James Moore

James Moore

English cyclist
Date of Birth: 14.01.1849
Country: Great Britain

  1. James Moore - The English Cyclist
  2. Early Life and Friendship with the Michaux Family
  3. Early Racing Career
  4. The Race in Saint-Cloud
  5. Claims of Being the First
  6. Continued Success and Life

James Moore - The English Cyclist

James Moore (14.01.1849 – 17.07.1935) was an English cyclist. While it remains uncertain if Moore was the winner of the very first bicycle race in the world, he is widely remembered for his brilliant performance in the Paris-Rouen race. Even if Moore's victory was not the first in the world, it did not diminish his reputation as a cyclist.

Early Life and Friendship with the Michaux Family

Moore was born in Long Brackland, Suffolk, England. When he was only 4 years old, his family moved to Paris for unknown reasons. It was in Paris that James befriended the Michaux family, particularly one of the Michaux's who came up with the idea of adding pedals to bicycles. In 1865, Moore already had a bicycle made by Michaux. By today's standards, his first bicycle may not have been suitable for riding, as bicycles at that time were often called "bone-shakers" for good reason. Nevertheless, Moore developed a liking for two-wheeled transportation and used it for various errands for his father while enjoying the pleasure of riding.

Early Racing Career

By 1868, James was already a member of a local cycling club, and on May 31, 1868, he participated in his first races. While these races are often considered the first official cycling races in history, it is not entirely accurate. Keizo Kobayashi noted in his works that Moore only participated in the second race of that day, which was not the most important event of the competition.

The Race in Saint-Cloud

One race that brought Moore fame took place in the Saint-Cloud park in Paris. The cyclists had to cover a distance of 1200 meters on a gravel track. Many wanted to test their skills, as bicycles were quite popular in Paris during that time, and competitions of various kinds were traditionally well-received. James took the lead halfway through the race, reaching an impressive speed and finishing in 3 minutes and 50 seconds. This race not only captured the attention of Paris but its fame spread throughout Europe, leading to similar events being organized in other capitals. The bicycle on which Moore achieved his victory is still on display at the Ely City Museum in Cambridgeshire. Interestingly, a significant part of the bicycle, including the wheels, is made of wood.

Claims of Being the First

Throughout his life, James Moore sincerely believed that he had won the first bicycle race in the world. However, this claim was later proven false. Keizo Kobayashi discovered that there were at least five bicycle races that took place before the one in Saint-Cloud, and the fact that they did not receive as much publicity does not give Moore the right to be called the first. Furthermore, even on May 31, 1868, Moore did not win the first race. The first event of the day was a one-kilometer race on bicycles with wheels less than a meter in diameter, which was won by Edward-Charles Bon. The main event of the day was the big race for the golden medal of the tournament, won by Polonini. Many historians, including Kobayashi, believe that the title of the winner of the first major bicycle race in the world should have gone to either Bon or Polonini.

Continued Success and Life

The success of the race inspired organizers to launch a larger project, and on November 7, 1869, a 130-kilometer race from Paris to Rouen took place. Moore participated in this event as well and once again emerged victorious. He finished in 10 hours and 25 minutes, with an average speed of 13 km/h, which may seem slow by today's standards, but it was due to the poor condition of the roads, the heavy bicycle, and the absence of proper tires. During the Franco-Prussian War, Moore worked in emergency medical services, and later he found employment in the French horse racing training center. In 1945, James was honored with the title of Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur.

Until the end of his days, Moore remained active in sports. The exact date of his return to Britain is unknown, as is the exact location of his burial.