The Eroticism of Fat Men
Alfred Jarry, The Supermale (1902)
Alfred Jarry was a surrealist playwright and founder of “Pataphysics”, which he defined as “the science of imaginary solutions”. He was also a fanatical cyclist. Jarry rode a fixed-gear bike around Paris, letting off pistols to deter attacking dogs as he went. Later he scandalised French society by wearing his cycling garb to the funeral of the poet Stéphane Mallarmé.
Written during the “heroic era” of bicycle road racing, The Supermale is a novella about a group of bicycle riders engaged in a race from Paris to Asia. Powered by a mysterious “perpetual motion food”, they reach speeds of 300km per hour. One of the racers dies but is unable to stop pedalling as he is contractually obliged to finish the race.