Thursday, October 8, 2009

Doping in Cycling, 1894 Style...

I came across a book in the French national library titled The Art of Winning on a Bike, published in 1894. In a chapter called "Advice from a Doctor," the book recommends that cyclists purge themselves the day before a big race (so they can stay on the bike as long as possible without breaking for natural needs) and that they take the following pills, six different times the night before and the day of the ride:

tannin 2 gr. 40.

extract of kola. 1 gr. 20

extract of quinquina. 1 gr. 20

extract of ratanhia. 1 gr. 20

While the fact doping was part of cycling culture in 1894 is noteworthy, I wonder if any readers can help by suggesting what, if any benefit, may be derived from the products listed. Kola is, I assume, a stimulant and quinquina may be a painkiller (?). But I'm only guessing. And the other two... well... as my daughter frequently reminds me: "Dad, you're not a real doctor...."

Any ideas?

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