Biking to understand History

in the Alps 1923 Pyrénées 1913

Apart from being a huge fan of biking, I love history. If you read my first posting last week about the Tour de France photo exibition in Paris, you might remember that the exhibition mixes photos past and present, from 1920 to 2010. I liked it very much, because we cannot understand anything if we don’t dig into the roots of the past. Bicycle riding has a glorious history. Everything has a glorious history. In every field we are dwarves stepping on the shoulders of giants, and I think we must not forget that generations and generations of people preceded us into achieving small and great things. This deep sense of history is natural to us Europeans, as the testimonies of the past are everywhere around us: castles, churches, houses, palaces… . However biking is a recent invention and if we tend here in France to believe that everything started in 1903 with the first edition of the Tour de France, it is not true. Would you believe that already in 1895 there were crazy guys riding their bike around the world? on heavy bikes, on bumpy unpaved roads, without lights, in dangerous regions? do you know that the first race coast to coast across the US took place from San Francisco to New York in 1903… between a bike and a car! and guess who won? the bike! why? because the car had lots of breakdown and had to wait days and weeks for the train and the horse carts to bring the broken pieces, whereas the biker couls fix everything by himself. Anyway my point is to say that History humbles us. Everything has been done before us, most of the time in much harsher circumstances than what we do today. Not a reason not to try!

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One Response to Biking to understand History

  1. Jan says:

    Fantastic blog Philippe! I will be reading you.
    It’s a pity we won’t be travelling through Paris in the coming weeks, when we are biking all around France together with you. Would have loved to see the picture exhibition.
    See you within two weeks,

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