris-Brest-Paris to demonstrate the practicality of the bicycle. Cycles were sealed at the start to ensure riders used the same machine throughout and entries from foreign riders and women were refused. 207 cyclists started on September 6th, including 10 tricycles, 2 tandems and an ordinary – believed to be the only one to complete the PBP so far, ridden by M. Duval. Both amateurs and professionals took part, the pros employing crews to carry their gear and 10 pacers each. Charles Terront won, riding without sleep for 71h22m, and 99 riders finished, some taking several days having stopped at inns overnight.
The example featured here was sold by the Humber’s Paris depot, situated at 19 Rue du Quatre-Septembre. It is similar in design to the Humbers ridden by the French racers of the early 1890s, the most famous being Charles Terront, who advertised the bicycle for Humber. With many racing successes, this style of Humber became a very popular bicycle around the world, so the company retained its design until 1894.
1893 Humber Road Racer
Export Model: Paris, France; and other Agencies
28″ Anodised Alloy rims with Pneumatic Tyres
This French Humber is an older restoration, and is in very good road-going order. Its tyres (new, fitted to 29 inch rims) are similar in style and width to the first pneumatics, as you can see in the various period photos.
With the popularity of the racing Humbers, many of the roadsters were stripped down to create the same style. This one appears to have started out as a No 1 Light Roadster Safety – because of its handlebar, brake and mudguard fittings. The mudguards were removed to turn it into a road racer. Charles Terront was photographed with the same model on the Paris-Brest-Paris road race.
c1892 FRENCH HUMBER CATALOGUE:
‘LA PREMIER MARQUE DU MONDE’
1893 SLADE CATALOGUE EXTRACTS
(HUMBER’S AGENT IN LIVERPOOL)