vélos & pièces made in france

Classic Recreation

Should you wonder who’s the man with the wheel over his head, he’s the Grand Seigneur, Paul de Vivie. Better known as Velocio, patron saint of cyclists. I learned about this remarkable man through this lovingly written article. A recommended read.

Bicycles are for transportation and recreation. Paul de Vivie rode them for days on end without sleep to reach his destinations, but the purpose was recreation, in a profound sense.

A writer himself under the Latin name Velocio, he liked to read the Greek and Roman Classics before he went on a ride. Perhaps he read Plutarch, on Marcus Cato:

    “…he would, now and then, when he had leisure, recreate himself…”

And so would Velocio, on his bicycle.

    “…vigorous riding implies the senses. Perception is sharpened, impressions are heightened, blood circulates faster, and the brain functions better. I can still vividly remember the smallest details of tours of many years ago.”

In Latin, recreation simply meant the act of recreating, to revive. Its meaning shifted over the centuries, but Velocio must have understood the old physical and spiritual sense of the word. Work can wear you down, a recreational ride can revive your whole being. “Perception is sharpened…” – apparently Paul de Vivie rode the bicycle, again and again, to recreate himself.

Velocio, Grand Seigneur
by Clifford L. Graves, M.D.

May 1965

When a throng of cyclists from all corners of France converged on Saint-Etienne one day last July as they had done for more than forty years, they were paying homage to a man who accomplished great things in a small corner of the world. He was a man who devoted a lifetime to the perfection of the bicycle and the art of riding it, a man who inspired countless others through the strength of his character and the beauty of his writings, a man who even in his old age was capable of prodigious riding feats; in short, a man who might well be called the patron saint of cyclists. (more)

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