Cycling as a Commercial Spectacle

  • Richard Holt
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series


The development of football and rugby in the period between 1890 and 1914 provided evidence not only of the importance of sport in the provision of physical exercise but also of the role of sport as a source of mass entertainment. Many of the factors associated with urbanisation and industrialisation which favoured the growth of participant sports also encouraged the development of commercial spectator sport in its modern form. The modernising societies of Europe and North America required new amusements to replace the communal festivals and religious celebrations of earlier times. Accordingly, a whole range of entertainments from the music hall to modern professional sport arose to cater for the needs of the growing number of people whose brief periods of free time and small amounts of spare money were primarily devoted to seeking excitement or escapism. Quite simply, entertainment became an industry in which money was invested in the sure knowledge that a public existed which desired a temporary diversion from the uniformity of their everyday lives and which could afford to pay for the privilege.


Participant Sport Road Race Professional Cycling Bicycle Race Popular Entertainment 
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Copyright information

© Richard Holt 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Holt
    • 1
  1. 1.University of StirlingUK

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