A short story about bikes...

Histoire du vélo - La Palmyre - Les Mathes - LocaCycleDirect.com

In his History of Velocipedy (1891), Louis Baudry de Saunier claims that M. de Sivrac invented in 1791 invented a wooden machine which constituted in a seat attached to 2 wheels, named the célérifère.

Indeed, the true inventor of the bike is the Dutch baron Karl Drais von Sauerbronn (1785-1851), who presented his machine in Paris in 1818: his invention was at the time named “draisienne”. He assured that the machine can “roll on dry and flat terrain at the speed of 4 league per hour and, when going in descent, outspeed a galloping horse”. But the “draisienne” has been quickly forgotten, because it was to hard to manipulate.

In 1839, the Scottish Mac Millan imagined a model where the back wheel is higher than the front.

In 1861, in Paris, a big step is taken in the improvement of the technique. Ernest Michaux, 19 years old, whose father, Pierre, just serviced a customer’s velocipede, suggested to attach a stick in order to put the feet on it : it is how Pierre Michaux invented the “pedivelle”, which will become the actual pedal.

The general enthusiasm for the velocipede helps the improvement of the technique.

Starting in 1869, clubs for velocipedists are created and “The Velocipède”, the 1st dedicated magazine, is launched. Le vocabulary quickly grows wider with a new word : the bicycle.

In 1875 was born the “big bi”; the machine had a high front wheel of 1,30m and a back wheel of only 0,30 m of diameter.

In 1885, after the “big bi” decline, the bike, word now dedicated to a velocipede with a driving back wheel, finally look like its actual design. Improvements are made : they are referred to its weight, the tires, the rims, the radius, the tubes, the brakes.

Since, the bike has known great evolutions, to become the bike we all know today.

4 generations

After the 2nd war, in 1945,
Jean, coming from a farming family, creates a bike repair shop in Savagnac (Charente Limousine). His son,
Raymond, follows him in 1956 and moves the shop to Tusson in Charente.

In 1969, he imports in France the first cars with pedals, more known nowadays as “rosaries”, which are built by the company Gitane.

In 1971, he got the idea to create one of the first renting shop for bikes and “rosaries” in Ronce les Bains (17).

In 1973, he created his second shop in Chatellation plage. His son,
Pascal, takes over the company in 1989 and opens a new shop in La Palmyre.

In 1996, he created the company SOJAL in order to expand the activity to La Palmyre and La Tremblade.

Today, his son, keeps on the activity of all the shops. He created a new shop in Les Mathes (17) with a more modern point of view, essentially oriented towards the Internet.