What is a "BICYCLE STAMP"?

A stamp is a receipt for a postal transport service, usually prepaid. The service provider must have an official authorization.

For bicycle stamps the following definition has been established over the years respectively decades. A bicycle stamp shows

-    an illustration of a bicycle or a part thereof. Bicycles in this sense include unicycles, tricycles, velocipede, hand or foot driven vehicles (crank or linkage) to water, in the air and on the ground, exercise bikes, …. - only wheelchairs are excepted.
-    the image of persons who have become known due to their special relationship to the bicycle or to cycling.
-    a word such as e.g. "bicycle, cycling, tricycle, ..." in any language or tradenames as “PUCH" ," Wanderer", ...
-    a velodrome - either as a building, as symbol or as word "velodrome". Also multi-combat stadiums, in which a cycle track is integrated belong to this category.



Corresponding illustrations on sheetlets, sheet borders, labels attached to stamps, booklet covers, … make the postal object to the "bicycle stamp".

Even if the well-known lists/catalogs are based on the above principles, each collector will decide for himself what is a bicycle stamp and what is not. Here are some examples that can be discussed controversially:                                         


Note the Malayan inscription: “rim basikal” = bicycle rims.  So even if you don’t like to collect children toys this one could be a candidate for your collection.



                                                     No bicycle, no cyclists - only the word "Triathlon"               No bicycle, no cyclists - only swimming triathletes (stamp title "Triathlon")

In BS Magazine no. 11B, page 24 editor Norman Batho wrote: “I’ll continue to include triathlon material on the check list, only if bike related.” In clear text: for him “triathlon” was no bicycle stamp.


The opinions also differ in objects with auxiliary drive. Bicycles with an electric auxiliary drive are becoming increasingly popular. In 2023  53% of all bicycles sold in Germany were eBikes/pedelecs. These only pick up speed when the rider is pedaling. Stamps showing such bicycles are undoubtedly bicycle stamps:

Our fellow motorbike collectors would never think of classifying them as motorcycles. However, there is another overlap with our Dutch motorfiets friends: Bicycles assisted by a gasoline engine:

These can (but do not have to) move without the rider's support. In extreme cases, the pedals are only used to start the engine (Velosolex – la bicyclette qui roule toute seule). It is up to you whether or not to include them in your collection. In any case, they are included in the online catalog.



Note the Spanish word “velocípedo” = velocipede. The stamp shows the Benz “Patent-Motorwagen” from 1885 the first car ever build and not the Benz “Velociped” - short “Velo” - from 1894 which has its name from the spoke wheels very similar to those of bicycles. A bicycle stamp? It is up to you.

There are also bicycle stamps that do not meet one of the conditions above, and still are famous bicycle stamps, e.g. "Postes Moulins"

Here alone the fact that Bruce Henderson delivered the mail by bicycle turned these labels into bicycle stamps. Today, in the era of bicycle couriers, something like this is unthinkable. The Deutsche Post nowadays also uses hundreds of thousands of bicycles – but therefore their stamps are not automatically “bicycle stamps”.

Postal stationeries which fulfill one of the aforementioned conditions with their printed "stamp" are often counted as stamps. In the online catalog of this website, however, they are assigned to the "stationeries" category. Here you will also find all the stationeries that fulfill one of the above criteria in their additional printing.

Perfins of different bicycle manufacturers are certainly also bicycle stamps, but are not collected by all bicycle stamp collectors. In the online catalog of this website you can find them in the category "stamps, personalized”.


So if you find the cyclists in this one             


and could answer the question "y a-t-il une cycliste?" with "YES"


then you are ready for take off:                  


Literature: Steve Malone: Illustrated Bikes on Stamps, 1996 Edition, Introduction

                                              Bicycles on stamps - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

What other postal items could we collect? Bicycles on postal items - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia