Made: Visiting the Hutchinson Tires factory in France

I toured the Hutchinson tire making facility in Châlette ­sur­ Loing (Loiret), about 161 kilometers south of Paris the day after riding the 2013 L’Etape du Tour in Annecy, France. Hutchinson began making bicycle tires in 1890, and is one of the oldest French manufacturers. It uses rubber derived from the Ivory Coast.

Company founder Hiram Hutchinson began operations in 1852, and his heirs sold the company in 1869. Petroleum company Total acquired The Hutchinson Group in 1974.

Sadly, Christophe de Margerie—who was 63 and had been chief executive of Total since 2007—died October 20 when a corporate plane crashed into a snow plough on an airport runway near Moscow prior to takeoff. According to news reports, all four people on the plane died as the plane was engulfed in flames. French manufacturing compatriot Roland Cattin, founder of Time Sport International, died of a heart attack after a bike ride with his wife in Paris the day before. He was 65.

Hutchinson introduced the world’s first tubeless road bicycle tire in 2006, developed in conjunction with several professional cyclists, including two-time Tour de France yellow jersey wearer and French housewife heartthrob Thomas Voeckler.

And for you hands-on kids out there, here’s a video showing how to dial in your road tubeless tire:


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