Clement & Cie was one of France’s top manufacturers in the early years of cycling, and a leading contender in racing. Adolphe Clement recognized the importance of the automobile, so he merged his company with Humber and Gladiator in 1896, and the new concern started manufacturing automobiles. Clement also understood the importance of advertising, and he employed well-known French artists to design posters to publicise the Clement brand.
1900 Velo Dame ‘Clement’
26″ Wheels (26 x 1 1/2″ Tyres)
Only rich ladies bought bicycles at the turn of the century. They had a keen appreciation of the ascetics of bicycle design. So this Clement bicycle was not built purely as a means of transportation, but as a work of art, the simplicity of its style a thing of beauty.
Observe the ‘quill’ pedals, plunger front brake, ‘Cycles Clement’ engraving at the front of the handlebar, ornate head badge, Clement name (faded) on the pedal cranks, skirt guard over the rear wheel and contemporary ‘Brilliant’ leather saddle.
Because of its pinstriping, I thought the paintwork was original. However, it might have been repainted a long time ago when the art of pinstriping was still alive. This beautiful Victorian lady’s bicycle was previously owned by a charming friend who no longer rides. Most bicycles of this era were built in a tall size. Though the saddle post is currently raised on this machine for a taller rider, its small frame size would accommodate a lady around 5′ 3″ tall with 27″ inside leg.