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For fans of vintage bikes and vintage motorcycles, the Helyett space opens every weekend in Sully-sur-Loire

Are we witnessing the rebirth of a legendary place in Soule-sur-Loire?

Anyway, that’s what Bruno Herben tried to achieve for a year and a half with his Helyett space. Now open every weekend until September 19. An opening was planned last year, but was delayed due to the health crisis.

Horticulture enthusiasts bought this in 2019 The former Hilit factory that manufactured bicycles and motorcyclesIt is located near the Soly Suspension Bridge. Originally, the 49-year-old was aiming to set up a museum to display the robotic models he was able to collect.

Go back in time with the models that some didn’t even dare to try!

Then, by researching the acquired building, by removing dust from the history of this legendary brand, a second hobby was born in it. “Two years ago, I knew nothing about cycling.”Bruno Herben admits. Since then, try to relive the history of this thing that’s still trendy. Helyett Factory and Local Origins, Bruno Herpin naturally focused his attention on the history of the Sullylois Factory, which was established in 1919.

Wonderful athletic history

The company earned its gentlemen’s speeches during the biggest cycling competitions, by creating a team of the same name. The Grand Tour, Classic and Olympic Games … did not escape the French team of the 1940’s and 1950’s.

Jack Ankitel himself would be a part of this team between 1956 and 1961. Time to get an hour’s record in Milan and two Tours of France (out of five he would count during his rich career).

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Some old magazines look back at the sporting history of Hillett.

“At its peak, the Sully factory had about 100 employees,” insists Bruno Herben. Between 800 and 1,200 bikes are built per month.“There are a lot of potential pieces that are not all part of the landfill that enthusiasts are trying to piece together before they are repainted and rebuilt.

The task is gigantic. Just visit the back of the museum, not open to the public, to be convinced. A mountain of two-wheeled parts accumulates there, waiting to be pampered. Lonely and with limited time for this large company, Bruno Herben will keep his visitors waiting before the opening of this large portion of the building to display his holdings and Launch of a section dedicated to garden machines.

The resurrection of the myth

Meanwhile, the free entrance will allow you to see a few of the old motorbikes, scooters and bikes on display in the building’s entrance hall. “When we get in, the gallery to the left of us begins with the origin of the bike,” he explains. “Then we follow a time direction.”

Progress between models follows chronological order.

Her favorite model from this group is the Automatic tandem bike with thermal assistance. Object “It may have been used to follow Tours of France”.

One of Bruno Herpin’s favorite models: A Tandem Robot.

Hillett’s rich history finally came to an end in 1962 when it was acquired by Robert Griffon Enterprises. Helyett would then merge with the Gitane brand in 1966 and would see its symbolic logo of a young girl wearing a provincial headscarf last for a few more years before disappearing forever. “Hillett was a victim of his own success, ”Bruno Herben analyzes.

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The story is definitely over, but Bruno Herben intends to return the factory to the center of the village … and on the banks of the Loire River. What could be more convenient than the wild river cycling routes to bring this history back to life?


The Helyett space is located in the Chemin de la Levée in Sully-sur-Loire. It is open every weekend and on public holidays until September 19 from 10 am to noon and 2 to 7 pm (Sunday afternoons 2 to 6 pm). free.


Bruno Herpin will rent new bikes on the same Helyett space from mid-June. Since the space is open on the weekends, it will be easier to rent in these slots, but the owner specifies that they can also rent during the week by having their mannequins available in the morning and pick-up in the evening. informations On and at [email protected].

Thomas Deris

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