Tomorrow is the big day for cycling fans the world over: in just over 12 hours, nearly 200 of the top cyclists in the world will embark on the first stage of the 100th Tour de France, which will start for the first time in Corsica (in fact, this will be the first time the Tour has visited the Mediterranean island.) The riders will log some 2,100 miles over the next three weeks as they travel throughout the scenic French countryside, including a double ascent of the iconic Alp d'Huez (perhaps to compensate for its omission from last year's route); I recommend the New York Times' race preview and Peloton's "Tour by the Numbers."
With Tour footage is always a quick YouTube query away and the Bicycle Film Festival underway in New York this weekend, here are a few related vids to psych you up not only for the centennial Tour but just, you know, riding a bicycle in general. First up, via Coolhunting, is a timely short film about Rapha Condor JLT team, providing an "intimate portrait of veteran rider and team leader Kristian House and up-and-comer Felix English."
Filmmaker Andrew Telling had previously captured the largely European culture of road cycling in the similarly excellent Sella, which makes for an interesting contrast with Ryokou, a brilliant five-part documentary on Australian track cyclist Shane Perkins' experience in Japan's Keirin racing circuit. The beautifully-shot mini-series—directed by Davros, produced by Projucer and partially crowdfunded on Pozible&mdsah;absolutely worth half an hour of your time: there's a Wes Anderson-esque montage in Chapter 2, and I'll warn you not to watch Chapter 4 on an empty stomach. (New Yorkers can also catch a screening of Ryokou at the BFF on Sunday evening.)
Meanwhile, Gear Patrol recently posted the highly analytical video (below) about Perkins—which I too missed when it hit the web a year ago—offering a very different perspective on the World Champion's unique ability... and serving as a nice companion piece to our track cycling roundup from last year's Olympics in London.
Of course, going pro isn't the only way for cycling to be a way of life; far from it. On the contrary, most of us just like to ride our bikes, as in Thule's "The Way I Roll" series, featuring several local luminaries of the cycling community, each of whom has found their calling in the bicycle. From a pro MTBer-turned-philanthropist to the proprietor of one of my favorite shops in NYC, the subjects express the simple joys of riding a bike; local builder Seth Rosko more or less sums up my feelings about riding in NYC:
Lastly, in case you missed 'em when they debuted just over a year ago (as I did), I also recommend The American Way, a three-parter on the intersection of manufacturing and cycling. Produced by Peloton, the video profiles offer a look at what small-ish U.S.-based cycling companies have to offer.
Now get away from your computer screen and go for a ride.