A collector of bicycles is not special in the Netherlands. In a country with more bicycles than people, we can imagine that there are collectors of the Steel Horse. But we hardly see a Peugeot bicycle collector anywhere. There is a collector in Bordeaux. His name is Camille. Do you want to know more about it? Then jump on the back and we will cycle to him.
Camille Cassou, 32, lives in Bordeaux. He is a journalist for French TV and an inspiring collector of classic Peugeot bicycles. And not of those bikes that you sometimes come across on online sales websites, but the real classic models from before the war. The real oldies. He has been a collector for a while. His collection includes bicycles from 1880 to 1950.
“Peugeot brand bicycles are the most beautiful,” says Camille. “I restored 15, most of them myself. It is partly a changing collection because I can buy new interesting projects with the sale of some bicycles. It’s a world of its own and I’m lucky to know a good friend who’s pretty much a walking encyclopedia of classic cycling. I have a lot of support for him to explore the bike paths in the collectors circuit. ”
I also go out a lot with friends who collect other vehicles, such as classic scooters, WWII cars and so I always find new projects to restore. We visit fairs and flea markets in Germany, Italy and France. Together we travel a lot of kilometers every year! Of course I can also buy via the internet, but such a find is not nearly as much fun as when you come across it at a fair.
When restoring, I leave the bike as much as possible as it is. I make sure that everything works and that the bicycle “dans son jus” maintains a nice “vintage look”. My favorite is a Peugeot from 1902. It is a beautiful bike and is still in good condition. I will never sell this!
Another rare masterpiece is one of the first folding bikes in the world. It is a copy where Captain Gerard and Charles Morel were responsible for the first design and which was further developed and successfully marketed by Peugeot. My copy is manufactured for defense, recognizable by its wheels and frame, intended for WWI and was actually preserved after the war.
There is a lot of information about bicycles from the past on the internet and in books. Otherwise I still have my network. Knowledge and experience are required when purchasing. Classic bicycles and frames from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries consist of many parts. As a result, bicycles and sets quickly become incomplete. Drawings are often no longer available and reproduction is almost impossible. You should pay close attention when purchasing!
But fair is fair, they used to produce bikes that were meant to last a lifetime. Searching and finding bicycles and parts is a great hobby and every now and then I jump on such an old bicycle for a tour of the city. That is freedom!