A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 26
1932 The touriste-routier category comprised a surprisingly large portion of the peloton.
Touriste-routiers started ten minutes after the national teams. Translated as ‘tourist of the road’ these amateur riders rode the Tour in their summer vacation and used it as a way of exploring France or promoting their bike shops (many were bike shop owners).
One tourist, Max Buller, miraculously overtook the national teams and took the lead – the only touriste-routier ever to do so.
Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins. You can see the full set of stories, and purchase postcards and prints, at www.thehandmadecyclist.com

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 26

1932 The touriste-routier category comprised a surprisingly large portion of the peloton.

Touriste-routiers started ten minutes after the national teams. Translated as ‘tourist of the road’ these amateur riders rode the Tour in their summer vacation and used it as a way of exploring France or promoting their bike shops (many were bike shop owners).

One tourist, Max Buller, miraculously overtook the national teams and took the lead – the only touriste-routier ever to do so.

Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins. You can see the full set of stories, and purchase postcards and prints, at www.thehandmadecyclist.com

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 25
1931 Antonin Magne was a man who liked to fret a lot, an awful lot. When his roommate André Leducq suggested he read some fan mail to cheer himself up, he couldn’t have predicted it how much it would change Magne’s fortunes.
Magne received a cautionary note from a fan saying “I am writing to warn you that Rebry has written to his mother saying he’ll attack on the stage from Charleville to Malo-les-Bains.”

Sure enough the prophecy was realized and Magne rode with Rebry like a man possessed to win the stage.
Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins. You can see the full set of stories, and purchase postcards and prints, at www.thehandmadecyclist.com

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 25

1931 Antonin Magne was a man who liked to fret a lot, an awful lot. When his roommate André Leducq suggested he read some fan mail to cheer himself up, he couldn’t have predicted it how much it would change Magne’s fortunes.

Magne received a cautionary note from a fan saying “I am writing to warn you that Rebry has written to his mother saying he’ll attack on the stage from Charleville to Malo-les-Bains.”

Sure enough the prophecy was realized and Magne rode with Rebry like a man possessed to win the stage.

Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins. You can see the full set of stories, and purchase postcards and prints, at www.thehandmadecyclist.com

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 24
1930 Henri Desgrange only ever wanted to change the rules if he thought the Tour was in danger of becoming predictable and dull.
In 1930, he received a lot of pressure following Victor Fontan’s calamitous misfortunes the previous year. Les Echos des Sports wrote “How can a man lose the Tour de France because of an accident to his bike? You lose the Tour de France when you find someone better than you are. You don’t lose it through a stupid accident to your machine”.
Desgrange finally relaxed the rules relating to bike repairs and 1930 became the first year riders could get outside help with mechanical problems.
Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins. You can see the full set of stories, and purchase postcards and prints, at www.thehandmadecyclist.com

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 24

1930 Henri Desgrange only ever wanted to change the rules if he thought the Tour was in danger of becoming predictable and dull.

In 1930, he received a lot of pressure following Victor Fontan’s calamitous misfortunes the previous year. Les Echos des Sports wrote “How can a man lose the Tour de France because of an accident to his bike? You lose the Tour de France when you find someone better than you are. You don’t lose it through a stupid accident to your machine”.

Desgrange finally relaxed the rules relating to bike repairs and 1930 became the first year riders could get outside help with mechanical problems.

Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins. You can see the full set of stories, and purchase postcards and prints, at www.thehandmadecyclist.com

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 23
1929 Victor Fontan - a rider who was shot twice in the leg during World War I - was preparing for victory when he crashed, breaking his forks. Like Christophe before him, the rules stated he needed to either fix his own bike, prove it was irreparable to the judges, finish with his bike, or quit.
As it was late at night the judges were nowhere to be seen, so he knocked on every door in a village in the hope he could borrow a bike. He eventually found one, strapped his old bike to his back and continued his defence of the yellow jersey.
Eventually, realising he was chasing an impossible dream, he stopped and sobbed by side of the road.
Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins. You can see the full set of stories, and purchase postcards and prints, at www.thehandmadecyclist.com

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 23

1929 Victor Fontan - a rider who was shot twice in the leg during World War I - was preparing for victory when he crashed, breaking his forks. Like Christophe before him, the rules stated he needed to either fix his own bike, prove it was irreparable to the judges, finish with his bike, or quit.

As it was late at night the judges were nowhere to be seen, so he knocked on every door in a village in the hope he could borrow a bike. He eventually found one, strapped his old bike to his back and continued his defence of the yellow jersey.

Eventually, realising he was chasing an impossible dream, he stopped and sobbed by side of the road.

Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins. You can see the full set of stories, and purchase postcards and prints, at www.thehandmadecyclist.com

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 22
1928 For the first time Australasia entered with a team of four including the esteemed Australian rider Hubert Opperman.
Opperman tells a tale of when he left his teammates to ride solo. “I approached a rider after many hours on my own and ventured some words in French, ‘C’est dur’ (it’s hard), but a grunt came back. I spoke again and again was ignored.
”So I said sarcastically in French ‘It’s dark, and you are too tired to talk’. I was startled by the reply ‘Shut up, you Froggie gasbag – I can’t understand a flaming word you’ve been jabbering’.
I had been unwittingly riding with my teammate Bainbridge all the while”.
Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins. You can see the full set of stories, and purchase postcards and prints, at www.thehandmadecyclist.com

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 22

1928 For the first time Australasia entered with a team of four including the esteemed Australian rider Hubert Opperman.

Opperman tells a tale of when he left his teammates to ride solo. “I approached a rider after many hours on my own and ventured some words in French, ‘C’est dur’ (it’s hard), but a grunt came back. I spoke again and again was ignored.

”So I said sarcastically in French ‘It’s dark, and you are too tired to talk’. I was startled by the reply ‘Shut up, you Froggie gasbag – I can’t understand a flaming word you’ve been jabbering’.

I had been unwittingly riding with my teammate Bainbridge all the while”.

Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins. You can see the full set of stories, and purchase postcards and prints, at www.thehandmadecyclist.com

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 21
1927 Theories abound about the untimely death of the celebrated rider Ottavio Bottechia.
He was found with his skull broken and his bike abandoned by the side of the road shortly before the Tour in 1927. As an outspoken socialist, it isclaimed he was becoming an embarrassment to the Fascist regime ruling Italy.
But the mystery was apparently solved when a farmer claimed on his deathbed he threw a rock at Bottechia for eating his grapes.
Curiously his brother was also killed near the same spot two years later.
Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins. You can see the full set of stories, and purchase postcards and prints, at www.thehandmadecyclist.com

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 21

1927 Theories abound about the untimely death of the celebrated rider Ottavio Bottechia.

He was found with his skull broken and his bike abandoned by the side of the road shortly before the Tour in 1927. As an outspoken socialist, it is
claimed he was becoming an embarrassment to the Fascist regime ruling Italy.

But the mystery was apparently solved when a farmer claimed on his deathbed he threw a rock at Bottechia for eating his grapes.

Curiously his brother was also killed near the same spot two years later.

Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins. You can see the full set of stories, and purchase postcards and prints, at www.thehandmadecyclist.com

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 20
1926 Lucien Buysse’s daughter sadly died two weeks before the Tour.
Heartbroken, his family urged him to race, which made him search deep within himself to win one of the most gruelling stages in the history of the Tour.
Stage 10 was been described as ‘The Day From Hell’. The peleton suffered in the most atrocious weather conditions.
Setting off at 2am in freezing fog, the rain and snow beat down on the riders, forcing many to walk the sodden, muddy paths. Of 126 starters, only 54 finished, some as late as midnight, having ridden for a staggering 22 hours.

Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins. You can see the full set of stories, and purchase postcards and prints, at www.thehandmadecyclist.com

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 20

1926 Lucien Buysse’s daughter sadly died two weeks before the Tour.

Heartbroken, his family urged him to race, which made him search deep within himself to win one of the most gruelling stages in the history of the Tour.

Stage 10 was been described as ‘The Day From Hell’. The peleton suffered in the most atrocious weather conditions.

Setting off at 2am in freezing fog, the rain and snow beat down on the riders, forcing many to walk the sodden, muddy paths. Of 126 starters, only 54 finished, some as late as midnight, having ridden for a staggering 22 hours.

Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins. You can see the full set of stories, and purchase postcards and prints, at www.thehandmadecyclist.com

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 19
1925 The Pellisier brothers abandoned in fury with Henri Desgrange again, and it was the last time Henri Pellisier rode the tour. So volatile was Henri’s temper, it drove his first wife to suicide.
Henri’s second wife also suffered his wrath and when she could stand no more she violently killed him… with the same gun his first wife had used on herself.

Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins. You can see the full set of stories, and purchase postcards and prints, at www.thehandmadecyclist.com

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 19

1925 The Pellisier brothers abandoned in fury with Henri Desgrange again, and it was the last time Henri Pellisier rode the tour. So volatile was Henri’s temper, it drove his first wife to suicide.

Henri’s second wife also suffered his wrath and when she could stand no more she violently killed him… with the same gun his first wife had used on herself.

Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins. You can see the full set of stories, and purchase postcards and prints, at www.thehandmadecyclist.com

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 18
1924 Often at loggerheads with Tour organisers over their barbaric rules, Henri and Francis Pellisier abandoned due to a row about discarding extra jerseys en route.

It was usually freezing when they set off but boiling as the day wore on so they wore an extra jersey in the morning to keep warm (which was against the rules).

Pellisier gave an interview to Albert Londres and said “You have no idea what the Tour de France is. We suffer from the start to the end, at night in our rooms, we can’t sleep. We twitch and dance and jig about as though we were doing St Vitus’ dance and there is less flesh on our bodies than on a skeleton. The truth is we keep going on dynamite.”
Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins. You can see the full set of stories, and purchase postcards and prints, at www.thehandmadecyclist.com

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 18

1924 Often at loggerheads with Tour organisers over their barbaric rules, Henri and Francis Pellisier abandoned due to a row about discarding extra jerseys en route.
It was usually freezing when they set off but boiling as the day wore on so they wore an extra jersey in the morning to keep warm (which was against the rules).
Pellisier gave an interview to Albert Londres and said “You have no idea what the Tour de France is. We suffer from the start to the end, at night in our rooms, we can’t sleep. We twitch and dance and jig about as though we were doing St Vitus’ dance and there is less flesh on our bodies than on a skeleton. The truth is we keep going on dynamite.”

Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins. You can see the full set of stories, and purchase postcards and prints, at www.thehandmadecyclist.com

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 17
1923 Octavia Bottechia was ecstatic to be riding his first Tour, and became was the first Italian to wear the yellow jersey.
He arrived from Italy knowing very little French and claimed his linguistic skills stopped at “No bananas, just lots of coffee please.”
The 1923 winner, Henri Pellisier, predicted Ottavio would succeed him the following year. He was right, his taste for the yellow jersey was whetted and he went on to wear it for the entire Tour in 1924.
Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins. You can see the full set of stories, and purchase postcards and prints, at www.thehandmadecyclist.com

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 17

1923 Octavia Bottechia was ecstatic to be riding his first Tour, and became was the first Italian to wear the yellow jersey.

He arrived from Italy knowing very little French and claimed his linguistic skills stopped at “No bananas, just lots of coffee please.”

The 1923 winner, Henri Pellisier, predicted Ottavio would succeed him the following year. He was right, his taste for the yellow jersey was whetted and he went on to wear it for the entire Tour in 1924.

Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins. You can see the full set of stories, and purchase postcards and prints, at www.thehandmadecyclist.com

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 16
1922 Honoré Barthélémy was one of the Tour’s tough guys, but he reluctantly abandoned in 1922 due to a series of crashes.
Some claim he was having problems with his limited eyesight. Two years previously he crashed and got back on his bike only to realise he had been blinded in one eye.
It didn’t stop him racing but his glass eye frequently fell out. He often claimed he spent more on replacement glass eyes than he earned in prize money.
Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins. You can see the full set of stories, and purchase postcards and prints, at www.thehandmadecyclist.com

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 16

1922 Honoré Barthélémy was one of the Tour’s tough guys, but he reluctantly abandoned in 1922 due to a series of crashes.

Some claim he was having problems with his limited eyesight. Two years previously he crashed and got back on his bike only to realise he had been blinded in one eye.

It didn’t stop him racing but his glass eye frequently fell out. He often claimed he spent more on replacement glass eyes than he earned in prize money.

Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins. You can see the full set of stories, and purchase postcards and prints, at www.thehandmadecyclist.com

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 15
1921 Rules stated riders had to fix any mechanical problems without help and had to finish the stage with their bike.
When Léon Scieur’s wheel broke beyond repair 40km into a 364km stage he was faced with two cruel choices: either abandon or finish the stage with his bike. He chose the latter.
Incredibly, he borrowed a bike and rode 300km with his broken bike strapped to his back. So gruelling was the journey that his back was scarred for life. Ouch.
Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins.

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 15

1921 Rules stated riders had to fix any mechanical problems without help and had to finish the stage with their bike.

When Léon Scieur’s wheel broke beyond repair 40km into a 364km stage he was faced with two cruel choices: either abandon or finish the stage with his bike. He chose the latter.

Incredibly, he borrowed a bike and rode 300km with his broken bike strapped to his back. So gruelling was the journey that his back was scarred for life. Ouch.

Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins.

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 14
1920 Who could take the title of The Unluckiest Rider? Perhaps Napoleon Paoli. A bike was not the only thing this cyclist was forced to ride. Paoli careered down a descent and ploughed into a donkey, flinging him and his bike into the air. Somehow, Paoli landed on the back of the frightened animal, which charged down the mountain.
He finally jumped off after a mile and ran back to get his bike – only to be struck on the head by a falling rock and had to abandon the Tour.
Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins.

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 14

1920 Who could take the title of The Unluckiest Rider? Perhaps Napoleon Paoli. A bike was not the only thing this cyclist was forced to ride. Paoli careered down a descent and ploughed into a donkey, flinging him and his bike into the air. Somehow, Paoli landed on the back of the frightened animal, which charged down the mountain.

He finally jumped off after a mile and ran back to get his bike – only to be struck on the head by a falling rock and had to abandon the Tour.

Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins.

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 13
1919 This was officially the s-l-o-w-e-s-t ever Tour de France and also one of the smallest in terms of entrants. Tragically many riders had been killed in action during the First World War, including previous winners François Faber, Octave Lapize and Lucien Petit-Breton.
Of the 67 starters only a miniscule ten finished. The war had ravaged the roads, and most riders found it impossible to go the distance. The riders struggled to an average speed of 24kph (compare this to the average speed today of around 40kph).
Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins.

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 13

1919 This was officially the s-l-o-w-e-s-t ever Tour de France and also one of the smallest in terms of entrants. Tragically many riders had been killed in action during the First World War, including previous winners François Faber, Octave Lapize and Lucien Petit-Breton.

Of the 67 starters only a miniscule ten finished. The war had ravaged the roads, and most riders found it impossible to go the distance. The riders struggled to an average speed of 24kph (compare this to the average speed today of around 40kph).

Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins.

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 12
1914 Was Phillipe Thys (whose nickname was the ‘Basset Hound’ on account of his low riding style) the first man ever to wear the yellow jersey? He claimed his manager, Alphonse Baugé told him to wear it but he refused as the other riders called him a canary.

There is no photographic evidence of him wearing yellow so the honour is usually awarded to Eugene Christophé.
Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins.

A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 12

1914 Was Phillipe Thys (whose nickname was the ‘Basset Hound’ on account of his low riding style) the first man ever to wear the yellow jersey? He claimed his manager, Alphonse Baugé told him to wear it but he refused as the other riders called him a canary.

There is no photographic evidence of him wearing yellow so the honour is usually awarded to Eugene Christophé.

Every day until the Grand Depart, we’ll be sharing 100 stories from the last 100 years, a design per day until the greatest show on earth begins.