The 108th version of the Tour de France (TDF) is now in the history books and as usual, it was filled with memorable moments. Whether you root for the overall winner of the Yellow jersey, winners of the other specialty jerseys, such as the White, Green, or Polka Dot, riders of a particular nationality, such as Americans, Columbians, Slovenians, or French, or the records broken, such as the number of stage wins, there was plenty to keep us interested this year in the world’s greatest cycling event.
I first became aware of the Tour de France in 2004 when I was on a mission to learn everything I could about cycling in preparation for opening a bike shop. When I learned that at that time there were 5 cyclists who had won it 5 times I named and decorated each of the 5 rooms of the Earth Rider Hotel after each of them. During the tour season I showed the race continuously on the TV in the bike shop. Interest has waned among some since then, possibly due to the publicity around doping and for us in the United States, lack of American contenders.
At Earth Rider we like to sell basic black bikes. It is a nice neutral color and no customer ever walked away from buying a bike because it was black. But with something as important to your well-being and transportation as a bike, it is nice to express your personality with it, just like you do with your clothing and hair style. So, whether you start with a canvas of all black or your bike has some color you want to highlight or compliment there are several options to customize your bike so it looks like all yours and is easy to pick out among others at a bike rack. We are going to suggest what you can easily swap out and add and what you should avoid doing without careful thought.
One of the upsides of the COVID-19 pandemic is a boom in outdoor recreation. Activities such as hiking, cycling, boating, fishing, camping, picnicking, and winter activities (skiing, snow shoeing, snowboarding, tobogganing) have seen increased interest. Participation in outdoor recreation usually hovers around 50% of the population, but last year it increased to 69%. As stay-at-home restrictions have relaxed, many people discovered that outdoor pursuits are an appealing response to living with COVID-19. The desire to focus on health and wellness and make the best of these trying times has resulted in more people getting outside to play.
The bike touring company Ciclismo Classico, which is based in Arlington, MA but considers the world its home, had to cancel all its European tours this year. But trying to salvage a bike touring season, they sponsored bike tours late summer following all the latest COVID-19 protocols, not to their signature destinations in Italy and Ireland, but in the Finger Lakes of New York and also Southern New Hampshire. This allowed adventure seekers to drive to the start and bike routes consisting of loops, out and back, so that they would be near their car at the end of the trip. These “close to home” tours were able to satisfy participants yearning for new experiences, outdoor activity, and camaraderie.
During this year of disruptions most of us have spent more time than usual avoiding other people and forgoing our favorite activities. It might be comforting this holiday season to reach out to our business associates, friends and family with a holiday card. In this age of social media, texting, and email, a physical holiday card with a newsletter or hand written message might be welcome. If you have been the recipient of bad holiday newsletters in the past you might think a newsletter is the last thing you want to do, but a newsletter or hand written message tucked into a beautiful card would probably be most welcome this year. Even if the newsletter is obviously sent to others, people will feel more connected to you just for received your special news. Just the act of mailing a holiday card signals that you took the time to think of them and create a bond during the holidays. The addition of a message makes it personal.
If you want to extend your biking season into the colder months, what gear should you have? What is the best type of bicycle to ride in the cold? How do you talk yourself into rolling out when the weather is not sunny, warm and dry? These topics and more were covered at the Nov. 10 virtual Zoom Chicago Cycling Club meeting. Panel members that shared their insights were Charlie Sax, Dave Barish, and Melanie Shaw.
The pandemic has changed life as we know it for everyone, from children to seniors, and everyone in between. With limitations on the size of gatherings and face to face interaction many organizations with a social service mission have had to change the way they operate. At the September 15 Evanston Bike Club (EBC) meeting three organizations that also happen to be EBC grant recipients provided an update on adjustments they’ve made to their programs in light of COVID-19.
“Best Tour de France ever.” - George Hincapie, Veteran Tour de France racer
We knew the 2020 version of the Tour de France was going to be different due to the pandemic. The race started 9 weeks later than originally planned, there were strict limits on interactions between fans, staff, and teams and the race was wide open during the first six or so stages with the winner being predicted from six contenders. A likely winner rose up, but pundits were blown away by the surprising upset during the next to the last stage of the race.
In the second week of racing the 2020 Tour de France headed west in the Charente-Maritime département before heading across France to the Alps, visiting the Jura and Massif Central in the process.
The second week of racing saw team tactics change. Teams start out with hope and as it becomes clear they cannot win the overall race, the strategy changes to trying for stage wins.
Sharon Kaminecki and others comment on adventures in bicycling and other stories