One fine morning I decided to take an extended coffee break and stopped by the local Tim Horton’s to grab a coffee and spied a an old blue bicycle leaned up against the building and recognized it as a very old Peugeot in rather beautiful shape. It had some improper north road bars and the tyres were dry rotted and almost flat.
It was unlocked and I thought it probably belonged to someone in the restaurant who was confident enough that a bike this old would not be of any interest to thieves.
I passed by on the way home from work and saw that the bike had not moved and went in to ask the manager if they knew who it belonged to, thinking it may have been stolen or dumped.
They told me that it had been left by a “street person” early in the morning and that they were going to throw the old bicycle in the dumpster.
I asked if I could take it home (I knew the manager) and that I would check with the constabulary to see if it was stolen as I have good contacts in this area and said I would leave my name and number if it’s owner came to reclaim it.
When I went to load the bike up in my car it would not roll as the flat handle bars had been pulled up so that the brakes had locked the front wheel, I could not imagine anyone being able to pedal it this way.
I contacted the police and every bike shop in town to see if anyone had reported that their old Peugeot had been stolen and received no responses, and after a year the police told me the bike was mine to keep.
The old bike was and is a 1957 Peugeot PLX8 Grande Tourisme although it took me a little while to determine it’s year and model with no thanks to some members at bikeforums.net.
Found a copy of the original advertisement for the bicycle at retropeugeot.com which is an invaluable resource for those of us who like old Pugs and seek to determine their age and models.
How I would love to find a PLX10 in similar condition, this was the top of the line racing bicycle and the predecessor to the legendary PX10.
Aside from the flat handle bars which still had the original Mafac open back levers in place, the bike was in clean and original condition and did not look like it had seen many miles.
In checking the Sedis chain I found no wear and also found that instead of a pin it had a small screwed link to keep it together and am pretty sure it was original.
The bike is rather unusual as it has a Simplex Competition front shifter which some refer to as a suicide shifter but it is not that difficult to use…
The rear shifter is a very rare Simplex JUY 543, so named as it can be set to run a 3, 4, or 5 speed block and a friend provided me with a NOS Simplex 4 speed block when he discovered I had this bike.
The single front shifter, Mafac cantis, and those lovely fenders.
The head badge and “Aztec” lugs which Peugeot used well into the 1970’s on the UO8 and UE8, among others…
The 700c Rigida rims were in beautiful condition with no rust and were dead true but the spokes were in very sad looking shape after what I guessed had been many decades of storage. I re-built the wheels with new stainless spokes as the originals were badly corroded and also found a new lens for the Soubitez headlamp.
The fenders were in wonderful condition and the generator also works well.
Although it is not original I acquired an Ideale model 92 saddle.
Edith (spring 2014)…
Edith is a wonderful bicycle to ride and although I do not subject her to the rigours of daily riding she is a popular choice for Sunday rides in the valley where there is a decent amount of climbing, and I have also taken her on group rides where her companions were 40-50 years her junior.
The frame is stiffer than her later counterparts like the UE8 and as such, she climbs very well and the 8 speeds give balanced gear steps and the JUY 543 shifts so well you would think it was indexed. Some consider these to be nicer than the Campagnolo Gran Sport which introduced the parallogram derailleur and rendered pull chain and double cable designs obsolete.
She is not set up for carrying large loads but a few small panniers carry everything I might need for a day trip but will look for, or build a nice handlebar bag and might use my Carradice saddle bag.
Keep the shiny side up.