Which route would you choose?

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

Cycling is a big part of European culture. I’m not talking about biking home from work or over to visit with a friend. I’m talking serious, strenuous biking over long distances that often includes steep mountain roads full of challenging switchbacks.

Certainly in France, at any time on any day, you are likely to see men or women on high-performance bikes in colorful gear heading somewhere. I’m always amazed when we are driving to some remote hilltop village (on a road we thought was a challenge to drive!) and we pass incredibly fit cyclists near the summit. We are in awe – truly!

Le Tour De France , held for three weeks every July, is one of the most famous international sporting events.  For years from the mid-1990’s, it was often referred to as the Tour De Lance as American Lance Armstrong dominated the winner’s podium, winning a record seven times! The cyclists cover 3500 kilometres or 2200 miles crossing every type of terrain imaginable. The start location changes each year but the race traditionally ends with a celebratory ride up the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

First held in 1903 as a publicity stunt, Le Tour has continued ever since with few exceptions. The 2011 race was the 98th time the race was held. Cadel Evans became the first Australian to win the title.

I love to cycle but I have to admit flatter stretches appeal more to me! Biking along a canal or through vineyards, taking in the scenery, and stopping for a delicious lunch or packing a picnic is right up my alley this summer.

Cycling is a great way to spend time as a family too. The bad news is that head injuries account for 25% of all bicycle-related accidents. Each province in Canada has its own laws about bicycle helmets as I’m sure is the case in the U.S.A. too.  Doesn’t it just make sense to always wear a helmet, obey traffic rules, and be sure your equipment is kept in good order?

Happy cycling and stay safe!

Typical of sports fans all over the world, there are always those who show their enthusiasm in unique ways. The video below spotlights some of those fans along with some humorous incidents along the route of Le Tour De France.
Footage from over the years of some of the more light-hearted moments in the competition

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.1001726&w=425&h=350&fv=endpoint%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.guardian.co.uk%2Fsport%2Fvideo%2F2011%2Fjul%2F01%2Ftour-de-france-funny-bits-video%2Fjson]

Tour de France: The funny bits – video | Sport …, posted with vodpod

Cycling up steep mountain roads isn’t for everyone though. How do you challenge yourself through sports – as a participant, a fan, or both?  Leave a comment below if you like.

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About Patricia Sands

Family, writing and travel are my passions ... okay, and chocolate ... and I'm seldom without a camera. I write women's fiction and keep in touch with readers by a monthly newsletter that also has giveaways and contests. Come and join us by signing up on the right. See you there!

Comments

  1. As always, enjoy your pictures of somewhere I’ve never been.

    Thank you.

  2. Amazing pics. My hubby loves to watch (on TV) the Tour de France every year. That’s about all of France we’ll be able to see.

    • Well, it’s a good way to see a bit of the countryside. It took me a while to figure out just what was going on in that large jumble of bikes. How they stay upright amazes me!

  3. Gosh, Patricia…

    You’ve reminded me of how long it’s been since I’ve ridden a bike! Gorgeous pictures! I live in a hilly neighborhood. I think I’d be pushing my bike more than riding it. I’d need a long flat road to start with.

    I went to a university where the number of bikes exceeded the population of the city. The only other place I’ve been that’s so bike-centric is Amsterdam. I was astounded at the number of bikes and people of all ages riding bikes…and then I noticed most people were fit and trim…hmm… 🙂

    Have a great weekend!

    • One nice addition to most cities (I believe they have this in North America now too) are bike rental stands with a pay machine right there that takes credit cards. You can pick the bike up in one area and drop it off in another. Somebody had a good idea!

I love hearing from you ~ thanks for stopping by

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