Wednesday, January 30, 2013

LABOR Spécial Course: Paul Deman's Secret

1922 Labor Spécial Course




It is a busy reading time for me as I am enjoying reading many cycling books.

I want to thank Hans again for lending me his excellent Cyclepedia by the avid bike collector, Michael Emacher. Very beautiful and highly detailed images of 100 unique and innovative bicycles that span the past century.

Paris-Roubaix... conjures up anguish riders in rain, mud, choking dust, chaos on dangerous cobblestones set against the backdrop of historical Northern France. It is the world's oldest cycling race first run in 1896.

My spotlight is on the French Labor bicycles, notably the Spécial Course...

Bought by the motorcycle company Alcyon in the 1920's, Labor bicycles acquired cult status after clever advertisements, from the time, of monkeys drawing Labor cycles. What's monkeys have to do with it? Monkey see and do... and Labor figured there was no way even for a monkey to make a copy of their unique Spécial Course. The Spécial Course has the truss bridge design inspired by bridge engineering. The design was torsion-resistant and made to endure the punishing cobbles of Paris-Roubaix. It came to practical fruition...

Paul Deman was the first rider to achieve fame on a Labor bicycle winning the 1920 P-R. I wrote a previous post on the Belgium classics rider also a secret agent during WW1 (here).



The great Belgium 'secret agent man', Paul Deman
after winning the 1920 P-R on top
a Labor Spécial Course!
via cyclingarchives.com
courtesy Guy Dedieu



The true test for a racing bike brand is ultimately to win races. Labor had no shortage of champions that won and rode on their bicycles; Albert Dejonghe (winner, 1922 P-R), Paul Deman (winner, 1922 Bordeaux-Paris), Bou-Azza (winner, first Tour of Morocco) and 'the Giant of Colombes' Francois Faber (Labor team, 1906-07).




Some details of the day...
One rear side pull brake, tubs, aluminum bottle
w/cork stopper, wood fenders,
wing nuts to remove and flip the rear wheel
to change gearing.



Looking at the Spécial Course, it is a beautiful steel bike hardened for the cobble classics. A little too heavy for our time (27 LBS) but built solidly for the tough rider of yesterday. Paris-Roubaix is pancake flat thus the gears of the time. It's a wonder changing a flat would prove so laborious and time consuming. The seat stem looks exactly like the handlebar stem. Equally superb is the crafted wooden fenders and wooden rims.

 A beautiful aging two-wheel warhorse of the time for the toughest race of all.




LABOR Spécial Course: The Specs...

COUNTRY: FRANCE
DATE: 1922
WEIGHT: 12.3 KG, 27.1 LB
FRAME: VARNISHED STEEL 57.5 CM
GEARS: 1+1, FIXED
BRAKES: RIM SIDE PULL (REAR)
TYRES: 27 INCH TUBULAR




Labor-ing copying monkeys...
'GO AHEAD AND COPY... YOU WILL NEVER MAKE A LABOR'
via oldbike.eu







Belgium's Maurice Dewaele finished 
2nd in the 1927 Tour riding a Labor bicycle.
via oldbike.eu

3 comments:

Quintessence Editions said...

Hello,

I’m writing from Quintessence Editions in London. How can I contact you privately regarding the Labor Special Corse 1922 bike?


Best wishes,
Dimitra Christofidou
quintedasst@quarto.com

Richard said...

Hello

You can contact me: info@cyclingart.ca

Cheers

Richard

Richard said...

Hello

You can contact me: info@cyclingart.ca

Cheers

Richard

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