Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Le Velosolex


After the Shadoks, here is another important piece of French contemporary history: the Velosolex (more often called "Solex")! The "Solex" was first sold in France in 1946 and is considered as a powered bicycle, not a moped nor a motorbike. It was discontinued in 1974 after over 8 million were sold - mainly in Europe. The odd part is that you can still see some in the streets of Paris, like this one I photographed on the same day I photographed the tents on the Canal Saint Martin. FYI, a new Solex is about to come to life but it will be electric and pretty different from the original one.

PS: In case you haven't voted for PDP in the Festival de Romans yet, please do so by Saturday, by clicking here. Merci beaucoup!

45 comments:

  1. That is the kind of bike I need. No muss, no fuss.....I wonder what the new electric one will be like. Quieter and cleaner? Qui sait?

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  2. Ah, I had one of those when I was about 15 (used to be my father's, but he never really used it), and that's all I used to get from one place to the other, until I got a mobylette after I passed my baccalauréat. I loved it!

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  3. I want one of those! I don't care if it's the old or the new one!
    In Santiago you can find powered bicycles, but these are much more stylish!
    I'd love to ride a Solex around Paris.

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  4. Ah the Solex! Souvenirs, souvenirs! Definitely my idea of fun. Simple, cheap and virtually unbreakable. I would sign up for one anytime. I doubt the Solex will make it to Sydney though!

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  5. Oooh, that looks like a groovy bike. Wouldn't have minded one of those when I was a kid. I wonder how long it's been since I've ridden a bike, anyway.

    Michael, good luck in China! Bring me back a shot glass! (I collect shot glasses. Currently from around the country. My sister-in-law is bringing me one back from Florida on Thursday and I'm so excited!!!) Just kidding, of course. Lord knows you wont have the time, huh?

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  6. Interesting concept I have to say. After reading the FAQs, I find that you have to be at least 14 yrs old, have the bike registered, wear a helmet, and get insurance. You also aren't allowed to carry anybody on it with you.

    Seems like the Dutch have got the bike riding thing down a bit better I'm afraid. Old fashioned pedal pushing.

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  7. Very intriguing profile Jovan-Marya Weismiller, T.O.Carm

    What should we call you for short here at PDP?

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  8. Ah... le vieux Solex! I had one and a couple of 50cc's when I was in high school but all were stolen.

    Pour le vote, pas de chance, ca doit marcher avec les adresses IP car le site m'a dit que j'ai deja vote bien que j'aie change d'ordi. Oh, well, never hurts to try ;)

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  9. I guess i shouldn't confuse the Solex with the Soloflex! Yummy!

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  10. Very funny Meta...guess they both will get your heart pumping.

    I do have to add (at the risk of getting attacked by any Hummer-lovers), that riding a bike instead of a Hummer to work is just one way we can help the environment, and hey, meet other people.

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  11. Welcome back Tomate ;)

    Yes, one IP address one vote. Which is fair, it prevents cheating.

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  12. Interesting though i can't say i'm attracted. I like my push-bike (pedals) when i go out for a cycle, other than that i walk or drive. This seems too... grey an area for me. I would like to try it though, just to see.

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  13. In Greece these bikes were famous in the 80's!!!
    Now you don't see so many of them (you don't see many cyclists either in Greece). I had one of those for 5 years. Now, I have kept only my first racing bicycle, a "Peugeot"!

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  14. Michael : "intriguing profile"… c'est un euphémisme ! ;o) A l'occasion, j'aimerais bien en savoir plus à propos de ton avis sur la question !

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  15. Hello Eric,Solex was our daily love!Very nice,cheap and economical vechicle,the ideal tool before the car.
    Romantic period!

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  16. super cool...the company will get super rich if they can sell them in China...and if they do, I'll get one!!!

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  17. again, nice photo eric .... and sign me up!

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  18. Oooh, Gregorian chant! Awesome, Jovan. You seem like a cool person. And you're nearby me. In fact, I'm coming your way the first weekend of next month!

    Hummers! Oh Michael, don't get me started on Hummers! In fact, since I can feel the rant coming on, I'll just leave with a "To each his own..." and not get into environmental arguements.

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  19. And yes, I said "Awesome" to Gregorian chant! And I mean it.

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  20. Eric, your pictures of parties and social events are always entertaining, but I find your pictures of the streets of Paris much more interesting. It seems that items like this show how alike many cultures are and the daily experiences of many people. The bicycle silhouette is nearly universal, and even the details (such as the heavy lock and chain, and need for something strong to anchor it to) are universal too. It almost seems like a theme day along with Ame's photo on the Santa Clara DP.

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  21. Truer words were never spoken, erik h. Eric definately brings Paris to life in all of it's many aspects!

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  22. Hi Eric!
    Hi Erik H! Hey! You visited but I don't see you! LOL! And ERIC, Delta, Colorado posted the SAME kind of old bike as I did...that's too WIERD! Do do do do!

    Love your Solex too...sounds like you should ride around naked in the sun all day with a name like that, doesn't it?

    Just humor me folks...it's early and it's only THIRTY (YES! 30 DEGREES) outside! BRRRRRRRRRRRRR.... ;)

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  23. ame, 30 degrees? St. Louis got you beat. It was 8 when I woke up this morning. Right now it's resting comfortably at 10. And it wont be getting much warmer than that!

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  24. Ooooooooooooooo Soosha! You and the UK...beginning to think it's rather balmy here now! LOL! ;) STAY WARM!!!! Stick a hot rock in your drawers or SOMETHING! =)))

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  25. Well...I wonder if they sold them here in San Francisco would I be able to get up the hills?? Hmmm...never know.

    Michael...I've never seen a "Hummer" in Paris, do people really drive them there?? Must be impossible to park. The funny thing is that in SF I often see people driving them but they have come in from the suburbs and they cannot properly drive them in the city, can't reverse the car to turn around, can't park..etc. People just look at them and shake their heads. Funny!

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  26. I think some of the american model SUV's and the Hummer are much too wide for some of the streets of Paris or in other parts of France for that matter.

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  27. What a wonderful photo - and I propose that the new Solex will be popular, given that it's not outrageously expensive. There are quite a few folks here in Seattle who have come up with their own versions of this, and we also have the (very expensive) Segway users here and there.

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  28. Bonjour, bloggers. I don't recognize the bridge: is it on the Canal rather than the Seine? Love the bike. Great style.

    And, looking back at the weekend's PDP and comments: if God has religion, does God have a Hummer or a Velosolex? Did anyone see the movie Dogma? I loved God doing a headstand in her tutu. Dead ringer for something...And what does this have to do with a bike?

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  29. Wish the streets around here were too small for Hummers and SUVs. Alas, we're just not old enough.

    Thanks ame, but I think I'll stick with my furnace keeping me warm. Putting a hot rock in my pants just doesn't seem very comfortable to me!!!

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  30. Oh, and by the way, it was -10 F this morning. That's -23 C, I believe. I don't want to hear any whining. Which reminds me of a joke I'll alter for international reasons: Have you heard about the new American wine?

    "I want lower gas prices."

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  31. Oooooooooo Jeff, and where R U? That IS a little nippy...my lips are SEALED! ;) HI ERIC!

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  32. Frostbite Falls. Just call me Bullwinkle.

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  33. I loved the video ad for the new bike. Loved the red wheels, too.
    Question: do ads in France use people of various races and colors?

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  34. It's coming Vicky, but not as much as in the US. It's badly considered in France to make a difference between origins. But it's too late now, I will come back to this later tomorrow if I have the time unless someone wants to elaborate on this in between... (GG ?)

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  35. jeff, in response to your query, i would venture to guess that HE/SHE/IT has both ;)

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  36. just a thought ... where do people's rights of consumption begin and end?

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  37. > Soosha, Tomate : the country's old, the street narrow… but there still enough room for silly-pretentioux-show off people to drive hummers in Paris. You might see a few a them in the capitale or small cities around !

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  38. Oh I forgot about these! A friend of mine used to have one in the Netherlands.

    Eve

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  39. kpgallant said..."Michael...I've never seen a "Hummer" in Paris, do people really drive them there??"

    Yes, GG already answered, but wanted to confirm that you see a few around Paris. Along with the SUVs, it's a bit ridiculous. I'd adventure they come in from the suburbs as well.

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  41. Actually the real Velosolex is still available, brand new and made in France: www.velosolexamerica.com

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