Sept. 19, 2013–Piermont, NY
We came across this bicycle and its owner in Piermont, NY recently. Unusual to see in the United States, an aluminum Peugeot, customized with a Brooks leather saddle, with matching leather handlebar tape.
What many people do not realize is that Peugeot motor vehicles, which is part of the same brand–are not distributed in the United States. Nor are the bicycles with the same brand name–the company stopped manufacturing them years ago. After selling its name to another manufacturer, they too stopped making the bicycles.
But if you really want one, you can get this vintage one (not pictured,) on Etsy, or another one on Ebay. Or, fly to France and get one there! It will probably be lovingly cared for and well worth the money.
Some history about Peugeot, thanks to Wikipedia:
Peugeot was a French manufacturer of bicycles founded by Jean Pequignot Peugeot, a 19th century manufacturer of water mills. Using the mills’ profits, Peugeot expanded with a steelworks in Montbéliard, which Jean Peugeot ran with a colleague and his two brothers. The company’s trademark, a lion, was created in 1858 by an engraver, Justin Blazer, who lived near the factory. The company turned their steel into knives and forks, hydraulic equipment and, from 1882, bicycles, sold as Cycles Peugeot. In Beaulieu-sur-Doubs (Mandeure,Doubs) during the same year, the first Peugeot bicycle—a penny-farthing (high wheeler) called Le Grand Bi—was hand-built by Armand Peugeot.
During World War I, Peugeot built nearly 63,000 bicycles per year. It also manufactured 9,000 cars and trucks, 1,000 motorcycles, 10,000 plane engines, and 6 million artillery shells.
In 1926, the auto and bicycle manufacturing divisions at Peugeot were divided. Automobiles were constructed atAutomobiles Peugeot, while bicycles were made at Cycles Peugeot. In 1930, bicycle production reached 162,000 units per year at the Beaulieu factory.
By 1955, the factory at Beaulieu was turning out 220,000 bicycles a year, employing nearly 3,500 workers, while Automobiles Peugeot completed its 100,000 automobile. During the 1950s, European interest in cycling as a means of transportation virtually disappeared, and by 1956, bicycle production at Cycles Peugeot was cut in half.
In 1974, Cycles Peugeot acquired the factory of Romilly-sur-Seine, which was converted to produce bicycles. In 1978, ProCycle of Canada signed an agreement to manufacture and distribute Peugeots in Canada, while French-built Peugeots continued to be sold in the USA.
During the bicycle sales ‘boom’ of 1972-75, Peugeot sales increased dramatically. Aided by the racing heritage of the brand, demand for low- and mid-level Peugeot sport/touring or “ten speed” bicycles surged, particularly in the United States, and frequently exceeded supply. The aging Peugeot factory had difficulty supplying sufficient bicycles, and quality control occasionally suffered. Peugeot’s reliance on French part suppliers began to impact sales after it became clear that Japanese firms were able to supply derailleurs and other components using more advanced designs and superior quality. By the mid-1980s, Peugeot bicycles had begun utilizing Japanese derailleurs on some of their lower end models.
By 1983, ProCycle was exporting Canadian-made Peugeots to the U.S.
In 1987, Cycles Peugeot merged with AOP (Acier et Outillages Peugeot) to form ECIA (Equipment et Composants pour I’Industrie Automobile), and the Romilly factory began producing all Peugeot bicycles. That same year, ProCycle of Canada acquired rights to distribute French-made Peugeots. In 1990, Cycles Peugeot sold the North American rights to market bicycles under the Peugeot name to the Canadian firm ProCycle.
In 2001, ProCycle discontinued the Peugeot bicycle brand. In Europe, the license to produce Peugeot-branded bicycles was sold to Cycleurope, a company making bicycles under different names, on condition that it would be reconsidered in 2004. That licence was later withdrawn for Europe, though production of bicycles for export continued for another year.
For more information about Peugeot bicycles in circulation, visit this amazing site Cycles Peugeot.