These days taking your bike has many benefits, not only economically for environmental means but riding a bike can be pure pleasure time when you have a good bicycle and a nice route ahead.
We talked to Frederic Jastrzebski, the head of Maison Tamboite in Paris, which was initially founded by Léon Leynaud, a painter and businessman in Paris who had a strong passion for bicycles and who had his first bicycle brand Les cycles rich in 1912 on Rue Dulong.
IRMA: Your bikes are bespoke or at least you are offering a very high level of personalization. What is the process if I wanted to have a bike made for IRMA?
FREDERIC JASTRZEBSKI: Very much like a “haute couture” maison, we present our collections on a regular basis. Each model is characterized by a singular design and a sum of very specific details (from the lugs to the leather and wood works) that contribute to the singularity of the creation. Our clients will then basically select one of our creations, and we will each time execute it specifically for them, to order and according to their precise physical measurements.
Every order starts with a measurement session that can take place either in our showroom in Paris or at another location if the client prefers us to travel and to meet him at the place of his convenience, anywhere in the world. We need to take 15 measurements (total height, inseam, arms, legs, shoulders…) in order to build then a computerized model of the person that we will use in our computer-aided design software, in order to redesign each time the geometry of our creation specifically for the person.
Of course, the client will also choose among our collection of colors and, with our help, select the tones of wood and leather that will best match the color he has chosen for the enameling of the frame. If the client wants it, and we will encourage him to do so, he can also review half a dozen little details, from the color of the stitching threads of the leather to the one of the inserts of the lugs.
Hence, each model we build is by essence unique, not only in its dimensions, but also in the combination of colors and materials. Nevertheless it always respects the original design that makes it our creation.
IRMA: How long does it take to create the bike and how much would it cost?
FREDERIC JASTRZEBSKI: Once the order is finalized in all its details, the building process can start. It lasts for three months and implies hundreds of hours, mostly in our workshop (for the building of the frame and the work on each and every little piece that will constitute the bike), but also with other Parisian artisans who will demonstrate their special expertise for the polishing, the chroming, the enameling or the leatherwork. Depending on the model chosen, and the option, or not, for our hybrid and connected electric drive system, the prices will range from €11.000 to €15.500.
IRMA: I can see that you are using wood and leather. Does that mean that I have to be extra careful not to let the bike stay outside?
FREDERIC JASTRZEBSKI: We choose our materials, and especially our leathers and woods, not only for the emotion it generates when it is new, but also for their ability to acquire a unique patina over time. Weather exposure will contribute to that patina and, of course, the more frequent and intense it will be, the quicker the bike will acquire such patina. It really is the client’s choice to either avoid his bicycle to become patinated “too” early or, on the contrary, to expose it to weathering.
IRMA: Which is your most successful model?
FREDERIC JASTRZEBSKI: Henri, our masculine “Parisian Porteur”’, is probably as of today the most appreciated model of our current collection, both in its conventional and electrical versions. The more feminine version, Dalou, follows it closely.
IRMA: What do you love most about riding a bike these days?
FREDERIC JASTRZEBSKI: A lot of things actually. I love the fact that, in a city like Paris, it is by all means the fastest way to go from one place to another. I love the fact that moving around the city, even for business purposes, can become an opportunity to have a pleasant moment when you can relax, enjoy yourself and what you see. Personally, I’m not into speed or into a too intense physical effort, and I like to turn my movements around the city into moments for myself when I can enjoy the city and think at the same time. I don’t have to rush because I know that almost nothing will stop me or slow me down on my way.
I can also confess that I like the look in the eyes of passersby when they notice my bike and the overall elegance and ease with which I travel. It is a great moral booster!