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Sempé’s brilliant cartoon strip about class, congestion, cars and bicycles

Jean-Jacques Sempé – France’s most celebrated cartoonist – likes bicycles, perhaps because one of his first jobs was delivering wine by bicycle through the rolling hills of the Gironde. He has drawn them many times, most famously for The New Yorker, including a wonderful cover image illustration of a bike shop in 1983 and a cover cartoon of a Tour de France style race in 1999. (The New Yorker seems to have a soft spot for cycling: check out all the many covers the mag has devoted to the joys of pedalling).

The most appropriate cartoon for a history book about cycling and motoring is the one below, printed in Rien n’est Simple of 1962. It’s historically spot-on and the last image is still highly relevant today.

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Spotter: Oliver of Hackney Cycling Campaign told me about this particular cartoon. I tracked down the book. It’s very, very funny.

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