Championnat des Triporteurs - 01 Feb 1903

From La Vie Au Grand Air (France), 07 Feb 1903:

The 3rd Championnat des Triporteurs

Lorgeou, Champion of the Triporteurs
The tireless Millo! After cyclocross, after the pedestrian championship, the triporteur.

The miniscule dimensions of the box are to be noticed, in fact simply a small wicker basket, a "dog's coffin", as the crafty Millo himself said.
A painting studio in the open air

The numbers are affixed.
Lorgeou many hundreds of meters before the finish.

Mathieu, who abandoned, follows his conqueror, to give the illusion of a dearly won victory.
At the start

The first row: Lorgeou (no. 4), Fischer (no. 3), Lippmann (no. 2). Behind Lorgeou, the great lazybones J-B Louvet, a simple spectator.
The start of the commercial category, the heavy calvary.

One can see that the boxes are of ordinary type, as one might meet on the streets of Paris.
They're off! The lead group takes form.
Everybody knows the triporteur, that tricycle on the front of which is attached a case of rather spacious dimensions, and that numerous dealers adopted quickly for their delivery service. To hold a competition of tricycle-porteurs, on a course of forty kilometers, sprinkled with rather hard climbs and quick descents, such is the principle of the annual championship which our associate l' Auto held this past Sunday for the third time.
The extraordinary passion of the masses for bicycle racing popularized and made necessary the idea of races for all objects capable of rolling. [N'a-t-on pas vu des] races of barrels, handcarts, hackney carriages successively attract the curiousity of ever-numerous spectators, since a battle, more or less sporting, [mais toujours sincère leur était annoncée.]
When, therefore, a clever industrialist had the idea to put a case on an ordinary tricycle, thus benefitting from the advantages of cycling - pneumatic tires, ball-bearings, easy steering - to build a machine for rapid and inexpensive delivery, then the success of the triporteur, a distinctive name which caught on quickly over the past four years, the idea was inevitably to come to somebody to organize a race of triporteurs.
And as our brothers in the sports dailies try hard to break the monotony of winter by competitions of all kinds, it was of course one of them, l'Auto, who had this idea, and for three years we have had a triporteurs championship.
This year there was small incident: the Prefect of police had classified the triporteurs race among bicycle races prohibited within the borders of the department of the Seine.
Just listen to the dialogue which occurred this year between Mr. Lépine and the l'Auto writer charged with the organization of the race.
- Monsieur le Préfet, I come to ask you for the traditional authorization for our triporteur race between Paris and Versailles. I will remind you that you granted it to us in 1901 and 1902.
- Impossible. A thousand apologies.
- But...
- No, no! Too many races.
- But it is a contest of commercial machines, travelling at an inevitably rational pace...
- Tell me more!
- But of course, since every case contains 40 kilograms of sand...
- Which makes the triporteur a cannonball in the descents.
And our associate, absolutely stumped by this decisive response, had to resign himself to hold his championship on the course Ville-D' Avray - Palaiseau and return. The success of the event, we must add, was not compromised by this exodus to the suburbs anyhow, so much is the race now quoted in sports circles as one of the classic events of winter season.
At the start, a huge crowd and select public was present, including such personalities of the automobile world as MM. the marquis of Dion, Giraud, the Renault brothers, Gobron, Bardin, Mutel, Outhenin-Chalandre, Suberbie, and Miss Bob Walter were present, already ready to follow the lot of the racers to the finish.
Among these, one could see a great number of professional racers; Lorgeou, R. Muller, Mathieu, Millo, Fourchotte, Chapperon, all willing to pay the entry fee with the trade deliverymen who had also entered in mass.
At 10:30 a.m., the start is made. First comes the côte de Picardie, climbed with any pace, then descended with a superb lack of concern for danger. Versailles is crossed, and the three big rivals are always together, Lorgeou at the head trying to drop Fourchotte and Chapperon who cling on hopelessly. At Jouy-in-Josas, Fourchotte tries an attack. Lorgeou answers this attack, Chapperon is slightly outdistanced. But a closed level crossing allows him to catch his two adversaries.
The côte de Igny! The three men have to dismount and push their tris, running. It is Chapperon's loss as he, the weaker on foot, is again dropped, definitely this time, because, in spite of all his efforts, the space which separates him from the leaders will now only increase until the finish.
Lorgeou and Fourchotte enter Palaiseau together, literally driving in mud. Chapperon follows them at one minute; Muller is at three minutes, Fischer further still. Millo and Rugere have already been put out of the race by crashes.
The battle between the two leaders becomes even more difficult.
On the côte de Jouy-in-Josas, it is a keen quarrel. And yet both arrive together at the top.
Here is Versailles! They are still together. Finally, in the small steep path which precedes the rue de la Refuge, Fourchotte loses 5 or 6 meters. Lorgeou turns round, sees the fault of his rival, and goes off with renewed vigour. Twenty meters soon separate both men. Fourchotte stands up, conquered.
These remaining two men at this point are so tired that they are obliged to clime the côte de Picardie on foot.
And when, having descended the hill, Lorgeou crosses the the finish line, Fourchotte is still 500 meters behind.
The 38 kilometers of the course were covered by the winner in 2h 28m 10s.

Article scan courtesy of John Weiss.

Fisher, on his tri-porteur equipped with the Lecarme frères et Michel (Marque S.L.M.) gear.
CONCERNING THE TRIPORTEURS - Our readers earlier found our account of the 3rd championnat des triporteurs. In such a difficult race, over roads both steep and muddy, it is good to equip your machine with a gear both reliable and sturdy.

This Fisher understood, when he adopted the Lecarme frères et Michel (Marque S.L.M.) gear, which performed extremely well.

This gear works with all bicycles.

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