My Vintage Bicyclette In Pondicherry
I met Fionna on an eerie Saturday morning, a French artist now settled in the French quarters of Pondicherry. Pondicherry was observing a political bundh due to which no commercial establishment was open. Our original plan was to go on a cycle tour of Pondy with an intimate group of tourists and culminate the tour at a cafe. Just when I was getting used to savouring English breakfast and baked continental savouries that the cafes of Pondicherry were serving fresh every morning. The bundh turned out to be a total sourpuss.
Setting aside my gastronomy and sightseeing woos aside. I decided to show up at SITA centre, the Indo-French cultural hub of Pondicherry, on time. For the next one hour, over incredibly tasty locally baked bread, homemade pineapple jam and coffee, we discussed My Vintage Bicyclette, Fionna and her partner Idriss’s artistic brain child.
Fionna met her partner Idriss while she was travelling through Kerala. Six months later, they reconnected in Paris, which is also Fionna’s hometown. A year after that they decided to move to India and start My Vintage Bicycletta. A colourful project involving vintage Atlas cycles. Since then My Vintage Bicyclette has become an integral part of experiencing Pondicherry like a local. They arrange guided bicycle tours of the French quarters. The tour party is never more than seven people. This, Fionna says is a conscious decision.
Apart from guided tours, the company also picks up vintage Atlas cycles with a purpose of giving it a new colourful life. When I say re-purpose, Fionna and her partner Idriss design a new cycle pattern. They then collaborate with a local painter to colour code the cycle in bright colours and a local leather craftsman. The leather guy upholsters the saddle with an embossed leather seat. Cushions the handle bar and laminates it with leather. Together they deconstruct the cycle to construct it from scratch, but with a brand new look. Every inch of the cycle is torn apart and redone before fixing it back.
If Vintage bicycle isn’t your thing. You can get the team to customize a brand new bicycle. Colours and accessories of your choice. You can also purchase cycle accessories from them. Night lamps, cycle baskets, leather seats and other nuances you may want to add.
The next time you are in Pondicherry, head straight to SITA Centre on Candappa Mudaliar Street and book yourself on a tour or buy swanky bicycle accessories. Fionna intends to expand this idea and take it to different geographical locations in India. We wish them best of luck and hope to see My Vintage Bicycletta very soon in Bangalore as well.