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French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France [Paperback]

Tim Moore
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Jun 2002
Self-confessed loafer Time Moore, seduced by the speed and glamour of the biggest annual sporting even in the world, sets out to cycle the course of the Tour de France. All 3,630km of it. Racing old men on butchers' bikes and chased by cows, Moore soon resorts to standard race tactics - cheating and drugs - in a hilarious and moving tale of true adventure.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New edition edition (6 Jun 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099433826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099433828
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 236,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tim Moore's writing has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, the Observer, The Sunday Times and Esquire. He is the author of French Revolutions, Do Not Pass Go, Spanish Steps, Nul Points and I Believe In Yesterday. He lives in London.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Comic writer Tim Moore trades his ailing Rolls Royce for a bicycle, a map and a water bottle in French Revolutions. This is a quest to pedal the route of the Tour de France, no mean feat for the fit, let alone a self-described suburban slouch. The resulting 2,256-haphazard-mile journey transforms Moore into an incredibly fit and passionately proud cyclist. Initially, Moore takes the "I will do it and it probably will kill me" approach. His normal perspective, as a stooge to life's misfortunes, plays well as he prepares to ride the route of the 2000 Tour de France. Moore is the everyman who pedalled in youth and now wouldn't ride a bike to the corner store. But unlike a traveller by car, train or plane, Moore has to navigate France under his own steam. Somewhere around the Ventoux, the world's windiest place, Moore starts to change. He becomes enraptured by the feat itself as mile by mile he realises he is no longer an accidental cyclist but a lean, mean cycling machine. Gradually, the narrative turns from travel to a personal quest. Along the route, Moore's details of the heroes of the Tour make an excellent primer on this gruelling race and helps the uninitiated understand the frenzy that grips France each July as the races meanders through incidental villages, over mountains and, finally, into Paris. It is worth reading for that alone. Having survived mountains of pain, a disgusting diet and motels of dubious value, a new, muscular Moore concludes that "I might never leave my mark on the Tour, but that didn't matter. It has left its mark on me". To follow Moore's path of perspiration is certainly not a vacation. Yet, this curmudgeonly clever and inspirational book makes one want to do just that. "Old Father Time was catching up with Old Father Tim. If I didn't do it this year, I wouldn't because maybe next year I couldn't," he says before starting out. And that, as Tim Moore so surely points out, is what pushes any true traveller out the door. --Kathleen Buckley --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


"One of the funniest books about sport ever written" (Sunday Times)

"Moore is a talented and funny writer, who, through a combination of slapstick, absurd simile and a healthy suspicion of French civilisation, gives us something to laugh at on every page" (Daily Telegraph)

"Embarrassingly laugh-out-loud" (Daily Express)

"Moore's floundering attempts to emulate the Herculean feats of his cycling heroes unfold with eyewetting hilarity" (The Times)

"Moore unleashes a high-energy torrent of astute observation and hilarious self-deprecation. Hailed a the new Bill Bryson, he is in fact a writer of considerably more substance... The jokes come thick and fast" (Irish Times)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warning: do not read in public 9 Aug 2001
By A Customer
As a keen cyclist (well, 50 miles a week) and a huge Tour de France fan, I was looking forward to this as a substitute for Channel 4's absent coverage of the race this year. What I didn't expect was that as well as being an informative, inspirational and - yes - moving account of a splendidly hopeless amateur's attempt to "do the Tour", French Revolutions would also turn out to be perhaps the funniest book I've ever read. My wife banned me from reading it in bed because I kept her awake with my helpless giggling, and reading it on a crowded train one morning was a BIG mistake.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hats off! 20 May 2011
Make no mistake, Tim Moore is a funny guy. French Revolutions had me chortling out loud on every second page or so. Even if the chortles dried up, my enjoyment levels never dipped. This is an engaging and amusing read.

According to the blurb, Tim Moore is a London-based travel writer and journalist with six or more books to his name: by his own account he was anything but a fully seasoned cyclist before he undertook the challenge that provides the backbone for this book - to cycle the route of the 2000 Tour de France.

While he may not be the most accomplished cyclist, Moore's writing certainly communicates his love of the sport of cycling and his admiration for the greats of the past. French Revolutions is dedicated to Tom Simpson. The book is full of pithy, often rude, but always kindly references to the likes of Lemond, Boardman, Roche, Anquetil, Merckx, Hinault and Indurain to name but a few of the book's passing stars. If like me, you are a plodding tourist, but with dreams, however misplaced, of future glories, French Revolutions will give you lots of inspiration and insights into racing cycling.

Obviously, this is not a book aimed at the world-tourer. Rather it is part-romp, part-homage to racing and part personal diary of a single trip. It is not where to go to find details of routes nor 'how tos'. It does have one core message for the would-be, but novice tourist: you can expect and hope to get better and fitter on the trip if you stick at it. Moore at the outset is unprepared and ill-equipted for long days and any significant inclines. By the end he is taking on some of the major cols of the route (and the occasional other cyclist) and seeing them off with them with some aplomb and a real relish. For that message alone, its worth a read, but its also funny and inspirational.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars chapeau!!! 29 Jun 2001
By A Customer
Again Tim Moore set out on a ridiculous quest, to follow in the tyre treads of the Tour de France. As someone with no interest in cycling (proffesional or otherwise) I dont think I would have read this had I not known the authors previous work, but this is for anyone who wants to embarass themselves with hysterical laughter in public places. Moore is so ill prepared its frightening but throughout his struggle with mountains, French hotel proprietors and large volumes of alcohol he will give you hope that maybe even you (yes you in front of the computer) could acheive something of such great athletic magnitude, if only really wanted to. Informative on the history of the Tour de France and very, very funny. Read it.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This is one of the most entertaining books I've read in a long time. Moore gives an account of his journey around the Tour de France route in a most witty and comical way, his style is fresh and personal. I loved his interesting anecdotes and oddments of information about the Tour and its riders, it a is very humbling book to read as the author has such as obvious respect for the Tour riders and I can't help but totally agree. I am neither a Tour de France fanatic or a great cyclist but I still enjoyed this book immensely, and from now on shall be watching 'le tour' in a very different light. I can't recommend 'French Revolutions' enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tour de Force 24 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've just finished this whilst on holiday in France and watching The Tour de France on TV, and Tim Moore's book was the perfect accompaniment to all that. I much preferred French Revolutions to his later Spanish Steps - things happen faster on a bike than alongside a donkey, and the history of the Tour was (to me) much more interesting than the history of the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, although the annual Gallic bike ride seems to engender just as much (if not more) reverential hysteria. The usual Moore preoccupations all line up with him at the start of his one-man circuit of France (self-deprecation, being generally out of his depth, unfriendly interchanges with the natives, problems with language, equipment, accommodation and family) but what sustains him most as he covers over 3,000 km (genuinely impressive) is his trade-mark wry bemusement and deep respect for the real riders who have gone before.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
A fantastic and hugely funny account of riding the Le Tour Route, whilst at the same time paying homage to the insane drive of the professionals who complete this monsters event, and also, to the equally brave who don't survive the ordeal.

A great read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Humourous, Factual and Entertaining. 23 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I ordered this after watching the start of the Tour de France in York and realising that I know nothing of the rules, conventions or history of this sport. Also I knew it would be a light hearted look at the race and also a travel book which I like. This is a great read with humour, facts and is littered with opinions both good and not so good about our neighbours across the channel! You do not have to be a cycling fan to appreciate this book but it does help if you have been to France and have experience of a bit of French culture! However it was written some time ago so (for instance) references about the talents of Lance Armstrong are now a little out of date! I would recommend.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars For Tour Fans
An easy read. Suitable for Tour fans who like to learn about different aspects of the Tour.
Published 15 days ago by Princess
3.0 out of 5 stars NEW TO TIM
VERY FUNNY I really enjoyed the book and the candour. A real miracle in achieving what was first conceived at a drunken night out.
Published 21 days ago by JH McDonagh
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Funny Book
Like many other reviewers I found myself giggling out loud whilst reading this book. It is extremely well written and very funny. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Jane
5.0 out of 5 stars Good fun read for those who like cycling
Good fun if you are into cycling and dream of taking on long distance rides one day. A quick, relaxing, funny uncomplicated read.
Published 1 month ago by Michel Everaert
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for everyone.
My father lent me this book, enthusing about its content shortly after he and I were discussing the recent Tour de France. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Read this after reading Gironimo, found it to be another excellently written book, like Gironimo it had me giggling in public and wanting to ride around France, great book.
Published 1 month ago by Mike w
5.0 out of 5 stars Another very readable effort.
Another cycling tour from Tim Moore, everything you'd expect and more, well worth a read.
Published 1 month ago by ANTHONY.V. ACRES
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull and uninspiring
As someone who enjoys cycling, the Tour de France and France itself I thought this would be an enjoyable read. Unfortunately I was wrong. Read more
Published 1 month ago by DH Kingston
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly entertaining read
Bought this for my dad who used to love riding his bike but at 91 tends to limit himself to reading books and watching the Tour de France on television. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Diane H. Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars Would Have Been Excellent If He Didn't Rely On His Thesaurus so Much!
I am currently obsessed with anything cycling. I have been for the last couple of years. I've read most of the popular books on the subject and I was in Paris when Wiggins won the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by T. Young
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