09 March 2008

Readers Bikes: Martin's Peugot in Melbourne


About 3 years ago I decided I needed a bike, after having lived 4 years in Melbourne bikelessly. One fine day when passing my local bike shop I went in, thinking 'exactly! - a bike. Time to finally start looking for that bike I've been thinking I should get...' Didn't really see anything I liked very much. All too techy or else v. cheap, clumsy sorts of 'city bikes' that just seemed wrong.

After dinner that night we took an evening stroll. Here we have biannual 'hard waste collections', which means the local council comes round with huge trucks and carts away all sorts of large household items people no longer want, plus garden refuse etc etc. When my wife realised it was hard waste day tomorrow, she wanted to go home again, well aware of my penchant for objets trouvés. Moi, insistent as ever, begged and pleaded that we should continue, and promised not to bring any of the 'great stuff' out there home.

Within just a few minutes I found it. Not more than a couple hundred metres from our house. Leaning against a pile of boxes. The bike I had started looking for that very day! Even my wife couldn't say no to this charming piece of French craftsmanship.

Never mind that it's a girl's bike. Never mind it's magenta. It had a spacious basket, straight wheels and at least one fender. It rolls fast fast fast and I normally coast past other bikers riding on fatter tyres.

All I've done is replaced the rear tyre, had it checked over by the local bicycle repairman and it now gets me to the local shops in minutes. The brakes scream, which can scare a few pedestrians but I smile and nod a friendly 'hello' as I slowly coast by.

The one thing it doesn't have is a name. But I am considering something French. Catherine, Charlotte, Juliette, or maybe even Eva. After the actresses Deneuve, Rampling, Binoche and Green. Such an important question will take a bit more thinking though...

What I know for sure is, I love my magenta girl's Peugeot!

Regards, and ride on, Martin de Melbourne

13 comments:

David J said...

Great find Martin! I've had a similar experience although the bike wasn't so refined as a Peugot.
Leave it to providence and just what you're looking for will sometimes appear.

Since living in Darwin I have found there is no shame in riding bikes with a ladies frame. In fact I find the low slung frame exceptionally more easy when carrying a child on the back.

Marrock said...

I've always liked the design of the mixte frames and, oddly enough, never really considered them a "girl's" bike.

I have a chance here to get one in white for about $60US, just need to find the spare lucre and go pick it up.

Zakkaliciousness said...

She is a lovely ride.

Zakkaliciousness said...

Just remembered that i have a photo of a Peugot bike. Lovely.

Anonymous said...

How come everyone's spelling it Peugot. It's Peugeot. Touché! ;o)

Zakkaliciousness said...

Seurry about that.

Anonymous said...

Well, maybe it USED to be a girl's bike, but it appears that now it is Martin's bike. The low step over height makes it easier for any gender of rider to get on and off with dignity and balance. Val

Anonymous said...

That's a good point someone made about a mixte being gender neutral, is it appropriate to ask that opinion here? I am only a transportation/commuter cyclist, I never ride for recreation. At 53 a men's frame is no problem, but I plan on aging and at 63 or 73 it might be. Maybe my next bike should be a girl's frame so that as an old man I don't have to lift my leg over the case of beer on the rack. So I ask you, do real men (if they are old) ride girl's bikes? I'm sure this enlightened group says they do, I'm asking what is the common perception.

Anonymous said...

"Common Perception" depends on where you are. There are places in the world where everyone rides a bike sometimes, and often they will be riding in nice clothing. No gentleman who has spent time and money having his suit properly tailored wants to have to hoist his leg over the seat and rear wheel to get on and off. They ride "step through" frames, rather than "step over." There are also several manufacturers who offer bikes with extremely low frames specifically for riders with a limited range of motion. Just remember, it's only a ladies' bike if a lady is riding it. Val

Anonymous said...

Martin here... thanks everyone for the comments!
I will reconsider the 'girl's bike' aspect. The mixte frame is a smart design. Still, I bet some of my fellow Melburnians would label it a girl's bike. Oh well - that's their perception, and their loss!
So.... any suggestions as to names? I'm kinda partial to Juliette...

Andy B from Jersey said...

I too found my regular commuter bike in the trash. $8US for a new Shimano 3 speed shift lever and she was running perfectly! If the rear luggage rack did break recently and if I didn't fall in love with the Brompton I bought, I'd ride it much more often.

I also have 4 nice bikes in my garage that were found out in the trash. Nice older bikes are all too easy to find where I live in the US. One of the sad side effects of living in an area where the bicycle is not appreciated. However, I love and appreciate them.

I also have two other bikes that where bought for what amounts to pocket change.

PS - I'm looking for good owners for some of them. For free of course!

Zakkaliciousness said...

A mixte is a perfect bike for ladies or gentlemen.

Must admit though that seeing a man ride a ladies bike here still looks very, very odd. But a mixte, ca marche.

chic cyclist said...

Hey Martin,
I'm partial to Charlotte myself, but Juliette is good too. Since her family name would be Peugeot you'd have to think about what goes best - "Juliette Peugeot"?

Andy,
I'm looking to make up stylish bikes for my sister, my dad, and his wife, slowly and over time. I could perhaps help you with some of those bikes...

-Charlotte