From the Tour de France to the Giro d'Italia, Alpe d'Huez to Mont Ventoux, you’re a velophile through and through. And nothing quite beats a cruise down an open road on a two-wheeler. Get into gear with your favourite cycling art. Pay homage to your favourite sport with vintage tour posters and retro race prints. C’mon, on your bike!
Reinventing the wheel
Bicycles are the world’s most popular vehicle—totalling over 1 billion two-wheelers, they’re a staple of roads across the globe. The first chain-driven bike was developed in 1885. Since then, little has changed in its iconic design, but much has changed in society as a result.
In the early 1900s, workers could finally commute on peddles from the more spacious suburbs to their centrally-located factories. For women, cycling meant mobility and emancipation, with suffragists even calling them “freedom machines”. Bicycles have also been a real driver in alleviating poverty in developing nations, functioning not only as a means to get from A to B but also a trolley for their goods.
Retro roadsters on cycling posters
There’s something inherently vintage about cycling. Maybe it’s the scores of classic bike designs, from sporty Bianchi racers to elegant Dutch roadsters. Maybe it’s the 70s aesthetic that pervades advertising for biking brands and races the world over. Or maybe it’s because bicycles are simply the original vehicle, that one constant of transport that precedes the car and will outlive the Segway. Classic two-wheelers are simply timeless and retro cycling art channels this spirit through tasteful nostalgia.
Tour de France
“The hell of Northern Paris – Roubaix / The Cote d’Azur and Saint Tropez”—rhythmic gasps for air are off-set to bleepy machine beats as Kraftwerk’s robots describe the route of the legendary French cycling race, concluding each line with a repeated, almost programmed chant: “Tour de France, Tour de France”.
It’s a race with a feverish following and a rich representation in popular culture and visual art. Organised annually since 1903, the 21-stage tour is undoubtedly the best known worldwide. And its posters are just as iconic—graphic tributes to a mountainous marathon.