Remembering Paul Farren



1920s ‘Cycles Paul’

(Manufactured by Riffaterre of Bourg-de-Peage, France)

22″ Frame

28″ Wheels

Paul Farren was a good friend and I miss him. We regularly chatted on the phone and emailed about vintage bicycles. He lived in Australia and I’m in England, so we considered ourselves ‘penpals’ …harking back to the days of our youth – a long time before email and text messages were invented – when kids wrote letters to friends in foreign countries.

Most of our communications revolved around our mutual obsession …vintage bicycles. We sold bicycles to each other, we shared photos when we were working on something or found a bike of interest, asked each other’s opinions on their fabrication, history or identity, and shipped stuff for each other.

A ‘Cycles Paul’ is a very rare machine. I knew they once existed because I’d seen a head badge for one many years ago, and I’d been keeping an eye out for a long time as I knew Paul would love it. Unfortunately he died in October last year, before this one turned up for sale in France. But I decided that it would be a good way to help keep his memory alive. I took these photos at my favourite background location, a wall with ‘patina’.

The inaugural ‘Paul Farren Memorial Ride’ will take place at the City of London Guildhall on 16 June 2018. Paul’s wife Charlie will come over from Australia for the event and will ride the ‘Cycles Paul’. I intend making it an annual event, and will keep the ‘Cycles Paul’ for that purpose.

I’ve no idea how psychics communicate with those who have passed, it’s not something that has particularly interested me. But the ‘language’ (ie mutual appreciation) of vintage bicycles does not need translation. It might seem like something from of a Flann O’Brien novel, but if connecting with another dimension does exist, I’m sure that for enthusiasts a bicycle itself would be the medium of communication. Paul had a wicked sense of humour. So if, while riding this bicycle, an awful joke suddenly appears from the ether – or maybe a revelation about the history of the company that made the ‘Cycles Paul’ – I’ll certainly know its source. To quote Paul: “Love. Laugh. Ride on.” 🙂




The British memorial event for Paul Farren was in Bristol, on Saturday, 24 March, 2018.































Bourg-de-Peage, France

‘Paul’ was a model name used by ‘Cycles Riffaterre’. I’ve not managed to find out anything about this company, except they are mentioned in a 1908 Michelin Guide, which revealed their location to be Bourg-de-Peage. The postcard illustrated above shows that town.