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French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France Paperback – 28 Jun 2001

4.0 out of 5 stars 165 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Yellow Jersey; 1st ed. edition (28 Jun. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224060953
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224060950
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.2 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,179,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Review

"A combination of slapstick, absurd simile and a healthy suspicion of French civilisation' oh and 'One of the funniest books about sport ever written" (Sunday Times)

"Something to laugh at on every page" (Daily Telegraph)

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

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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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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Format: Paperback
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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By A Customer on 29 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
Having run out of books on holiday i picked up my father's copy of 'French Revolutions'. I expected any book my dad owned to be heavily detailed on group sets and bottom brackets, and of little intest to the casual cyclist. How wrong was I. You don't need to know anything about the tour, the book is laugh out loud funny, unputdownable. The acheivement of any man who can ride this incredable race is hammered home, there is no sporting acheivement on earth like this one. However what really makes the book good is the way it draws in the reader, everyone's had the 5year old in the park experience of riding, but few can express it as hilariously as Tim Moore. The book is packed with dry humour and an author people can relate to, 'French Revolutions' has to be in my top ten of books. Go out - Buy it!
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