Tour de France 2015

It’s about to begin – 21 nights of sleep deprivation, creative snackery, DJ trolling, Sherliggettisms and Sherliggettism-inspired irresponsible drinking, irresponsibly delicious use of butter (we hope! don’t let us down, Gabriel) and (we also hope) quality vache-spotting.

Cow in bikePhoto: John Weiler

I plan to tweet out the cheeses for the day in the morning of each stage, to give you a chance to get to your local cheesemonger. The stage preview will be published later in the day and will give a bit more information about the cheese, local cattle and maybe a recipe or two.

Now, make the most of the last couple of days of normal sleep!


Cows in training?

Thanks, @OzKnitter, for passing on this story from Cyclingnews: Dodging Cows And Pacing Yourself. The full story is at the link, but below is the vache-news. It looks as though one of the cows did a bit of a Hoogerland.

As the gun went off at 9:00 am, we stood there for another 30 seconds, waiting before we could start rolling on our bikes. From here, it was go time, Kris [Sneddon], Spencer [Paxson] and I made like a bunch of angry hornets and started hammering up the sidewalks, weaving around hundreds of cyclists and eventually up to the head of the race in 10 minutes time.

Lucky for us, the start was on a wide road and was relatively slow. I looked at Kris and gave him the thumbs up as it looked like we had dodged a bullet. Nope, we got content again and drifted back into about 40th position and then the road turned into a gravel path which was still ok, until three cows got spooked and hopped in the middle of the road, blocking everyone out of the top 30. Spencer made a bold move and rode up the ditch. At the same time, one of the fat cows also moved to the ditch, pushing my teammate into a barb wired fence. With one hand on the cow’s ass, and the other one on his handlebar, Spencer pushed the cow out of his way and snuck by. I was cracking up, but also getting pissed at the cows as they weren’t getting out of the way.

I remember hearing about Steve Gaffney from Calgary getting kicked in the face one year by a cow he tried to pass on the Bow 80 course and wanted to avoid the same fate. Eventually the cows cooperated and we rode by them, only to have a panicked cow 100ft up the road try to jump out of his pasture. Being a fat cow, he instead went through the fence and hauled all kinds of wire into the middle of the road. All the Euros started yelling “Ashtung”.


*Probably not the actual fat cow


Web round-up: where cows meet bikes

What to do when there’s no cycling on TV? Well, you can engage in endless speculation about the real reasons behind Sir Bradley’s non-start in this year’s tour, or you can take a deep breath and Google “cows and bicycles” and see what you get…

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Cows, cheese and bikes, oh my! It’s probably just as well I hadn’t seen this before planning the France trip, because it might have derailed Tour plans. I guess I can always lie in French paddocks, with French cheese and French cows.

Random cow and bike

Image: Experience Plus

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This post from A View from the Cycle Path alerted me to the annual Boerenfietstocht, or Farm Bike Tours, where you can ride around the countryside visiting a number of farms. Google translate tells me that

Along the way you will see include the cows on the land and there are growing many different crops.

Everything is helpfully signposted and has this cute logo:

Dutch cow on bike

The dates for the rides in 2013 are the 18th of July and the 1st and 15th of August. I reckon the Boerenfietstocht will be factored into planning for our next trip, for sure.

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Finally, I found something to look for in France. And, despite the lack of cows, I almost think this counts as saving-the-best-’til-last. It combines beer, bikes and a nod to Jens Voigt’s love of geo-caching. It’s called Find the Beer! and it is what is says on the tin. There are only three rules:

1) you just take one, 2) you leave a beer of your own before you go, and 3) you let us know through Food and Think’s comments box that you’ve made the discovery–and, please, tell us how it tasted.

Seems reasonable. I’m thinking of taking a Holgate Temptress to leave for a lucky cyclist.

Stage one: round-up

As suspected, we didn’t get a lot of cow action during the opening stage.  The few sightings were brief and very much in the background, with the exception of the display put on by the Agriculteurs de Vendée at the 94km mark.  Their cow was, however, sculptural.

Despite the effort these farmers had gone to with their display, Phil and Paul were less than impressed.  They felt that the use of the vehicles animating the wheels of the bike undermined the Tour’s green credentials. Sheesh – lighten up, guys!

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Les Vaches est dans le journal!

Les Vaches is in the newspaper!  The Sydney Morning Herald,  to be specific,  where cow-respondent Rupert Guinness (wearing his day-job cycling correspondent hat) describes us as one of the “subcultures lurking beneath the subculture”  of Le Tour fans.

We are proud to be mentioned in same “breath”  as The Devil!  If you want pictures of the other subcultures mentioned,  you can google those yourself…