I have been a member of the CR List for about two years now, and during tha t time there have probably been four or five enquiries about the builders o f Anquetil frames and bikes. Maitre Jacques name has been put on all manner of frames from the bottom en ders to top Pro models..the Helyett Speciale being the first one in the top -end category, during the mid to late 50s when he rode this company's bikes to glory in the Tour de France. No doubt Anquetil was pleased to license his name to several manufacturers, and I know of good 531 frames bearing his name that were built in St Etien ne, possibly by Cizeron, who also marketed "Bernard Thevenet" bikes. Gitane or its holding company Micmo(or was it MICMA) also knocked out a series of Anquetil road bikes for one of the larger supermarket chains, in the 70/80 s. The last French company to have a bash was established in the late 80s, but was still-born, and no frames produced..or at least very few. This comp any was headed up by none other than master-builder Andre Sabliere, at the request of Anquetil's daughter, and intended to produce a range of quality road bikes and frames. I am still waiting for my first order to be delivere d some fifteen or more years later. In England both Carlton and MKM made A nquetil frames at one time or another. However it wasn't until very recently that I learned the name of the builde r who alledgedly built all Jacques personal frames. I had bought a complete bike from a keen French amateur rider based in the outer suburbs of Paris, and it was a pleasant trip to divert from the outer ring-road and delve th rough the leafy "quartiers", past the Meunier chocolate factory to collect it. The seller , an incredibly fit looking retiree, who claimed to still be an active "Diagonaliste" and "pistard" was also a Commissaire for the French F ederation, and fully- involved in planning, judging etc etc, as he had bee n for some decades. The bike itself was a "Bernard Carre", beautifully built in Super Vitus 992 , with long-point windowed Prugnat lugs, and fully decked with the best of top French equipment. Chromed fork and stays, head-lugs, fork crown, and se at-stay top-eyes, set off the light metallic green paintwork, and gold lini ng. Quite a jewel in the Parisian autumn sunshine! I have several Carres already but did not know until M Commissaire explain ed to me that it was Carre who built all of Anquetil's personal frames. Fro m an atelier in the 10eme arrondissement of Paris, Bernard toiled away at p roducing frames ,none of which ever carried his own transfers. The only wa y to tell a Carre is by the "B.Carre" normally stamped into the seat-stay t op-eye plates...and note, I mean stamped not engraved. I had for some time wondered whether Carre, one of a number of jobbing buil ders in the Paris suburbs, had been involved with building the Service de C ourse frames for Lejeune. Certainly Carre's top-eye plates resemble very cl osely those on the Lejeune frames..and his workshop would only be 15 minute s away from the Maison Alfort factory along the "peripherique" Last Easter I had spotted in a S/H shop near Montelimar a 61cms Carre, with a full French build-up. It had been hand-sprayed in metallic violet with m id-green highlights...pretty unpleasant..but I could just about decipher "B .Carre" on the top plates. At 40 euros, about £28 it was a bargain..bu t I hesitated. Seven weeks later on my return to Calais I intended to buy t he bike..it was still there..but I needed the spare capacity on my bike rac k to pick up two other rare finds further up the autoroute..so I left it da ngling on its peg, surrounded by Mercier and Motobecane twin-lat ladies' bi kes and a sundry assortment of Italian folders. Needless to say..I called in the same shop in early July..and the Carre had flown.. I wonder if the new owner imagines himself as Maitre Jacques as he drapes himself along the bike, and pedals along aping Anquetil's curious t oe-down pedalling style.
Norris Lockley ...not knowing whether to ride my Helyetts or my Carres..Set tle UK