French Boys Activities: Outdoor Activities--Vehicles and Conveyances

Figure 1.--These French boys at La Chaux-de-Fonds were riding their bicycles in 1926. Note the very large wheels and the lack of front fenders.

One popular outdoor activity for children was a range of vehicles such as bicycles and other convehences like scooters and pedal cars. French designers played an important role in the development of the bicycle during the 19th century. The early bicycles were at first expensive and only available to wealthy children. They became more available after World War I. Gradually they became more available as prices declined and incomes of average families increased. These vehicles were popular for boys and girls in France, but probably most popular with boys. While the bicycle led the way, many other related vehicles and conveyamces were enjoyed by French children. A reader writes, "What a lovely photograph. The youngsters showing off their bikes. I also noted ordinary clothes for cycling. There was no protective gear to wear, particulary cycle helmets that children are encouraged to wear in the UK. I hardly see such gear being worn even in the UK when kids are out cycling. Oh the joys of the open road and cycling with your friends on rides that took you far from home." There were of course other vehicles and convehences which children enjoyed in France. Our archieve is limited, but we note younger children enjoying scooters in the early-20th century. And we note them advertized in catalogs. We are not sure about the chronology. So far we have only noted them in the early-20th century. Older boys were more interested in bikes. We do not notice girls with scooters, but our archive is still too limited to draw any firm conclusions. .


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Created: 7:53 AM 2/3/2007
Last updated: 3:20 AM 2/6/2012