The First Tour de France

The First Tour de France From Its Inception, The 1903 Tour De France Was A Colorful Affair Full Of Adventure, Mishaps And Audacious Attempts At Cheating, It Was A Race To Be Remembered Cyclists Of The Time Weren T Enthusiastic About Participating In This Heroic Race On Roads Suited To Hooves Than Wheels, With Bikes Weighing Up To Thirty Five Pounds, On A Single Fixed Gear, For Three Full Weeks Assembling Enough Riders For The Race Meant Paying Unemployed Amateurs From The Suburbs Of Paris, Including A Butcher, A Chimney Sweep And A Circus Acrobat From Maurice The White Bulldog Garin, An Italian Born Frenchman Whose Parents Were Said To Have Swapped Him For A Round Of Cheese In Order To Smuggle Him Into France As A Fourteen Year Old, To Hippolyte Aucouturier, Who Looked Like A Villain From A Buster Keaton Movie With His Jersey Of Horizontal Stripes And Handlebar Moustache, The Cyclists Were A Remarkable Bunch Starting In The Parisian Suburb Of Montgeron, The Route Took The Intrepid Cyclists Through Lyon, Over The Hills To Marseille, Then On To Toulouse, Bordeaux, And Nantes, Ending With Great Fanfare At The Parc Des Princes In Paris There Was No Indication That This Ramshackle Cycling Pack Would Draw Crowds To Throng France S Rutted Roads And Cheer The First Tour Heroes But They Did And All Thanks To A Marketing Ruse, Cycling Would Never Be The Same Again. I was reading this book as the 2017 Tour de France was happening It was interesting to look at the contrast between the first riders of the event their bikes were heavy, they wore wool or cotton clothing, they rode ridiculous distances stages typically between 400 and 500 KM , they rode day and night with no lighting on mostly dirt roads and contrast it today s riders in their Lycra skinsuits and their super lightweight bikes, riding shorter distances on paved roads Before I read this book, I did not realize that in the early days of bicycling, the only way to change the gear was to change the back wheel, so the bikers competing in the first Tour generally chose the gear they wanted to ride in, and rode that one gear for the whole stage It does make you wonder how Chris Froome or Lance Armstrong would have done on that first Tour with similar equipment and no support from a team.This books brings to light and puts into perspective how the most iconic bike race came to be, and the hardy souls who undertook such an arduous and crazy task It also shows how the Tour had many effects besides being an awesome sporting spectacle it helped popularize bicycling,
A must read for Tour fans Probably a little heftier than needed but good details from the event that started everything Vive le Tour This is a wonderful book While I follow the Tour every year, and thus am a natural audience for this book, I think even a casual observer of the tour can enjoy it It s impeccably researched by the author Peter Cossins, and written in an extremely approachable manner Cossins provides a great deal of background context to the tour and to the men who dreamed it up Also to the phenomenon of bike racing But, maybe most notably, he narrates each of the six stages of that first tour like it s an event unfolding right before you Very dramatic, very engaging And it s not just athletic feats he s narrating but also occasions of cheating, road disasters, injuries, spectator enthusiasm, the rush of riders to reach the required sign in sheets at designated stops during each stage, the infighting and hard feelings between some of them In these chapters, Cossins takes a wide variety of different accounts from the period and synthesizes them into smooth, exciting present tense narratives I also appreciate the information he provides about what happened in the careers of the finishers in the years following that first tour of 1903 What comes through loud and clear, both explicitly and implicitly, is how the very first Tour de France became a kind of template for the entire future life of this most important of bicycle races In both good ways and bad And the reader can t help but marvel at how during an era of comparatively primitive bicycle t
I am not a fan of the Tour de France, but I loved this book Cossins does an excellent job of placing the race in the cultural, economic and social context of Belle Epoque France, as well as making the characters both on and off the route memorable and intriguing A really fun and interesting read Professional cycling s premier event is the Tour de France, and The First Tour de France provides a comprehensive look at turn of the century biking and the birth of the race Though the modern bicycle was still relatively new, there were already a million bikes in France by the early 20th century and racing was a popular public entertainment Spectators crowded stands to watch track racing, and lined the roads for point to point races The Tour aspired to be than just another race, though Newspaper editor Henri Desgrange envisioned it as a means of boosting French patriotism and highlighting the physical prowess of its citizenry in his opinion the country was still stinging from losing a war to Prussia 30 years earlier Desgrange s secondary motivation was to boost the sales of his struggling paper, establishing the connection between professional cycling and commerce that still exists today The race s multi day tour format was innovative and designed to be a spectacle The first quarter of the book covers its initial conception and organization, and is a little slow The actual race description fills most the rest and has a surprising level of detail.There s enough entertaining visual imagery that I could imagine a screen adaptation being enjoyable and possibly engaging than the book The riders completed an amaz
I found this on the new book shelf at the public library To me, the dust cover design didn t much suggest a newly published book and I have read enough books with a Tour de France theme that I took this home thinking I would give it 25 pages with the expectation that it wouldn t engage my attention.But it did this focused look at the first instance of the Tour de France and how it came to happen drew me in A good book about professional bicycle racing successfully combines description of the context of the race, enough but not too much about the significant riders, and a narrative description of the race itself and that s what is I found here.From reading this and having read other books about the Tour , I came away with a better understanding of just how much the structure and rules of the Tour de France have changed over the years since the first iteration in 1903.Two aspects of the 1903 Tour de France surprised me One was that the new rule at the time for the race that forbid what was called pacing that is, riders that were only part of the race to lead a designated team leader who would draft behind them Of course riders did draft behind one another, but usually taking turns to help each other and not i
I received this book for free through this site s giveaway program Call it 3.5 stars rounded down to 3 on account of the writing This book is good in a lot of ways, but the writing from the level of individual words up through sentences, paragraphs, and chapters leaves something to be desired In particular, aside from the things that are fundamentally stylistic, I think that the book suffered somewhat from not having a clear focus or thread to tie it together The chapters roughly alternate between a description of a stage and a description of some other element of the race, which is an okay structure to use but not a great one, but the bigger problem is that each individual chapter just feels disorganized Cossins seems to want to include big picture political concerns alongside bar trivia factoids, biographies alongside economics lessons, and so on, but there s only so much that I can take at any given moment To me, this book felt like the reading equivalent of channel surfing you ll catch some good glimpses of things, but you ll also kinda have a headache after a while.On the upside, I feel like I learned a lot from this book, and, despit
British freelance cycling journalist Peter Cossins s nuts and bolts history of the inaugural 1903 Tour de France and its national and international contexts The concept for first Tour emerges along the uniquely French borderline between creativity and wackiness as cyclist turned editor prick Henri Desgrange gamble
Historian Peter Cossins book, The First Tour De France is the story of 1903 s first version of that Sporting Event Cossins, according to Penguin Publishing s website, has been writing about cycling since 1993 In an interview with Feargal McKay of Sports Blog Nation from July of 2017, Cossins says he was struck when researching for The First Tour De France even through race may have been 114 years ago and can seem like ancient history, but in many ways it was the same race then as it is now I agree with the Goodreads reviewer Nick Penzenstadler that The First Tour De France is probably a little heftier than needed In some way, the most impressive part of The First Tour De France is how the competitors rode early 1900s bicycles around France on roads that were not made for bicycles or cars, sometimes into a strong wind or up incline
The main thing I learned about cycling in general after reading this book about the creation of the Tour de France and running its first race in 1903 Cyclists have been cheating and bending the rules since day one The doping they get busted for now Just one form of them trying to get around the rules The

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  • Hardcover
  • 384 pages
  • The First Tour de France
  • Peter Cossins
  • 15 September 2018
  • 9781568589848