1941 Goeland: Disappointments and a Decision

Louis Moire founded Goeland Cycles at 44 Rue Etienne Marcel in Paris in 1935.  He intended to offer high quality frames which could be built up around lower cost components.  He called himself a “constructeur”.  In reality, Goeland frames were probably outsourced to other builders.

1950’s Goeland advertisement.

A few years ago I purchased a Goeland bicycle on eBay.  I knew from the photos that the bicycle needed some minor frame repairs, but judging from the seller’s photos, nothing seemed catastrophic.

The seat stay rack attachment had failed, and the mixte sloping top tube attachment to the right side seat tube had also cracked.  Another brazing mishap involved the rear rack – one of the brazes had failed.

But, after preparing the frame to be cleaned and waxed, I saw that the Cyclo derailleur mount on the drive side chain stay had also failed.  I hadn’t noticed this before, but if you look closely at the above photo of the right side derailleur mount braze to the chain stay, you can see that it has detached.

That made me think about this bike’s history.  While theorizing is probably something to be avoided, I do believe that this frame was built in 1941 (at least the Durifort main tubes which are beautifully brazed with nicely filed Oscar Egg lugs).  The frame and fork feature numerous “41” markings.  However, some of the components indicate that this bike was built up for riding in the late 1940’s.  The brake levers and calipers are MAFAC, a marque not introduced until 1946 or 1947 according to my research.

Mafac brake levers to engage the Mafac cantilevers.

Rigida 650b 1940-41 rims

The wheelset for this bike dates to 1940 or 1941.  Since all the other marks on the frame are “41”, I have  concluded that this bike is a 1941 frame.

I have theorized that this Goeland’s Durifort main tubes were brazed in 1941, and as you can see from the above map of occupied France this bike may have not been built up during the occupation.  Perhaps the bike was never assembled until after Paris was liberated in 1944.  At that juncture, manufacturing and other activities that had been halted during the occupation would have been put on overdrive, due to pent up demand.

As was typical in cycling workshops of the time, experienced builders would assemble the main tubes, and apprentices would be assigned the job of the “simple” brazing – rack mounts, and other braze-ons.  Perhaps this particular apprentice needed a bit more training.  If the final assembly of this bike occurred after Paris was liberated, that would help to explain the MAFAC brakes (A new marque, previously known as Securite).  However, the numerous frame failures on this Goeland are notable.  And, I think they do relate the sketchy history that accompanies the Nazi occupation of France during the mid 1940’s.  One possibility is that since metals were in low supply during the occupation, the less important brazes got minimal silver or brass for their brazes.  The bike has no dents or bent tubes, and is not out of alignment, indicating that the failures were not the result of a crash.

Annie Laurin, original owner of this Goeland.

My goal now is to honor Annie Laurin’s bicycle.  I have decided NOT to repair the frame, but rather to preserve this Goeland in its original state, serving as a map to this Goeland’s history.  That history includes brazing errors, which possibly contain some important information.

Minoura Interior Bike Rack Product Review

Recently, I ended my longstanding relationship with Subaru Foresters.  I have been driving Foresters for several decades.  They are reliable, strong, and can drive through just about anything.

For bicycle transport, I have always used hitch mounted racks.  The above rack is a Yakima wheel tray rack – an ideal way to transport bikes.  There is no contact with the frame, no disassembly is required, and you can see the bikes at all times in your rear view mirror.  However, this method subjects the bikes to the elements and to potential theft.  Also, the Yakima rack would frequently need tightening at the hitch mount to keep it from wobbling.  The main reason for my hitch on the Subaru was an often expressed birthday wish – a Teardrop Trailer – which has not yet materialized despite years of hints and pleas.

Minoura Vergo-TF2

I recently purchased a Toyota Highlander to replace the Forester.  It is quite a bit larger than the Forester, so before I ordered my Teardrop Trailer hitch mount (hope springs eternal), I decided to investigate whether I could use an internal rack to transport my bikes.  There are many products available, including carriers made by well known manufacturers such as Saris and Thule.  There are also interesting innovations from CycleRest – which uses the rear vehicle seat headrest as a mounting point, and Bikeinside, which uses a telescopic rail to secure the rack to the interior sides of the vehicle.  And, if you are a decent woodworker (which I am decidedly NOT), you can make your own custom interior rack to fit the vehicle in question.

The first thing to consider when deciding on using an internal bike rack is the height of the vehicle’s cargo area.  The Highlander’s cargo height isn’t all that tall, so before I ordered the rack I measured the height, and then measured a bike on hand with its front wheel removed – measuring its tallest point, that being the saddle.  I realized then that it would be necessary to either remove the saddle, or shove it all the way down.  In fact, for the Guerciotti which I enlisted for my first transport trial, I shoved the saddle all the way down, and then reversed it, so that it would follow the sloped contours of the Highlander’s interior.  Once done, it was very easy to get the bike in position, with one of the rear seats was folded down, and lock the fork into the Minoura’s fork mount.  The fork mount rotates fully and can be locked in any position, in case you want to turn the bars sideways, which might be necessary if you are transporting more than one bike.  Then, I went for a 3 hour drive.  The rack worked perfectly despite the fact that nothing is really holding it in place.  The bike never wobbled, and there was no annoying rattling, despite some hairpin turns and sudden stops.

These end pieces have a “no-slip” base, which does actually seem to work.  The ends are not weighted at all.  However, since my initial test was with the 22 lb Guerciotti, a small bike with a low bottom bracket, I thought it would be wise to also try out my heaviest and tallest bike.   The Panasonic MC 7500 that I use as a winter/errand bike weighs 28 lbs and because it is a mountain bike, has a high bottom bracket relative to my other bikes.  Fortunately, it also has a quick release seat post which would help to make it easier to transport using the Minoura rack.

Because this bike is so much taller and has upright handlebars, it was more challenging to get the bike in place and mounted.  I once again shoved the saddle down and reversed it, but it might have been wise to remove it altogether.  Once I had the fork blades mounted to the rack’s QR system, I then placed the wheel in the optional wheel holder which I had also purchased, and which is probably not really necessary.  However, the wheel holder does clean up the look of the interior.  As I was attempting to position the bike in order to close the rear hatch on the Highlander I also realized that the bars needed to be dropped down so they could clear the hatch door.

One way to make sure that your bike gets reassembled to your desired seat and handlebar position is to mark the frame and seat tube with a water soluble marker, as shown above, before altering the position for transport.

Minoura Vergo-TF2 with Panasonic MC 7500 inside Toyota Highlander

Once I had the Panasonic locked into position and seemingly secure, I ventured out on another road trip.  The bike seemed stable, but the rack rattled occasionally over bumps.  However, it did not shift position under hard braking or fast cornering.  Conclusion:  this is a decent, inexpensive internal bike rack which will work best for lightweight bikes with plastic fenders, or with no fenders.  You may have to remove your seat post, depending on the height of your cargo area.  Bikes with steel or aluminum fenders cannot be transported with this rack, as the front fender will interfere with the wheel lock.  You can see from the photo above that the flexible portion of the Planet Bike fenders on the Pansonic allowed the front wheel to connect to the rack mount.  Long front fenders will present a problem, and would have to be removed in order to use this rack.

Bicycle Design History and Resources

Gompertz velocipede with front freewheel – June 1821 – courtesy of Polytechnic Journal.

I recently discovered a treasure trove of bicycle history technical materials.  Germany’s Polytechnic Journal was founded in 1821 and has since been digitized.  The journal was conceived by Johann Gottfried Dingler, a German chemist who worked for Augsburger, a German manufacturer.  He was primarily interested in printing and dyeing, but later got involved in publishing scientific journals.  His goal was to explore “natural history, sciences, chemistry, mineralogy, planting”, and machine theory, among other topics.

Sturmey Archer 1903 3 speed hub, courtesy of Polytechnic Journal.

The Polytechnic Journal is a unique resource which documents creative innovations of the time for a variety of scientific innovations – cycling being one of those innovations. The above drawing of the first internal hub invention – Sturmey Archer’s 3 speed hub – accompanies a discussion in the journal of the many ideas and innovations that were developed to address the need to change the gearing ratio on a bicycle to accommodate differing surface grades encountered by the rider.

F. Konig eccentric pedal design – courtesy of Polytechnic Journal, 1903.

Lancelot & Coste, March 1903, eccentric dual bottom bracket, courtesy of Polytechnic Journal.

Here are a few more of those ideas – a pedal which rotates around the crank arm, and a dual bottom bracket which can alter the gearing ratio at the crank.

One of the first freewheels – designed by Markt, Kirk and Merifield – courtesy of Polytechnic Journal, 1903.

But the freewheel, possibly first invented in 1821 (but not officially acknowledged until 1869), is one of the most important innovations in cycling’s history.  Without the ability to freewheel, all of us would be riding fixed gear, with no ability to coast.  If you want to learn more about the history of freewheel design, I recommend Bicycle Design, by Tony Hadland and Hans-Erhard Lessing.  This book contains detailed discussions regarding most of cycling’s engineering innovations, and has excellent illustrations to accompany the only occasionally fatiguing text.

The above examples are just a few of cycling history’s innovations which are documented in this journal.  The journal is written in German, but using a translate tool, I found it to be easily understood. I look forward to further explorations of this resource which continued in publication until 1931.  There are 33,448 articles in all.  I’ve got lots of reading to do!