1901 Peugeot Sans Chaine (Acatene)
1901 Peugeot Valentigney Bicyclette Sans Chaine (Acatene)
The ‘Bicyclette Sans Chaine’ was still a novelty at the turn of the century. With the popularity of shaft-drive models in America in particular, either the chain-driven or chainless design might have dominated. But the chainless – known as acatene in France – was more expensive to produce and, though a much neater style and less greasy for the rider, became too expensive for the market as the competition increased, mass-production was introduced and the prices of chain-driven bicycles came down.
This bicycle was manufactured when Peugeot was still located at their original manufacturing plant, in Valentigney (seen below).
The Valentigney badged machines are the most valued by collectors.
1901 PEUGEOT CYCLE CATALOGUE
According to the 1901 catalogue, the Sans-Chaine ladies or gents bicycles could be ordered with handlebars, mudguards and wheel rims of either wood or aluminium.
Above: The cotterless cranks are interesting, maybe one of the earliest cotterless crank designs.
The location for these photos is a local beauty spot called Devil’s Dyke. If the original owner of this Peugeot Acatene had ventured across the channel to visit Brighton (the steamship SS Dieppe was built for the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway in 1905 for their Newhaven-Dieppe crossing) he would have found Devil’s Dyke to be a well-established and popular destination for weekend visits.
In August 1887 a single track railway line opened up from nearby Brighton to transport sightseers to the foot of the hill. During its heyday, Devil’s Dyke was a huge hit with Edwardians, with 30,000 people visiting on Whit Monday in 1893. In addition to the Steep Grade Railway, other attractions included two bandstands, an observatory, a camera obscura, fairground rides and, later, a switchback railway and an aerial cableway railway across the valley.
Info on Devil’s Dyke Railway thanks to – http://www.urban75.org/railway/devils-dyke.html