Cycling and population density

From this piece in the LRB on the history of tennis comes a fascinating fact about cycling:

One reason road cycling has historically been so much more important in France, Spain and Italy than in the UK is that in those more sparsely populated countries getting a crowd together in one place to watch a match was difficult, whereas during a Grand Tour your sporting heroes could come to you

One thought on “Cycling and population density

  1. One feature of popular English lawn games, such as tennis and cricket, is the way they allow for inclusion and exclusion. For example, even now, the insistence on competitors at Wimbledon wearing white clothing. Clothing codes of caps, ties, etc were important. These popular games allowed the English middle class to socialise amongst their ‘own sort’. Also, the opportunity for participants and non-participants to socialise over tea, sandwiches and cakes as they watched games. John Betjeman summed up one reason for the English middle classes love of lawn games, they offered the frisson of social interaction between the sexes:
    “Miss J. Hunter Dunn, Miss J. Hunter Dunn,
    Furnish’d and burnish’d by Aldershot sun,
    What strenuous singles we played after tea,
    We in the tournament – you against me!”

    I would suggest the Eglish male finds it more difficult to flirt whilst riding a bike.


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