The Art Of Cycling: 11 Classic Posters

In the late 1800s, with the growth in cycling as a pastime and the explosion in poster advertising, many bicycle manufacturers created beautiful artworks to evoke the joy of jumping on a bike and hitting the road – whether for sport or more genteel pleasure.
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In the late 1800s, with the growth in cycling as a pastime and the explosion in poster advertising, many bicycle manufacturers created beautiful artworks to evoke the joy of jumping on a bike and hitting the road – whether for sport or more genteel pleasure.

Great poster artists such as Leonetto Cappiello, the Italian-born Paris-based illustrator considered the father of modern advertising, Jean de Paleologue, Jules Chéret, Henri Gray and Adolphe Mouron Cassandre all produced iconic and visually arresting posters for races, cycle shops and bike companies such as Peugeot, Liberator, Cycles Sirius, Alcyon and Omega.

While the early posters embodied the glorious, evocative style of the Belle Époque, with women shown in goddess-like poses riding or pushing bicycles, later posters became more graphic, enhancing the simple geometric shapes of the bike itself.

As many of these posters were created cheaply on thin paper stock and were not intended to last more than a few weeks let alone years, they have become increasingly rare and many now fetch considerable sums of money at auction. In 2009, a deceptively simple poster created in 1925 by AM Cassandre for Cycles Brilliant sold at auction in New York for $31,200 – well over the $15,000-$20,000 estimate.

As cycling has become something of an unofficial national sport, embraced by everyone from East London hipsters to Westminster politicians, these posters provide the perfect opportunity to invest in an iconic piece of cycling culture.

The full range of posters are available here.