Book Reviews

Go To Hopkins & Company Homepage

Go to Executive Times Archives


Go to Book Review List


French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France by Tim Moore


Rating: (Read only if your interest is strong)


Click on title or picture to buy from




London author Tim Moore wanted to see what the whole Tour de France was about, so he decided to cycle the course a few weeks before the pros did it during the summer of 2000. Moore’s humorous account of the experience appears in his latest book, French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France. Every ten pages or so, a passage is hilarious, especially if you find British humor funny. Anyone who’s done long bike rides will be amazed at Moore’s lack of preparation for cycling the 2,256 mile course. Here’s an excerpt from one of his few training rides before leaving England for France:

“What is it pride come before? Ah, yes. Cresting the bridge at a canter, and speeding down the other side, I was suddenly confronted with a long queue of stationary traffic; caught off-guard by the abrupt efficiency of the brakes, I inevitably forgot to perform the viciously pigeon-toed ankle twist required to liberate shoe from pedal. The good news was that I had come to a halt at a bus stop and by embracing the eponymous concrete post was able to avoid keeling gently over into four lanes of rush-hour traffic. The bad news was that there were a good two dozen people in the queue, and that the vaudevillian premiere of Mister Drunkpedal offered unexpected but welcome entertainment to every one of them, except perhaps the schoolboy who had been leaning against the bus stop.
As inauspicious starts go, this was right up there with Captain Scott peering out of his tent across the tundra and saying, ‘Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but this is anything like how I imagined South Poland.’ There were less than a hundred hours to go and the more people I talked to, the more disheartened I became. Martin Warren went very quiet when I phoned him to ask how often you were supposed to oil the brake pads, and my friend Matthew was clearly appalled by the grandiose scale of my ignorance and incompetence during a hands-on tutorial on removing the rear wheel.”

Given his lack of training and experience, it’s amazing that Moore cycled as well as he did. His cheating and drug taking appeared no more egregious than that of prior regular Tour riders. At one stage of the tour, his wife and young kids came to provide sag wagon support through the mountains. Stage by stage, Moore describes what he saw and what he did, and more often than not, a reader learns something about the Tour, its history, the towns, and the zany ride Moore took following the Tour’s trail.

Despite the humor, French Revolutions is likely to be tedious reading for anyone who doesn’t think much of bike racing, the Tour, or British humor. If your interest is strong in any of those areas, you’re likely to enjoy Tim Moore’s account of his Tour odyssey. Otherwise, take a pass.

Steve Hopkins, September 4, 2002


ã 2002 Hopkins and Company, LLC


The recommendation rating for this book appeared in the November 2002 issue of Executive Times


For Reprint Permission, Contact:

Hopkins & Company, LLC • 723 North Kenilworth Avenue • Oak Park, IL 60302
Phone: 708-466-4650 • Fax: 708-386-8687