Monday, July 7, 2008

Tour de France ... in England?

Tour de France Prologue 07
Originally uploaded by boarderstu
The Tour de France is by far the world's best known cycling event. Although most of the event is in France, covering some 2200 miles over some three weeks of "stage" racing, the racing sometimes includes other countries.

The Tour de France is a household name in sport, but few know the fascinating historical origins of the race, which stem from the tensions in France over the Dreyfus affair. Dreyfus was a French military man accused of providing secrets to the Germans. A popular sports newspaper called Le Velo maintained Dreyfus guilt while a major advertiser disagreed to the extent they started their own sports newspaper and sponsored an event to promote that new publication. Hence, in 1903 the Tour de France was born as an advertising promotion following a historical controversy.

Dreyfus was eventually exonerated.

Concord, Massachusetts History Parade

Concord, MA
Originally uploaded by JoeDuck
Concord has an excellent parade that follows the superb reenactment of the battle for the North Bridge, often considered the starting point of the Revolutionary War. Locals dress in traditional minuteman costumes for several events in April that showcase the life and times and conflicts that led to the Revolutionary War and a new nation. Minuteman National Park runs from Lexington to Concord and offers wonderful walks through this historic countryside.

Lexingtonians several miles away generally argue that Lexington Green, where Americans gathered earlier in the day to challenge the British, is the true starting point. The North Bridge's fame stems partly from the poem written and read by Ralph Waldo Emerson at a Concord Bridge memorial years later where he called this the site of the "shot heard 'round the world"