Vive Le Tour! – 1962 Film About the Tour de France

This is a charming look at the world’s greatest bike race from 1962. I see that Louis Malle is credited as one of the directors. You can see the incredible efforts put in by racers in the mountains and how back in the early sixties they would eat fruit on their bikes and sometimes dart into village restaurants along way to snatch bottles of water, wine and ice cream! The film also mentions the issue of doping as it was practiced in 1962 which seems to have mainly been an effort to mask the pain. The one depressing thing about this film is that it shows the sport of bike racing in 1962 was as uniformly white as it is today. The complete lack of diversity in the Tour de France is a shame and an unforgivable embarrassment to the race itself and to the sport as a whole. The damn race is so white that it makes my teeth hurt to watch it. And I watch every stage of it every single year. So trust me, it’s an all-white event and the organizers and teams should be investigated for that issue which is actually far more important than the doping issue. Every single racer dopes. But quite obviously the dope is only given to white racers. The Tour de France is becoming a European NASCAR. Just go ask Lance.

Film: The 1910 Challenge

As the 2010 Tour de France bike race winds its way through the French Pyrenees mountains, cyclists and fans everywhere are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first time a stage of the race went up the Pyrenees. The range is rugged and steep, presenting the riders with a greater challenge than the more gradual ascents of the Alps. In 1910, riders first hazarded the devastating climbs. Now, bike clothing manufacturer Rapha has produced this beautiful film about four riders celebrating the Tour’s Pyrenees anniversary by riding up a mountain called the Col du Tourmalet. That’s the mountain that the current Tour de France race is on at the moment. These four riders pay their respects to the 1910 racers and their equipment by enjoying every hardship presented to them by the mountain and the wet weather.

I do a lot of mountain road riding in California and I can appreciate the difficulty of this incredible Col du Tourmalet climb.  I’d love to do it myself.  Equipping yourself with water, food and repair items to set out over remote slopes is a very focused and exciting thing to do.  I recommend it to anyone.