A friend of mine, Nick, bought his Rochet in Paris in 1956. He still has it.
> Stan, sure you can forward the story.
The Rochet sold here in 1952 for about 120 dollars. I knew the original importer. His name was Gene Portuese and his bike shop was called Michigan Cycle. It was on Michigan Avenue just west of Livernois. I bought my first road bike from him in 1952. It was a British Armstrong. I couldn't afford the Rochet. My Rochet was purchased from the Paris bike store in 1956. I shipped it home when I was returning home from Germany. I had it for about 6 months before my discharge from the Army. I got out November 2nd 1956. One day in the spring of 1957 a delivery truck pulled up to the front of our house in Highland Park. I was sitting in the back yard with my dad. I still remember thinking what the hell is going on. When I saw the box I recognized it immediately. I had almost given up on the bike ever reaching me. I immediately put it together and rode to Gene's shop to show off. Of course it was no big deal for him because he had a shop full of Rochets. He sponsored a club and we rode everyweekend. Sometimes on Belle Island for races around the Island and other times to Romeo for the cider mill. Other week ends we would ride to Kensington and hold cross country races and a picknick. Usually the rides were about 50 to 60 miles. No real sweat when your young and fit. Gene's was a great bike rider when he was younger and had tried out for the Olympics. His wife was also a great rider. He also trained Bob Trevoni who did make the Olympic team. He also trained a woman whose name I cannot remember, but she to rode in the Olympics in the late 50ies. It is frustrating not to be able to remember her name because she lived on the west side not far from me. The bike in the picture has fenders and I cannot for the life of me ever seeing fenders on a Rochet. Not in Gene's shop or in the Paris shop. When I bought my bike in the Paris shop I told the owner that I wanted a track bike. He convinced me rightly so that I needed a rode bike. I would never have been able to ride a track bike back to my outfit in Germany from Paris. As it turned out my new saddle on the rode bike blistered my bottom and on the second day I padded up and rode most of the day standing on the pedals. The ride was over three hundred miles and I had just three days to get back. I was one sore and tired soilder when I arrived back in Kaiserslautern on Sunday evening. I made it for role call Monday morning. A serious rider needs both a rode bike and a track bike. Different training regimes. What I needed was a coach full time. One who could motivate me on my off days. I could ride hard one day and then the second day was hell for me. My third day was strong enough but one needs to ride hard everyday to qualify for the Olympic team. I guess that is why the best riders come from out west. They have the mountains to train on and there is nothing better than mountains for training. You either become a great rider or the mountain wins. Not many great riders. I remember watching one small Spaniard,whose name I forget, riding in the Tour- France. When the group came to the mountains and started ascending he just stood up and walked away from the lead group like they were standing still. Amazing that one individual can be so far superior. I will never forget how he looked. He won the Tour that year. Maybe the middle 60ies. My bike has Campy equiptment and a Brooks saddle.
Was the rider Jeanne Omelenchuck?
I knew of Jeanne and her husband
> owned a bike shop or a custom shop that made frames. The shop was on the
> east side somewhere on Van Dyke near 8mile road. She was a great rider but
> she is not the girl I am thinking of. Oh yes Bob Trevoni had a sister who
> also rode competitively.
> Gene Portuese had a partner who split and started his own bike shop. His
> name was Mike Walden. They had a falling out and I never was able to
> discover what it was about. Mike's bike shop was across from U. of D. at
> 6mile road and Livernois.
> paying about 12 dollars for the Brooks saddle. That was a lot for a saddle.
> But I still have it and it is so comfortable.
Clinton Twp., MI