16 June 2019

Vélocio (Paul de Vivie), Pernes-les-Fontaines (84)

Paul de Vivie (1853-1930) isn't a household name, even in his native France, and nor even is he well known by his more popular name 'Vélocio' (which the French Wikipédia page translates as 'the fast cyclist'). However, he's big in Pernes-les-Fontaines, a small town in Vaucluse. Vélocio was born in Pernes, moved to Saint-Étienne and started cycling in 1881. He became secretary of the Club des cyclistes stéphanois the following year, when he also established the Stéphanoise cycle company La Gauloise, and in 1886 L'Agence Générale Vélocipédique. In 1887 he founded Le Cycliste forézien magazaine, which became Le Cycliste in 1888. He visited England and established firm connections with Raleigh cycles in Nottingham. Vélocio is the founder of French cycling tourism, and a firm supporter of vegetarianism, which he believed led to a long life. Unfortunately he died in 1930 after being hit by a tram, which fractured his skull and from which he never regained consciousness. He is buried in the Cimetière de Loyasse, in Lyon.

As a centenary commemoration of his birth, this plaque was affixed to Vélocio's birthplace.

This monument was inaugurated in 2003, the 150th anniversary of Vélocio's birth.

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