Monday, January 26, 2009

Love at first sight: Astra

Per your request. It is a great conversation starter, my favorite method of transportation and obviously we are attached at the hip. I have no exact name, year, make for each and every component, but I love every inch of this steel beauty, so here is a set of pictures. Feel free to get technical, if you must.

December 2006
Le info: This bicycle was passed on from relatives. They told me in the old-school-of-thought "Oh aren't you into bicycles? Get that bike some purpose, it's just sitting there." I was certainly flattered.
Purchased in San Francisco in the 70's along with a matching blue male Peugeot bicycle (stolen in the 90's). The photo above is how I found her. Replaced parts are the tires, inner tubes, brake pads and brake cables. Additions: Initial tune-up & tlc by a dear friend at Lombardi's sometime ago, basket from American Cyclery and most recently, fenders from Box Dog Bikes.
The rear release knobs were replaced for new bolts. The rest of the components are original and in incredible shape. The rear & front derailleurs are by Huret. It is made in France, Motobecane Astra with Tour de France decals. All 10 gears work, the bell rings old school and the saddle is smooth as butter.
Funny fact is that blue is not a favorite color but it has grown on me (both my bikes are blue & white). And yes I got the blue flats just because they matched... Enjoy!
-Click on any image to enlarge-

Previous city treks with this bike tagged thefrenchie


  1. That is beautiful! I'm sure someone will be giving you an approximate year of manufacture, history etc. I like the "M" cutouts and chrome pieces on the downtubes.

  2. Astra's a beauty! Love the "Tour de France" graphic, tres cool. Thank you for finally sharing your story. You mentioned putting a chain guard on the bicycle previously - how does that work on a 10 speed? Where the heck can you find one? I want a bicycle with a chain guard, but that really limits one's options in the US. Now I know your secret to the hills... I am really inspired by your love, care, and recycling. If I could find such a lovely bike I would be honored.

  3. she's a beauty. como se llama?

  4. I just love those gorgeous M's everywhere! Obviously NOT made in China.
    I had the same feeling about my blue bike but it was the only choice for that model last year. Of course, this year it comes in green, my favorite color. But I've had a great year on my blue bike, and I've also been known to buy something because it matches my bike (hasn't every girl?).

  5. SO nice!

    That's probably a late 60s Astra...I have a 1971 Astra "Tour de Belgique" made in Belgium, but it is not nearly as nice as yours. I love the cutouts in the chrome fork caps!

  6. What a BEAUTY! I love the lines especially, nice condition too on top of it. I especially like the little details.

    ...OMG, you won't believe this but I too am the recent owner of a Motobecane, early 70's, ladies step through frame in that same lovely blue shade. (I'd been planning on writing a post...mine is a $10.00 project bike from Bike Church, and I'm still working on it.)

    I didn't guess we'd be 'related' via our bikes. How funny!

  7. There are some absolutely beautiful details on this bike. Thanks for sharing finally!

  8. This is a super awesome post and I must say that between you and Copenhagen Cycle Chic I am getting very tempted to get a real bike! I have had 3 stolen from me in past years, so it's hard to even take out my clunky Paul Frank cruiser because all the 9 year olds want to steal it or hump it (as I found them doing last time I took it out).

    Anyway, seems that blue suits you and can't wait to see it in person some day!

  9. Motobecane's "Astra" bikes were imported into the USA in the early 70s. They retailed for about $100 brand new back then.

    This bike deserves to be ridden! Well done on it.

  10. Love your website! Very inspiring and creative.

    You might enjoy this art project I just started: ShoesOnMyBike ( Anyone can post a photo of shoes on their (favorite) bike. ;) Please submit a photo.



  11. yay, thanks for the bike porn! what a gorgeous beast. I love all the Motobecane "m" cutouts and especially the silver plates on the top tubes. i wonder what those were for, to reduce wear from being struck by high heeled shoes? Fabulous!

  12. old is new and oh so hot... your blue is the new blue..

  13. It's the shoes that make it all work together.

  14. What a gorgeous set of wheels! It would be a perfect ride for the upcoming inaugural Thursday Tweed Ride on February 12th!

    Also, please if you could spread the word about Thursday Tweed to all who enjoy the fine pleasures of bicycles, bow ties, and herringbone! It should be a lovely ride through this fair city and as they say the more the merrier!

  15. ♥thanks so much everyone for the lovely comments!!

    placidCasual/ ;)

    RatTrap/ yes, and it always comes from old timers wanting to share their stories, often in front of a bakery of coffee shop, very sweet!

    Sigrid/ thanks you dear! yes, tell me about it, the chainguard has been a process, I agree with you. There are custom-made ones but it is very particular esp. for 2 rings, we'll see.

    CyclingTeacher/ ♥!!

    C_C_rider/ gracias cariño. do'h! se me olvido lo mas importante! her name is The Frenchie

    Lynn/ yes, M is for Meli! ha haa LOL. Wouldnt it be cool to monogram your bikes though?! and yes we are matching fanatics, you're right -who isn't ;)

    GhostRider/ thanks! yes those M wings are the cutest!

    RidingPretty/ Thank you♥ No way!? well you better let me know when you're around in the city, we should def. go for a motobecanes-only ride! cant wait to see your pics, we are now bike cousins!

    Thom/ you're very welcome!

    MaryJo/ I'm flattered yes, it'd be fun! and THAT is hilarious those nautty pre-teenagers!! well, thank you♥ yes we will meet next time you're in SF, or viceversa :)

    Fritz/ that sounds about right ;) thanks!

    Christa/ thanks for stopping by

    Patrick/ yes, indeed. I love your thinking! That area works quite well with the locks and prevents any further scratching on the frame etc.

    Chiara Kael/ haa ♥thanks!

    YuriB/ couldn't agree more with you :)

    Colin/ Excellent! I saw the London snaps and was wondering if there will be some eye candy here soon. Will put it on my event side roll! Thanks for stopping by

  16. What a beauty! You know she has some stories to tell. How nice that you fixed her up and gave her a happy home.

  17. oui.. the frenchie. you could also call her 'la coqueta' because she likes to ride with the boys... like her owner ;)

  18. Thanks for the details -- I love this bike. Perhaps I'll be lucky enough to inherit something this good one day! :)

  19. Your bike and blog are so cute! I'm attached at the hip to my 70s blue peugot! Our bikes look like cousins, maybe I'll see you around the neighborhood! :)

  20. I love your bike and blog! Mine's a blue peugeot from the 70s! They look like they could be cousins :)

  21. trisha/ you're very welcome! thanks for enjoying the frenchie's details ;)

    shikka/ thanks so much!! yes please say hello if we cross paths yes! then our long-lost bike cousins can reunite :D

  22. Just ran across your blog! I have an Astra that was a gift (well, I picked it out) to me in 1972. It's got it's share of wear and tear, but I've never bought another bike. My family would love to see me on something new but...

    Yours is a beaut! Great to know there are other fans out there.


  23. I just got a beautiful old beat up Astra from the Bike Hut in SF on Saturday. I'm loving this bike so much - that swooping frame is a real charmer!

    I want to get the decals re-done and the frame repainted. Do you have any suggestions for someone who does the Tour de France and Astra decals? Are yours original or re-done?

    Happy Trails!

  24. I've a 71-2 gold Astra "Tour de Belgique" new condition, given to me by my staff when I was moving on, lovely bike. Am selling it for $125 with a new helmet. Call me at 630-906-1825. The blogs are great!


  25. Cassandra/ oh that's great! astras are awesome :) thanks for your nice comments :-)

    Joanna Ricco/ oh my, iknow wxactly which bike!! (ithink) that nice guy stopped me once to compliment the frenchie, how cool, send pictures anytime if you'd like!! cheers/

    anonymous/ ok ride on

  26. What does the "M" stand for? Is it a «Motobécane»?

  27. very beautiful bike and wonderful blog

  28. I inherited my moms white Astra Tour de France 10 speed which also has Belle de Paris on it, and blue and red trim. It appears to be in good shape too. It is really hard to find pics and info on it. Thanks for sharing yours

  29. Finally, an issue that I am passionate about. I have looked for information of this caliber for the last several hours. Your site is greatly appreciated.

  30. hermosa bicicleta!!!!! mi hermano tiene una igual, en color blanco

    1. oh muy bien - puedes poner un link, o compartir fotos?

  31. I was just given an exact duplicate of your everything except what you added. It has a little rust on the handlebars. But everything is original. What is it worth?

    1. thanks for stopping by michael. to me, this bike's worth: priceless. this bike has a lot of history and has seen a lot.
      though it is 40+yrs I have the priviledge to be only its second owner. do you have a link or images that you'd like to share?


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