This chapter discusses the social, cultural, and political history of bicycling under the Third Republic, including aspects of the Tour de France. It explains that the French have found the Tour a particularly productive site for competing narratives about France and Frenchness, and notes that the race quickly established itself as the nation's most popular sporting event, attracting ever-more-extensive media coverage. The chapter discusses that most of the Tour-inspired narratives reflect their often-conflicted relationship with modernity. It clarifies that the French have used the race to tell stories about what it means to be French and what it means to be modern.
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