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on 4 January 2010
What you need to know is that this book is about the history of French hand built touring bicycles, developed from the "School of St Etienne". Nothing else. If that's what you want, this is the book for you. If you thought it was about bicycles from elsewhere, including some wonderful bicycle and frame builders in Britain or Italy, you will be disappointed. It isn't clear until you open the the book that it is so narrowly focused. Of course, because it is about French touring cycles, the "Golden Age" concerned is approximately 1910 to 2005. (Clearly a long Golden Age.) I think that each country or form of cycling might have a different "Golden Age". But, once over the initial realisation that this book is about the touring cycles of France, it's not for us to quibble: for French randonneurs, these years were the Golden Age.

Having said all of that, if you are genuinely interested in French cycle touring machines from 1910 to 1925, this is the book for you. It is beautifully produced, the detail is just right, the illustrations are wonderful, and it reads very well.

A final point: my overall impression looking at the wonderful machines so well photographed is how functional they were. I wouldn't say beautiful - have a look at the lug work on these machines and compare it with the lug work on Hitchens, E G Bates, Condor, Claud Butler, Raleigh or even Holdsworth cycles (just to name a small sample) during this period - and excluding some magnificent Italian machines and frames as well. What do you think? Having said that, all of the machines shown look absolutely solid, functional and (certainly during the mid to later part of this Golden Age) comfortable.

My marking does not reflect the quality of this book: rather the fact that it isn't clear until you open it that it is so narrow in its focus.
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on 26 October 2010
I concur with Mr Lewis (Fixie) This book's title is VERY misleading and I really should have returned it. The contents are not at all what I'd expected. As others have pointed out the book is entirely French focussed and as such contains little of interest to me. I expected Italian, British and American bicycles and was very dissapointed with the actual content.

The only reason I didn't return the book was the prohibitive postage cost from Sweden.
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on 24 April 2012
I love to ride my touring bike.
Also love to read frame details from pictures or photos of touring bicycles both modern and vintage.
French made the best touring bicycles at that vintage period.

It doesn't matter that the book is about 50 French touring bikes in period between 1909 and 2003.
As long as your love touring bikes, riding or collecting, this book should be part of your book collection.
I have been enjoying every picture inside the book, each page gives me inspiration.

A very nice book.
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on 24 March 2015
It was a birthday gift for my granddaughter, who is a bike buff and repairman. I'll let her review it when she gets it read.
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on 25 July 2013
Without this book the art, skills and knowledge of French Constructeurs (builders) would have been lost for ever. Thanks to Jan Heine I discovered a world completely unknown to me (and I live just 100 km from the French border). But I think the greatest merit of the book is to show that in the '40 and '50 they built bicycles made of steel that could weight as low as 7.5 kgs complete with racks, fenders, lighting and a pump.
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on 3 March 2010
This is book with pictures of pretty French bicycles, unfortunately that's about it. The author has such a strong French bias that he states that a bike from 1910 was one of the first with multiple gears, that there were multiple gears at least 20 years before this is of no consequence to his French tunnel vision (as a member of the Veteran Cycle Club, he knows this, it's no minor slip up). Very bad form!.

What would of been interesting, rather than page after page of similar looking bikes (though some are very worthy of the space) and the recurrent superlatives about each and every one, is interviews with old hands. Lyli Herse (Rene Herse's daughter) for instance was a source of pictures...why no interview with her, also Ernest Csuka of Alex Singer, why no interview with him?.

This could of been so much more, explaining why French touring cycles developed as they did, how they differed from the British style, who were the driving forces etc. There is almost no information of this type in the book.

To be honest, I'd be slightly embarrassed to publish such fluff in place of what could of been the first serious English language study of French bicycles.
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on 12 November 2009
That's a very nice book ! The pictures are really, really nice, and most of them are focusing on the interesting details of each bike. What could look like a boring collection of bikes turns into a very interesting history of the nicest bikes ever built. Being a small framebuilder myself, this book is huge source of inspiration and motivation.
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on 30 January 2017
Absolutely gorgeous book, I am very happy to have it and educate myself to bicycle history.
Stunning photos thorough the whole book.This is the book which you want to open again and again.
Thanks to the people who made it..........
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on 6 December 2011
Magnificent book! Wonderful photography of exquisite, rare bicycles. It has led me into areas that I did not know existed... Highly recommend for the bike enthusiast -- or anybody who appreciates fine craftsmanship.
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on 13 January 2016
Beautifull book!,
Very well produced with amazing pictures of 1930,s 40,and50,s randoneur bikes . However, I was expecting racing bikes from 70,s .
Anyway worth to have it!
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