On 28 June 1914 two gunshots were fired at nearly the same time.
In Paris the twelfth Tour de France started while in Sarajevo the nephew of the Austrian emperor Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot to death, the immediate cause of the First World War.
Professional cycling in whole Europe came to a standstill, but the pioneers of the bicycle kept on riding.
‘Cycling in the Great War’ is an impressive collection of fascinating, mostly forgotten war stories at and behind the Western Frontline.
The leading part is reserved for the cycling heroes from the first hour. We go back to the Tour of Flanders of 1915, competed on the velodrome of Evergem near Ghent. We meet the winner of the first Tour of Flanders in 1913 Paul Deman as the cycling spy, the Italian one-legged non-regulation civilian volunteer Enrico Toti, the brave Hélène Dutrieu, who became famous during the war as the only female pilot, and many more.
Who were the Belgian Karabiner-Cyclists, called the Black Devils ?
And what happened with the English and Australian cyclist battalions at the Western Front ?
‘Cycling in the Great War’ is a richly documented book, beautifully illustrated with unpublished photo’s, providing a surprising look upon the First World War through the eyes of the first cycling champions.
The book is for sale at https://www.lannoo.be/nl/cycling-great-war and you can have a first look in the book at https://issuu.com/uitgeverij-lannoo/docs/9789401455022/18
(… with the cooperation of Filip Walenta of the Karelvanwijnendaele.be project)