Peter WeiglePosted: May 26, 2011
Today I drove out to Lyme, Connecticut to meet with one of my favourite frame builders, Peter Weigle. Peter came to England in the early 1970’s to work at Witcomb Cycles in London, a few months after Richard Sachs arrived there.
Here are some pictures from the workshop visit:
I asked Peter what it felt like to have played such a big part in the revival and popularization of the randonneur bicycle – he replied that it felt very special, especially as he was becoming slightly disillusioned with making road racing bikes, which he felt were becoming very generic and mainly in the Italian or classic English style, when he started to get hooked on the French style randonneur bikes, borne partly out of his collection of fenders from bikes of this type. This renaissance of interest in the randonneur bikes began in about 2003. He explained to me how these bikes, as well as being very elegant and having graceful, balanced lines and exquisite racks that sit perfectly in harmony with the rest of the bike, they are extremely practical, as they owe their heritage to a time when the riders of these machines would not own a car, and so they had to be used in all weathers and for carrying small loads on all types of road surface.
Peter described how they are fast enough for him to keep up with friends on high-end road bikes (Peter does come from a racing background..), and they are very stable on descents and over poor roads or loose surfaces.
I put this question to Peter: Are vision, taste and style as important as the hand skills required in custom frame building? Peter replied “Without question”. To Peter, proportion, lines and balance are key factors. Peter’s customers often enjoy being part of the process of buying and ordering his bikes, sometimes having discussions at weekend meetings.
Peter and I spoke about other aspects of bicycle making, equipment and also about the importance of different types of bike shows.
I made some notes to write up in my report when I return to the UK.
I was really glad that I got to meet Peter as I greatly admire his work.