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.


A Miscellany of Le Tour de France - Day 11
1913 Early Tour de France rules were frequently ludicrously strict and were put in place by Desgrange to make an example of the riders - no more so than one of the favorites, Eugène Christophe.
On his way down the Tourmalet Christophe’s forks broke, but rules stated that any repairs had to be done by the rider himself. He walked 10km to a local blacksmith and set about forging the fork himself, asking a young lad to keep the embers hot with bellows.

As a result of the young boy’s efforts Christophe was fined ten minutes for accepting outside help.
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 11

1913 Early Tour de France rules were frequently ludicrously strict and were put in place by Desgrange to make an example of the riders - no more so than one of the favorites, Eugène Christophe.

On his way down the Tourmalet Christophe’s forks broke, but rules stated that any repairs had to be done by the rider himself. He walked 10km to a local blacksmith and set about forging the fork himself, asking a young lad to keep the embers hot with bellows.
As a result of the young boy’s efforts Christophe was fined ten minutes for accepting outside help.

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 10
1912 The hot favourite was Lucien Petit-Breton, who spectacularly crashed into a cow and was forced to abandon on Stage 2.
Petit-Breton began cycling when he won a bike in a lottery age 16. His real name was Lucien Mazan but he was forced to conceal his rising popularity as a cyclist from his family and his father, who disapproved of his choice of a cycling career.
There was another Breton in the race so he was nicknamed Petit-Breton, as he was the smaller of the two.
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 10

1912 The hot favourite was Lucien Petit-Breton, who spectacularly crashed into a cow and was forced to abandon on Stage 2.

Petit-Breton began cycling when he won a bike in a lottery age 16. His real name was Lucien Mazan but he was forced to conceal his rising popularity as a cyclist from his family and his father, who disapproved of his choice of a cycling career.

There was another Breton in the race so he was nicknamed Petit-Breton, as he was the smaller of the two.

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 9
1911 Some of the lesser known cyclists (or domestiques) were paid a pittance. They needed to put their entrepreneurial spirit to good use as a way of raising money for bed and board en route.
Jules Deloffre would happily perform acrobatic tricks in order to raise money, no mean feat after a grueling day on a bike.
He appeared in fifteen Tours and his most lucrative income was from arranging boxing matches with riders and fans.
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 9

1911 Some of the lesser known cyclists (or domestiques) were paid a pittance. They needed to put their entrepreneurial spirit to good use as a way of raising money for bed and board en route.

Jules Deloffre would happily perform acrobatic tricks in order to raise money, no mean feat after a grueling day on a bike.

He appeared in fifteen Tours and his most lucrative income was from arranging boxing matches with riders and fans.

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 8
1910 You would be forgiven for thinking the first Tour fatality involved a smattering of skullduggery or a brutal crash.
But no, Adolphe Helière - a rider also responsible for creating the route - should have omitted the coast.
He visited the Côte d’Azur on his rest day and went for a dip in the sea, only to be fatally stung by a highly poisonous jellyfish.
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 8

1910 You would be forgiven for thinking the first Tour fatality involved a smattering of skullduggery or a brutal crash.

But no, Adolphe Helière - a rider also responsible for creating the route - should have omitted the coast.

He visited the Côte d’Azur on his rest day and went for a dip in the sea, only to be fatally stung by a highly poisonous jellyfish.

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.