From the Mag: Roots – VCCP Paris
A few years ago (well, in 2006) Mike the editor did a series of four articles between issue 60 and 64 looking at the origins of mountain biking. We’ve dug them out, and they’re every bit as good as we remember. We’ll be putting one a week up for the next month, so stay tuned!
Here’s the first – the VCCP, or ‘The Velo Cross Club Parisian’.
You know that the argument about where and when mountain biking first started will go on forever. Whilst talking to Billy Savage about his film Klunkerz he mentioned something called the VCCP. I had no idea what this was but after a bit of investigation I came across one of the most interesting stories I ever heard. The Velo Cross Club Parisian (VCCP) was made up of a group of like-minded individuals hell bent on riding their bikes off-road. In 1951, in the north-east suburbs of Paris, a group of 18 bicycle riders got together, began modifying their bikes and formed a club. They started to use suspension forks (usually taken off mopeds), handlebar gear shifting, improved braking and reinforced frames. And what did they do with these bikes? Well they dreamt of emulating the motocross stars of the day and somehow managed to convince the organizers of local races to let them race in the intervals between the main events. That went on until 1956, after this time the group slowly disbanded and the VCCP was no more.
I just thought that this was an amazing story, and maybe it was happening elsewhere at the same time. It is pretty much a given that the modern day mountainbike was born in the hills of California but it is safe to say that people have been riding off-road forever. The VCCP are proof of that.
– Mike Rose
The VCCP was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 1999.
Thanks to Jacques Michel, Ludovic Gardet, VTT Magazine, Kay Cook, Joe Breeze and all of the VCCP.
Photo: VCCP members