Hammer and Cycle: Communism's Cycling Counterculture in Interwar France

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


This article explores the evolving relationship of the Parti Communiste Français to cycling in the interwar years. It argues that communist press coverage of the sport enriches our understanding of how the Party evolved from a marginal force in the 1920s to a mass party that had forged both an effective and affective bond with large numbers of the French working class. It examines attempts to harness and manipulate working-class enthusiasm for cycling and to project through its coverage of the sport an idealized image of the French worker. Reading sport history into the Party’s political trajectory in the interwar years reveals how the appeal to the emotions was fundamental to its evolving image as a national workers party, but also how the Party had to make accommodations between a Soviet ideal and the realities of French working-class sports culture.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrench Politics, Culture & Society
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 May 2020


  • cycling
  • emotions
  • Tour de France
  • French Communist Party
  • L'Humanité
  • press representations
  • Sport History
  • sports writing
  • Working Class

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