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December 6, 2012 No comments

Claude Marthaler - "The Yakman"

Correspondence Friends Bicycles
Claude Marthaler - "The Yakman"

BIKE FOR BREAD from CAMACRO Production on Vimeo.

Switzerlander Claude Marthaler has won a special name for himself over the years among the global community of long distance cycle tourers for his feats of endurance in the saddle, and an ability to recount his experiences on paper in an engaging, thoughtful way. "The Yakman" is Marthaler's nom de guerre, a name fortunately arrived at without him having gotten too much yak's blood on his hands. Through the 80's he made trips across Europe as far as Morocco and Turkey, also riding to the Himalayas on one journey. Then in 1994 he left Geneva by bike for Japan. Between one thing and another he found himself taking the scenic route, fetching up in Tokyo seven long and eventful years later. Since then, there have been other trips to South America, to Russia and elsewhere, all of them featuring a Brooks on his seatpost, or rather, on that of his bike (named "Yak"), and several books recounting his adventures published in German, in French and Italian. "L'insoutenable légèreté de la bicyclette" (The Unbearable Lightness Of The Bicycle) is his latest. It is already available in French and Italian. Before the year is out Claude will be touring Egypt with a team to film a documentary about the history and significance of bread delivery bikes in that country. Our opening video clip was made as part of his "crowdfunding" effort for the film, and shows some rather mean feats of bicycle bread board balancing. After filming is complete, we will find Claude riding around Cuba from next January until late spring, gathering mots justes for his next travelogue. Catching up with him shortly before he left for Cairo, we talked about his choice of saddle for the road. It turns out that Claude is not too fussy about what's under him, just so long as it has a Brooks nameplate on the back- "...I had a saddle per trip, and for those lasting years, often a few... but always Brooks! With springs, without, black or brown colour, I like them all without knowing the name of the models (Claude is still talking about saddles here - Ed.). Brooks conquers all terrain... it's like I had used just a single one for all my trips."