Newspaper couriers race the streets of Paris in the 1920s and 30s

When I was a kid one of my dreams was to become a cycling paper boy. And so I was elated to discover the rich history of newspaper bicycle courier races in France. As this interesting site discusses, “The French in the 20s and 30s and beyond, it seems, had races for just about everything – from cars to bicycles to children’s pedal-cars and scooters, just about every means of transport was represented with its own “championship”. Bicycle couriers of various descriptions, common throughout Paris, were no exception. In the years prior to World War II, and even during the war (and perhaps even after), several events occurred annually which gave the couriers their chance to shine – and shine they did, considering the wording of the articles referenced here, and the number of spectators to be seen in the photographs.”

Each race was  “a free-form race with 8 controls along the route, where riders were required to exchange their load, pick up a token, or perhaps even jettison part of their load – and then gradually evolved into a fixed course rather than a test of navigation and decision-making (more out of the fact that there was only one obvious route between the checkpoints than out of any mandatory routing…)”

Here’s a short video of one of the races:

There was a male and female division to the race. The photo below is of the female winner in the late 1920s:

Other cool photos include (there are many more at the site reference above):

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2 comments

  1. Bud! you have a blog! Love Marla

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