Cyclisme Communard

Inspired by a 1901 article in La Presse titled “Cyclisme Communard,” we explore the significance of the velocipede and its cultural and historical connections to the Commune. The embodiment of freedom and mobility before the war, the velocipede came to be seen as out of place during the siege when riding could be considered an informal act of treason. We argue that the many journalistic, literary, and artistic representations of the velocipede mirror the cultural shifts brought about by the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune: from the enthusiasm of the late 1860s, to the fear at the beginning of the war, the despair of the siege, the sorrow during the aftermath, and the hope of a slow “rebirth.”

Corry Cropper and Daryl Lee
Brigham Young University
Volume 49.3–4