Random French postcard -
Col du Grand-Bois

Random French postcard - Col du Grand-Bois scan 1 main image

This postcard depicts the monument to Vélocio (Paul de Vivie), on the Col du Grand-Bois. The circular sculpture pictured at the top left of the image is on the face of the monument.

The photographs were taken by Léon Leponce, a St-Étienne based photographer of some repute. Monsieur Leponce retired in 1961 and died in 1969, but an exhibition of his Vélocio related photos was held in St-Étienne as recently as July 2009.

The design of the monument was subject to some controversy caused by the intense rivalry between two local derailleur heros, Joanny Panel of Le Chemineau and Albert Raimond of Cyclo. Both men were friends of Vélocio and both considered themselves to be the one true spiritual heir to his role as champion of the derailleur bicycle. Vélocio had developed the idea of ‘Cyclotourisme’ and Albert Raimond suggested that the monument should celebrate Vélocio as the ‘Apôtre de Cyclotourisme’ (‘Apostle of Cycle Touring’). This infuriated Joanny Panel who considered that any mention of ‘Cyclotourisme’ was a covert advert for Cyclo, and so the monument ended up carrying the epitaph ‘Apôtre de la Polymultipliée’ (‘Apostle of the Multi-speed Bicycle’).

Wherever you go in cycling you find these intense and bitter rivalries - it must be because we care too much (it couldn’t possibly be that we are just stupid and small minded).