As cyclists, we are often caught up with “flash” – the showey, spectacular stuff that grabs attention like a new gruppo or an eye catching paint job. However, for many French people in the immediate Post-World War II period, the bicycle was not flashy or sporting but solely a means of transport as France rebuilt her shattered infrastructure. It was during this time that Andre Bertin expanded his pre-War parts and accessories business into manufacturing and built bicycles, mopeds and motorcycles to fill this need for basic transportation.
It is just that kind of bicycle which is the subject of today’s post. This bike showed up on leboncoin in France which is a treasure house of Bertins (and other things) for sale. It is an early C 25 Porteur as can be seen from its sidepull front brake and its Torpedo coaster brake in the rear. Later C 25s had a MAFAC cantilever brake brazed on the fork. This is strictly a utilitarian bicycle but it still sports those voluptuously curved 40s/50s fenders seen on period motorcycles like Indians and Harley-Davidsons. It even has a two tone paint scheme, decoration on the chain guard and white pinstripping on what is supposedly nothing more than a working bike! Andre Bertin always gave his bikes that slightly nicer finish and specification and this is French panache at its best.
The second photo is included as an example of the kind of robust and functional rack that was required if the bike was to be truly utilitarian. It is triangulated and supported to allow stable transportation of whatever type of heavy load needed moving from place to place. The chrome steel rear rack was suitable for baskets and/or panniers for lighter or additional items. If you would like a closer look at the rack, click on the photo to the right to enlarge it. Worth a look, as well, is the streamlined headlight that along with the rear reflector and fenders makes the bike even more useful.
Perhaps, it is also worth remembering that for many people, even today, this is what a bicycle really is not our beloved C 37s and C 80 SSCs!