Bicycle Diaries: Tour de France

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Tour de France

a very slow
14,000 miles

I got a great book for the holidays, The Discovery of France. It combines two of my great loves: bikes and history. Graham Robb, got himself a bike and rolled 14,000 miles of back roads, dirt tracks, and open land at the speed, he notes, of a stagecoach.
A bicycle unrolls a 360-degree panorama of the land, allows the rider to register its gradual changes in gear ratios and muscle tension. The itinerary of a cyclist recreates, as if by chance, much older journeys: transhumance trails, Gallo-Roman trade routes, pilgrim paths.
It also made
conversation easy and inevitable - with children, nomads, people who are lost, local amateur historians and, of course, dogs, whose behaviour collectively characterizes the outlook of certain regions as clearly as human behaviour once did.

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