Paris-Rouen with velocipede: the legendary race celebrates its 150th anniversary


On November 7, 1869, 150 years ago, the first cross-country cycling race in the world took place in France, in Normandy. The challenge was to travel the distance from Paris to Rouen in less than 24 hours on the machines of the time.150 years later, this founding event of long-distance cycling races, nearly 20 enthusiasts of ancient cycles, including Gerard Holtz, mythical figure of television and French sports, decided to remake from 9 to 11 November 2019, the trip to Paris in Rouen on authentic velocipedes from the late 1860s, in period costumes.

© France 3 Normandy
© France 3 Normandy

Like their ancestors in 1869, they left Paris this Saturday, November 9 at 7 am, Place de l'Etoile, at the corner of the Avenue de la Grande Armee Street Tilsitt.
They are expected in Rouen this Monday, November 11, at the Town Hall, late afternoon around 17:30.

Paris Rouen to Velocipede

In addition to Gerard Holtz, several personalities will be present, including: John Moore, 85, guest of honor, grandson of James Moore winner in 1869, Keizo Kobayashi and David V. Herlihy, historians worldwide recognized for their research on the origins of cycle, several members of the Olivier family, founders of the Compagnie Parisienne des Velocipedes, the first industrial manufacturers of velocipedes in the world in 1868 and organizers of the 1869 race.

But for the former sports journalist, this challenge was this Sunday morning almost the feat!

Gerard Holtz's interview

A journey in 3 steps

1. Saturday 9
Paris → Mantes-la-Jolie – Arrival in the Place de la Republique

2. Sunday 10
Mantes-la-Jolie → Les Andelys
Arrival on rue Georges Clemenceau

3. Monday 11
Les Andelys → Rouen
Arrival place of General de Gaulle

All departures will take place at 7am and arrivals around 4:45 pm, in front of the town halls.
Multiple breaks are planned throughout the course, approximately every 15 km, for photos, refreshments and surprise activities organized in consultation with local town halls: processions of cyclists, arrivals at "sprint", welcome with fanfare, presentations , demonstrations and initiations on the velocipede for children and elected officials.

Official receptions are planned in the town halls of Mantes-La-Jolie, Les Andelys and Rouen to honor the most deserving "winners" of each stage.

Paris Rouen to Velocipede

The association "Veloceclubrouen" which celebrates this year its 150th anniversary will accompany in cycles the arrival of the participants in velocipede.

Route on Rouen
• Avenue Aristide Briand
• Quai de Paris
• Republic street
• Place Barthelemy (stop to take a photo in front of Saint Maclou church)
• Final sprint rue de la Republique to the Place du General de Gaulle

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