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French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France Paperback – 28 Jun 2001
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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
"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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is laugh out loud funny (beware on public transport). My wife also loved reading this book and she isn't a cyclist.Published 12 days ago by Mr R J Allwood
What a load of boring rubbish. Seriously I'm an avid reader of all manner of books from factual history to fiction. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Mark the spark
Tim Moore is no Bill Bryson. Get that straight right at the start. Disregard the cover puff, Tim Moore is an entertaining, if wordy, writer. Read morePublished 5 months ago by weltonian
A great book, which brings back vivid memories of my own (less ambitious) cycling career. Particularly the way it hurt. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Ed
Liked the humour and the interweaving of story, geographic detail and tour history as a fellow cyclist. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Gary J Mitchell
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