Click here to view at The Online Bicycle Museum
On July 7, 1933, Francis Faure rode a Vélocar developed by Charles Mochet to beat the hour record of 44.247 km that had been set by Oscar Egg in 1914. This prompted the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) to restrict bicycle designs for all future competitions, effectively banning recumbents. It’s worth noting that they would not have dared do this had the bicycle been made by one of the large manufacturers such as Peugeot with the resources to challenge that ruling in court. But Mochet’s company was a small concern. Charles Mochet died soon after the 1934 ban.
Having built such a fast lightweight bicycle with dynamic design, this was undoubtedly a setback. In 1938, Faure set a record in a Vélocar streamliner, to become the first cyclist to exceed 50 km in one hour, but this record was unofficial because of the UCI ban on non-traditional styles. This does pose an interesting question – What would cycle racing be like today if the Velocar had not been banned?
1934-1936 Mochet Velo-Velocar
My friend Bob owned this Velocar for several decades. It’s in original unrestored condition, and over the years has been considered the best surviving example. Bob is fastidious about his bicycles, so the accessories are correct, such as the Vitalux front lamp. He explained to me that there are no frame numbers on these bicycles, but this model was produced between 1934 and 1936. So he fitted a 1935 French year plate. It also retains its French owner’s name plate at the top of the steering head, and a white circular tag on the rear mudguard which was used during World War 2.
It’s obviously worthy of a museum display …but this fabulous machine is in excellent working order, so it’s more important this it is ridden for more people to appreciate the importance of recumbent bicycles in the history of cycle racing.
VELOCAR v ‘NORMAL’
THE 1938 RECORD VELOCAR STREAMLINER
1932 PATHE NEWS SHORT FILM ‘ARMCHAIR CYCLING’
To see the Pathe News short video
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