[CR]Jo Routens

Example: Racing:Beryl Burton

From: "Norris Lockley" <norris@norrislockley.wanadoo.co.uk>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2006 15:47:09 -0000
Subject: [CR]Jo Routens

hello, John. I'm pleased to advise you that Jo's son, Jean-Paul, and his wife are still very much in business in France. In the very early 80s they moved from the centre of Grenoble where Jo had run the family business , and built large new premises on the outskirts of the city at Gieres. Anyone setting out to see the Alpe d'Huez stage of this year's Tour de France should call in and say "hello"

I know that there are detractors who criticise the new shop for not being very different from most of the others that we see today, but I doubt whether Jean-Paul really ever wanted to rid his capacious shelves of all those French goodies that were once stacked there. He was one of the first of the large dealers to realise that he couldn't afford to play the King Canute of the cycle trade by trying to stop the inflow of accessories from the Far East. Instead he selected judiciously and now twenty years later his business is the largest mail-order cycle company in France with a hi-spec hi-image catalogue available on virtuually every newstand..or so it seems.

Until the late 80s, possibly a few years more, Jean-Paul was still carrying on the family tradition of building frames from his cavernous workshops underneath the main showroom, hand-building anything from a simple and basic Aelle-tubed traing frame up to a sophisticated touring tandem worthy of his father's and the family's fine reputation. Probably that activity has stopped now unfortunately, brushed aside by the tidal wave of foreign alloy frames. I traded with the company until the early 90s and it was a joy to be left to roam among the shelves and to search out the old stock of goodies. The company was even in the early 80s a major importer, distributor and wholesaler, and enjoyed having the Columbus tubing concession for France.

As I recall the company's decals have never been overly fancy, being just simple gold capital letters edged on black. In the time that I traded with Jean-Paul I never saw anything approaching either a headbadge or a seat-tube one - just "ROUTENS".

I think he would be very pleased and flattered to receive an enquiry about the renovation of one of their randonneurs, and could probably help with dating it.

If you have no luck in contacting him I still have one set of ROUTENS transfers but they were unfortunately designed to adorn a mountain bike and tend towards the lurid in colour..."Where needs must..." They do however retain the basic shape of the letters used on the classier frames. I could send you some images.

I think I may have given this advice before, but if any of the LIsters are in that neck-of-the woods, they should go the extra handful of kilometres up the main roadin the direction of Chambery, just as far as the small town of Goncelin, where the two brithers CATTIN have plied the cycle trade for a good number of years. One of them still works from a small workshop in a back-street where he continues to repair cycles for the locals, while the other one, Daniel (as I remember) still builds frames, including tandems, in the style of the best "constructeurs" from a workshop and shop on the northern edge of the town, alongside the main Route Nationale. He was still there when I called in last August.

Norris Lockley...Settle UK