The 2020 edition of the Tour de France has unfortunately been shelved, but while the memory of the French Classic is currently running through our veins like a good chablis, let us enjoy another French classic: Maison Tamboite’s modern porteur, Henri.
The workshop of Maison Tamboite will be a name unfamiliar to most unless you were fortunate enough to have a close relationship to Parisian locals like Joséphine Baker, Marlene Dietrich, Sarah Bernhardt and Edith Piaf.
The names of such luminaries were discovered on the old order books of the shop, which was founded in 1912 between Montmartre and the elegant right bank by Léon, who was as much an artist as a constructeur.
Today, Maison Tamboite produces four production models, as well as their custom-made offerings. All four are hybrids with electrical assistance powered by a Zehus rear hub, although an unassisted automatic two-speed hub is an option.
A porteur is a traditional Parisian messenger or delivery bike — a practical, everyday bike with a comfortable, upright riding position. Henri is a contemporary and very stylish interpretation of it, a Columbus tubed-frame with hand-carved and polished lugs.
The frame itself is magnificent, with chrome-plated touches and enamel paint, but the extraordinary details don’t end there: the cables, handlebars and saddle are finished with tanned buffalo leather and the fenders are hand-varnished beechwood.
The days when a bicycle was as much of an important mode of transport as a car has returned, especially to high-density areas such as Paris. We here at The Spoken welcome them back, and would gladly eschew a Renault for Henri.
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