The birth of development of the velocipede and of cycle tourism
Leaving Paris around the 25th August 1865 accompanied by their friend Georges de la Bouglise, the Olivier brothers travelled to their family home in Pontet on the outskirts of Avignon in eight days by this newly developed means of transport, The velocipede.
|To learn more about the origin of the cycle industry and Olivier brothers
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René (born in 1843) and Aimé Olivier (born in 1840) were then 22 and 25 years old and were both accomplished sportsmen. Having studied at the College of Oullins, a suburb of Lyons, they finished their engineering studies in Paris and were interested early on by the invention of Pierre Michaux, inventor of the pedal in 1861 and his first velocipedes.
Convinced by the prospect of the development of the velocipede, they undertook this voyage from Paris to Avignon in a spirit of sport but mainly to demonstrate the wonderful opportunities this new means of transport offered to all.
It is this voyage that we wish to repeat on the occasion of this 150th anniversary with authentic velocipedes from the period 1868 – 1870 as homage to these pioneers of cycle touring who were soon to become the main craftsmen in the development of the velocipede and the art of cycling in France.
The commemoration of this 150th anniversary will be a unique event to mark 2015. We will look back in history and share special moments with all who love this magnificent invention – the bicycle – which is not only the first means of individual transport synonymous with freedom, escape and travel, but also a working machine for many. Its social significance is undeniable, refined and elegant. Today it may seem a relatively basic invention, but it has conquered generations of sportsmen, workers and tourists and this machine, the incredible bicycle is what we celebrate.
The Olivier brothers were great visionaries who understood the significant potential of this new method of transport.
It is in their honour that we are re-enacting this amazing journey in history.