The Great Depression that affected most of the world around 193o hit France a few years later. While the United States experienced a sharp rise in unemployment, France had almost none. Much of that was due to a simple lack of manpower; at the end of World War One, France had 1,322,000 dead and three million wounded, almost 4,000,000 casualties. One in four of the dead was younger than 24. That in turn lowered the birth rate, so that by 1938 France still had only half the number of 19- to 21-year-olds it would have had had the war not happened.
While Great Britain devalued its currency in 1931, France did not devalue, and its banks had problems problems in 1934-1935. The government fell in 1936, being replaced by the Popular Front, an alliance of Socialists and Radicals with support outside the government of the Communists. They introduced many popular measures such as a 40-hour working week and holidays with pay, and it was in this environment that the use of tandems by families for touring really took off. Although tandems had always been popular in France, this was the era when the most luxurious machines were built. They were eventually replaced, after World War Two, by France’s most popular small car, the Citroen 2CV.
1935 Tandem de Luxe ‘Louqsor’
with Concealed Chain
Constructeur M. Bonnivard
Frame: Front 21.5″ / Rear 20.5″
26″ x 1 3/8″ Wheels
Le Martele Mudguards
This de luxe tandem is in superb original unrestored condition with its original pin-striping intact. Its outstanding and unique feature is a concealed front chain. I can not find anything to criticise on the machine, except the front handlebar grips could be replaced to match the rear grips. It is ready for display and is also set up for touring.
BICYCLETTES DE LUXE
M. BONIVARD CONSTRUCTEUR
13, Impasse Daunay, Paris XI
Little is known about the ‘constructeur’ M. Bonnivard. He made bicycles under the ‘Louqsor’ marque and, when the touring tandem was in its heyday in the mid-thirties, he made this superb top-of-the-range de luxe tandem. This is the only known survivor.
The only documentation I’ve found about this company is the envelope above. I checked the above address on google street view, and it would appear to have been redeveloped (below).