In England in the thirties, small cycle manufacturers were springing up everywhere. They were supported by their local clubs and, often, club members were the shop founders and the businesses became local ‘hang-outs.’ Schoolboys of the day would wander past the shop windows of an establishment such as Harry Rensch’s Paris Cycle Co at 131 Stoke Newington Church St, London N16, and peer dreamily at the bicycles on offer.
My friend Jim was one of those impressionable youngsters and the Paris Galibier, being a top machine of the day, was one of his favourite ‘dream bikes.’ Its design may have been influenced by the machine with a ‘flexible’ frame built by French constructeur Jacques Shulz, from Colombes, near Paris, between 1935 and 1937. Despite many of the top builders of the 1930s producing individual machines to great acclaim, the Paris Galibier stood out from the crowd as soon as it was launched, becoming an icon of the era.
Though he couldn’t afford one at the time, Jim eventually bought this Paris Galibier many years later in order to relive those memories, and I’m grateful to him for letting me share the experience of Galibier ownership …a rare experience these days.
1956 Paris Galibier
32.5″ Standover Height (crossbar to ground)
21″ Top Tube
Frame No 6587
26 x 1 1/4″ Conloy Wheel Rims
According to a list provided by Jim when I bought the Glibber, components include Mavic Racer Brakes; GB Bars & Stem; Solida Chainset; Berthet Lyotard Pedals with Brevette Toe clips; Brooks Professional Saddle; Harden Hubs; Bluemel Club Mudguards.
The paintwork is old and weathered and is an original colour scheme; but I don’t think it’s the original paint. In the 1950s, owners used to have their frames repainted frequently. This rare machine is in excellent mechanical condition and ready to ride.
RENSCH & PARIS MARQUE ALBUM:
Extracts from a Recommended Book
If you are interested in this marque, I recommend this book, obtainable through the Veteran Cycle Club.
The above review is from the 25th Cycle & Motorcycle Show at Earls Court in 1949. You can see the Paris Cycles stand – number 164 – in the plan of the show below.
1960 CURLY HETCHINS v 1956 PARIS GALIBIER
I first came across this 1960 Curly Hetchins and 1956 Paris Glibber when I purchased some bicycle from Jim in 2010. He told me he wasn’t ready to sell these two, which were the pride of his collection. However, he explained that he planned to emigrate to Australia and he’d let me have both of them when his relocation was imminent. I waited patiently, and last week Jim informed me that, at last, the time had come. Hence the photo of these two iconic machines side by side.
I LOVE PARIS