I’ve done it, you’ve done it, just about every cyclist has done it: wondered what it would be like to ride Le Tour. Just once. It looks hard, and those guys sure look awful while they’re climbing the mountains.
Well, except Armstrong. I’m talking mortal, human type people, not aliens from Planet Peloton. French Revolutions is the story of Tim Moore’s adventure in search of adventure: riding the 87th Tour de France.
Tim is 36 years old, married, family, and not too terribly active as far as cycling goes. But listening to Phil Liggett’s commentary on Stephen Roche in 1987 (“There’s someone coming through the mist … it can’t be … it is! It’s Roche! It’s Stephen Roche!”) puts the bug in his brain.
For the next several years he followed the Tour, all the time thinking how great it would be to experience it. Finally, he decides to ride the 3,630 kilometers in the six weeks before the Tour. Twice as long as Lance.
Quoting from the back cover:
“Ignoring the pleading dictates of common sense, Tim Moore determined to tackle the most fearsome physical challenge ever conceived by man: the Tour de France. French Revolutions gives us a hilariously unforgettable account of Moore’s attempt to conquer all 2,256 miles of it. “Conquer” might not be quite the right word. He cheats when he can, pops the occasional hay fever pill for an ephedrine rush (a fine old Tour tradition), sips cheap wine from his water bottle, and occasionally weeps on the phone to his wife. But along the way he gives readers an account of the race’s colorful history and greatest heroes: Eddy Merckx, Greg Lemond, Lance Armstrong, and even Firmin Lambot, aka the “Lucky Belgian,” who won the race at the age of thirty-six. This is Tim Moore’s funniest book to date. It is also one of the funniest sports books ever written.
The book is a mixture of Tour history and riders stories mixed with his adventures along the way. Pretty funny stuff at times. Like when he describes some of the riders faces when they are riding, all grim determination, especially Bernard Hinault: “Hinault’s default demeanor on a bicycle suggested he’d just been told that some bloke up the road was prancing around in a wedding dress singing, ‘Bernard, Bernard, je m’appelle Bernard.’”
If you’re looking for some fun reading this winter after you get done with your roller or trainer session, pick up a copy of this book.