The Prince Imperial Is Learning To Ride A Velocipede (1869)

The Prince Imperial is learning to ride upon a velocipede and may sometimes be seen practising at an early hour in the reserved gardens of the Tuileries while his father looks on. This machine for solitary locomotion, now the rage in Paris, is only an improvement of the velocifere, which was almost equally in vogue sixty years ago among the Incroyables, whose headquarters was the Jardin de Hanovre, on the Boulevard des Italiens and of the “Bucks” who shortly afterwards imitated them in Hyde-Park. The resuscitation of this toy after a suspension of it’s usage during half a century is a curious fact. The opinion certanly was that to ride ten miles on a velocipede was far more fatiguing than to walk the distance. Whether improved mechanism has reversed that verdict is more than I know.  It is, however, clear that an expert velocipedist can do ten miles on tolerably good roads much quicker than he could walk them and therefore I do not see why velocipedes, which cost less than a very bad horse and eating nothing, should not be useful. There are pleanty of professors who teach the art of riding on them – not, I should presume to imagine, very difficult – for two Francs a lesson. On the 29th Floreal, year XII, (19th May, 1804), a farce called the Velociferes was brought out at the Vaudeville Theatre, then in the Rue de Chartres St Honore, with very great success.

Daily News, January 11, 1869

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