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French CyclingA Social and Cultural History$
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Hugh Dauncey

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781846318351

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317859

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Cycling between the Wars: Sport, Recreation, Ideology, 1919–1939

Cycling between the Wars: Sport, Recreation, Ideology, 1919–1939

(p.102) 5 Cycling between the Wars: Sport, Recreation, Ideology, 1919–1939
French Cycling
Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses the rise and fall of bicycle demand, production and sales as impacted by the First World War. After reaching its peak, the increase in bicycle ownership slowed down and stagnated due to the saturation of the market, greater public interest in watching rather than doing the sport for leisure and economic recession. But by 1939, thanks to the impetus provided by the Popular Front to sport and leisure, France had recovered from slump and bicycle ownership levels went up again. Aside from how the consequences of war influenced leisure and sporting activities like cycling, this chapter looks into the ways professional cycle racing such as the Tour de France became subject to the ideologies of class and social relations, economics and business and human effort that were current during this period. Overall, it discusses how sports and leisure were highly charged as vehicles for ideological competition during the inter-war period.

Keywords:   war, Tour de France, Popular Front, professional cycle racing, leisure, Paris-Roubaix cycle race

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