|A lady is about to cross the street in the 1928 Tour de France when the peloton comes |
streaming through. Photo credit: The Guardian Photograph: Collection Laget
The more I read about the Heroic Era the more I like what what the Tour de France used to stand for: strength and perseverance. Resourcefulness was everything. You powered your own single speed machine, fixed it as best as you could, fed and clothed yourself, and struggled onward pedaling over mountain passes caked in mud or snow. Grit, determination, and self sufficiency were characteristics that earned respect.
That was when the race consisted of epic journeys, like in 1920 when Honore Barthelemy lost his eyesight after a crash where his eye was struck by a flint. He still finished the race. And went onto compete in more Tour de France events with a glass eye he removed when dust became a problem. Eugene Christophe broke his fork in 1913. Since outside assistance was forbidden, he rebuilt the forks, starting with raw tubing. At one point Christophe asked a local boy to operate the bellows, because his own hands were occupied with a hammer. Later he completed the race, but was docked two minutes because he had accepted help.
|1920 Tour de France, 5000 km. I like that early routes circumnavigated France. |
Photo credit: Wikipedia
1913 Photo credit: Cyclopunk