Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cycling History

I realised today that I've written quite a few posts on the history of cycling. As such, I've decided to put them all together in one place for those who share my interest.

You'll notice on the navigation bar above that there is now a new page entitled Cycling History. Whenever you've got a thirst for some tales of yore of the two-wheeled nature, just click there (or here).

Fausto Coppi; a big player in cycling's history

Friday, June 22, 2012

How a bicycle is made

This film was released in 1945 and outlines the design and manufacture of a bicycle. It was filmed in the Raleigh factory in Nottingham.

In the grand scheme of things, bicycles haven't changed all that much since then. This is a quaint overview of how our "faithful friends" came to being...

How a Bicycle is Made (1945) from British Council Film on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Dreyfus Affair & the Tour de France

Alfred Dreyfus of Dreyfus Affair fame

It's well known (amongst bike nerds) that the Tour de France was started by a newspaper as a way to boost sales. What's less known is the fact that the Dreyfus Affair led to the very creation of said newspaper.

For those unfamiliar with the Dreyfus Affair, it can be summed-up thus; in 1894 a Jewish French army captain named Alfred Dreyfus was sentenced to life imprisonment for selling military secrets to ze Germans. The only problem was, he hadn't. Evidence of this came to light but was suppressed by the army. Word of the cover-up began to leak and the whole thing became a shit storm between those that supported Dreyfus (the Dreyfusards) and those who didn't (wait for it...the anti-Dreyfusards (who were also generally anti-Semites)). Eventually (five years later) he was set free and all charges against him were shown to be baseless. You can read more about it here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

An alternative history of the Tour de France by numbers

Yesterday, posted an interesting little piece on the history of the Tour de France in numbers. It explores all the fastest, bestest and mostest of the world's most famous (cycling) race.

While that's all grand, I thought it's also worth looking at the other side of the coin; the slowest, worstest and leastest. And I assure you, this is not to belittle those who've won with the lowest average speed or come last most often - indeed, it could be said that these are the cyclists who have had to fight the most courageously, and some for very little recognition.

Wim Vansevenant - a champion (at coming last)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Yangon - the city with nary a bicycle

The blog's been a little quiet lately and for that I apologise.

One of my excellent excuses for this being the case is the fact that I've been in Myanmar for the last 10 days. I realise that still leaves two weeks of blog silence unaccounted for and for that I blame laziness.

Anyway, Myanmar is an interesting place. It is a country that is quickly opening its doors to the outside world and moving tentatively towards democracy, maybe.

And like other countries in the region, it also has many bicycles. That is, unless you visit the former capital and economic centre, Yangon. There, you'll be hard pressed to find any two-wheeled vehicles, be they motorised or otherwise.