French is most definitely the flavour for the next couple of weeks, as the 105th edition of the Tour de France hits its stride — a perfect time to profile a Peugeot PA60 that’s been impeccably restored.
Like many modern car manufacturers, Peugeot originally produced bicycles. Jean Pequignot Peugeot was building water mills back in the 19th century before investing in a steel mill to make knives, forks, and hydraulic equipment.
Cycles Peugeot produced their first penny-farthing in 1882 and escalated production until, during World War 1, they were building 63,000 bikes a year — as well as 9,000 cars and trucks, 1,000 motorcycles, 10,000 plane engines, and 6 million artillery shells.
Today, there are plenty of Peugeot bikes to be had for the classic cycling aficionado, but they’re also highly collectable. Sometimes, if you’re lucky — like Jochen Vander Eecken — you can stumble upon one, quite literally, in a barn.
Jochen is a Belgian Digital Project Manager and self-confessed gear-head. His career keeps him focused on a computer screen but he balances this by hunting down and restoring vintage racing bikes.
A Peugeot P8E was his first project, which involved a complete rebuild and he’s been hooked on the classics ever since. These days, he also co-manages a group of 8000+ Dutch speaking enthusiasts, bringing together like-minded & highlighting retro events.
Jochen tells us how he came upon the PA60: “I saw the bicycle advertised online on a second hand website. The pictures weren’t that great, a bit dark and unsharp but I could see it was a Peugeot bicycle hanging in a small yet crammed garage.
“There is something about old French bicycles that intrigue me, especially randonneurs. As it was only a 40 minute drive I decided to contact the seller and check it out. Arriving at the address a charming old couple (89-90 years) awaited my arrival (the person on the phone was their daughter).
“They took me to the garage were the bicycle was hanging, flipped on the light switch and there it was… covered in years of dust, surrounded by old garden tools and storage boxes. Turns out he was the first owner and hadn’t ridden it in years due to backache.
“The bicycle was really well maintained, you couldn’t tell it was used for more than 25+ years (bought 1975). But since it stood still for quite some time I gave it an entire rebuild:
• Wash and light polish
• New cables and housing (brakes / derailleurs)
• Serviced all bearings (axel, rims, headset, freewheel)
• New old stock Mafac brake handles — the old ones had some scratches and wall marks
• Classic cotton Velox steering tape
Added a few extra details:
• Authentic handlebar bag
• Original service manual, explaining how to maintain and repair your Peugeot bicycle throughout the years
• Vintage leg clips
Peugeot advertised the bike back in the day as “For Gentlemen”. It should give the rider the same lightweight feeling of a racing bicycle, yet give it the extra benefits of a randonneur (fenders, lights & front rack). You can see light similarities of the frame with, for example, the legendary Peugeot PX10.
Jochen believes he inherited his love for spending time in the workshop from his father, who could always be found in his garage. It’s a trait that would benefit all of us who spend too much time these days in front of a screen.