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.
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)
I attended the Stalen Ros bike show and parts market in Neerkant, the Netherlands. Hello again if we met, and if we didn’t, à la prochaine. It was a fine day.
This year’s exhibit featured French bicycles. I rode my Alex Singer there and parked it between the other machines for everyone to see. It stood next to a beautiful pre-war Alcyon sporting wooden rims.
There were quite a few bikes made in France, most of them racers. But in spite of the French theme they were almost outnumbered by Italian and italianised Dutch ones. I guess they’ve become traditionals at Stalen Ros, which saw its fifth edition.
The fully equipped French Lightweight with fenders, lights and luggage capacity is a rare beast, even at a show like this. If I hadn’t brought my own, the fine green Alex Singer belonging to Mr Roosen would have been all by itself. As far as I could see the two fendered bikes either went unnoticed or were carefully admired.
Stalen Ros 2012, a set on Flickr.
New to the blogosphere, I’ll be featuring bicycles and parts made in France.
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