Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tour de France 2016 route and reading suggestions

French Village Diaries Tour de France 2016 route and reading
Tour de France 2016 route

Last week saw the official launch of the 2016 Tour de France route in a glittering, star attended ceremony in Paris. Unfortunately my invitation seemed to get lost in the post so I had to make do with checking it out on their website, but it was still exciting to discover the route is going to be coming a lot closer to the Poitou-Charentes than it did this year. Most notably for us, Angers in the Loire will be a finish point on Monday 4th July and the neighbouring town of Saumur will be the start point on Tuesday 5th with Limoges in the Limousin doubling up as the finish point on Tuesday and the start point on Wednesday 6th. If you would like to catch a bit of the action, which I highly recommend, check out Freewheeling France for lots of ideas of bicycle friendly accommodation in France. Also, Grange 87, the apartment in Eymoutiers where we spent a lovely night in September, will be a perfect base for Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th. As usual Paris will host the final on Sunday 24th and we are already looking at hotel reservations having really enjoyed the experience and atmosphere this year, despite the weather, and it wasn’t as expensive as you might expect.

Now the clocks have changed to wintertime we have reached the season where the weather won’t always be ideal for cycling, but it is not all doom and gloom as it's a great time of year to indulge in some cycle themed reading. Here are a few suggestions of books that I have enjoyed.

Tour De France Records 2015 is a great coffee table book that is ideal reading matter for all Tour fans, from beginners wanting to understand a bit more about the event, the locations and the riders, to real enthusiasts wanting to assimilate ALL the facts. I think we fall somewhere between the two, but having spent a weekend dipping in and out of this book I’m sure we are well on the way to becoming proper Tour nerds. With over two hundred pages packed with facts and trivia this book would also be a great gift for the cycle enthusiast in your life.

Victoria Pendleton’s Between the Lines: My Autobiography is an emotional journey that shows just what it takes to make an Olympic champion. I will admit I’m not someone who has followed Victoria’s career from the start, rather, I am a wife and mother in my forties who discovered cycling less than five years ago and who now owns a Pendleton Initial road bike. The more I ride the more interest I have for the sport and it’s stars and I couldn’t wait to read Victoria’s story. I was instantly hit by the drive, determination and emotion flowing through this book that gripped me and kept me page turning. I also learned a lot about the world of track cycling, and the work and sacrifices it takes to become a champion. Reading this book left my head awash with emotions and adrenalin as well as a huge respect for a great sportsperson.

Cat by Freya North, is a novel that follows sports journalist Cat as she gets to grips with the mad world of the Tour de France while working on her first reporting assignment. This is a well researched book that combined my love of writing, cycling and reading, where there was a real tingle of excitement at the finish line each day as well as plenty of romance mingled with life behind the scenes of one of the greatest sporting events in the world. I loved this book, I loved the character of Cat and if I’m honest I really wanted to be Cat, she has the job of my dreams.

Ned Boulting, a real journalist and TV commentator has written two very witty accounts of life behind the scenes of the Tour de France, How I Won the Yellow Jumper: Dispatches from the Tour de France and 101 Damnations: Dispatches from the 101st Tour de France . His first book is his tale of his first tour and tells how a cycling novice becomes a huge fan, despite a wobbly start. His second book is his account of the 2014 Tour de France that started with much fanfare and hope in Yorkshire, but quickly became a difficult and disappointing tour for Britain and our riders. I enjoyed both of these books where life on the road is recounted with humour, interspersed with some great facts and trivia for wannabe tour nerds like me.

This seasons new releases include memoirs by Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas The World of Cycling According to G and recently retired David Millar The Racer: Life on the Road as a Pro Cyclist who is now on the Tour commentary team with Ned Boulting. I’m looking forward to reading these two memoirs this winter.

Other Tour de France related reads I have previously reviewed are:
French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France by Tim Moore, my review.

Happy cycling and reading!

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