Golden Age and Competition Bikes out of printJan Heine
After a remarkable run over 15 years, our first book, The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles, is now out of print. Published in 2005, The Golden Age was at the start of our fascination with the French constructeurs. It made Rene Herse and Alex Singer household names. If cyclists today admire beautiful fender lines and fully integrated bicycles, it’s in part because of this book.
The Golden Age became a best-seller almost overnight, and our first edition sold out quickly. We published a second edition with Rizzoli, which ensured even wider distribution.
The book was translated into Japanese, French and German. It remained in print for a decade and then was re-issued in the lower-priced Rizzoli Classics format. Fifteen years is a remarkably long run for any book, especially in today’s fast-paced publishing world.
Now, after more than 30,000 copies (in all languages), it’s out of print, and there are no immediate plans to reissue it. Already, the book is popping up on used-book web sites for $ 100 and more… Fortunately, we’ve got a few copies left at the original price of $ 35.
If you’ve been curious about the beautiful bikes from the famous constructeurs and also the mid-century cycling culture that surrounded them, you don’t want to miss this book. It’s not just full of beautiful studio photos of the most amazing bikes, it’s also a great story.
When we published The Golden Age, many readers asked for a similar book about racing bikes. Why not? With youthful ambition, we decided to feature not just racing bikes, but the bikes ridden by famous racers in actual competition. We searched the entire world for the bikes of the champions, starting with Eddy Merckx’ bike on the cover: In 1974, the ‘Cannibal’ rode it to victory in the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia and the world championships!
Working on The Competition Bicycle was a fun project: I got to prepare the bikes of Fausto Coppi, Gino Bartali, Greg LeMond, Tony Rominger and many others for photography, as well as super-rare machines like this early-1900s racing Pedersen. With each bike, there was a lot of research to ensure that it really was what it was purported to be. (It seems that every green 1950s Bianchi is attributed to Fausto Coppi…)
The book featured not only racers, but also other forms of competition – even the French newspaper couriers, whose annual race was hard-fought and carried a lot of prestige. The Competition Bicycle also became a big success, with editions in French and German. It’s now also out of print, but we still have copies of the original first edition.
Update: All remaining copies of The Golden Age of Handbuilt Cycles sold out within a few hours. We still have a few French ones available at the same link above, as well as The Competition Bicycle.