The Comtat Bicycle Museum
Pernes-les-Fontaines is the natural site for a bicycle museum, being the birthplace of Paul de Vivie, the forefather of bicycle touring, a genius inventor, a talented writer as well as a poet! Paul de Vivie (1853-1930), who wrote under the pen name Vélocio, went on to become the emblematic figure of French bicycle touring. His inventions made considerable improvements to bike design, the most notable being his multi-gear derailleur system. He tested countless machines in his quest to develop “polymultiplication” or multiple gearing, which culminated in his “Polycyclette Vélocio”.
The museum presents some fifty machines in all. The ancestors of the modern bike and other inventions of famous cyclists are on display.
A whole century of bicycle history is recounted, from the penny-farthing and the tricycle of the 1880s to the Paris-Beijing 2008 bike, not forgetting the slick touring bikes created by the best designers of the 1960s and the tandem whose popularity took off with the first paid holidays of 1936.
A section is also devoted to the technical evolution of racing bikes, from the fixed-gear Fageot of 1895 with its airless “bandage” tyres to the 1973 Colnago, as well as the 1914 Alphone Thomann Tour de France bike with its braze welded frame. This highly informative tour will delight all cycling enthusiasts as well as those simply curious to know more about the history of the bicycle, or what the French affectionately call the “little queen”.