Countdown to the Tour de France


One of the fun things about cycling is the chance to be a super-fan. Sure, we’ve had some hard hits in the past, but when it comes down to it, there’s nothing like the joy and pride that comes with watching our fellow man (and woman!) do incredible things on bicycles. We ride, so we know what it’s like to suffer, and we imagine what it would be like to feel a fraction of the pain of the pro riders during the race or a tiny bit of their elation at the finish. Here are some of my favorite Tour Winners from the past. Who are some of yours?

1. Eddy Merckx, Belgium. Need I say more? Velo News calls him “the greatest and most successful cyclist of all time.” He won the Tour de France five times (1969,1970,1971,1972,1974) the World Championship three times, the Giro d’Italia five times, and the Vuelta a Espana once. He also broke the hour world record in 1972.

Eddy_Merckx_Molteni_1973

2. Bernard Hinault, France. Another five time Tour winner (1978.1979, 1981, 1982, 1985). Nicknamed “the Badger,” Hinault had a feisty streak. “I race to win, not to please people,” he told a reporter who suggested he might try to attract more fans.

3. Andy Schleck, Luxembourg. Andy has only won one TDF (2010, retroactively ) but I’m a fan of family racing — Andy and his brother Frank shared a podium at the Tour in 2011 and his father, Johny Schleck rode in the Tour between 1965 and 1974.

We’ll be following the races closely at The Cycling House. Who are you watching out for?

photo of Merckx from Flickr’s The Commons

Destination: Whitefish, Montana

Glacier Image 3

We’re about to kick off our our Mountain Bike Camp in Whitefish Montana and we’re getting stoked! Whitefish is a sweet ski town but the fun there doesn’t when the snow melts. It’s a great place to recreate and have fun all summer long. If you’re in Whitefish for our bike camp (June 24-29 or Aug 17-22) or just lucky enough to be in Whitefish, here are some Cycling House approved activities.

1. If you’re a cyclist, chances are are you probably like to drink coffee. Check out Montana Coffee Traders! They’ve been roasting coffee in Whitefish since 1981 and as a certified coffee snob, I can verify that it’s delicious. Plus, they give tours Mon-Fri at 10AM. Or drink coffee in a bike-shop at Great Northern Cycles.

2. Maybe I’m just making cyclist assumptions here, but if you do you also like to drink beer? If so, head down to The Great Northern Brewing Company. The Great Northern Brewing Company brews twelve ales and lagers in a variety of year round and seasonal styles. They also offer tours Monday-Thurs and 1 and 3PM.

3. Hit the trails! That’s why you’re there, right? Whitefish has tons of great mountain and road riding, and has been working hard to build even more recently. Flow-y trails, low traffic roads…you’ll understand why people move to Montana. Just don’t tell your friends!

Photo by Tom Robertson Photography

 

 

Missoula, MT : Capital of the World

The first Tour de Montana is right around the corner, and we are getting so excited to welcome riders from all over to Missoula, MT, one of the greatest spots on earth. If you’re going to get to spend a little extra time in Missoula, here are some Cycling House approved ways to spend an hour (or ten.)

1. Drinking Beer
Missoula may be a small town, but we love our microbreweries. At last count there were five downtown, and that was just at last count. A few more have probably popped up since then. Kettlehouse is the perennial favorite (try their Coldsmoke), but Bayern is delicious German-style beer and Draught Works usually has live music and the best porch.
http://www.missouladowntown.com/dine/breweries-wine/mtimage2

2. Ride on a Merry-Go-Round
But it’s not just any Merry-Go-Round. Missoula’s hand-carved carousel took over 100,000 hours of volunteer time and is the only hand-carved carousel west of the Mississippi. It’s located right next to the Clark Fork so it’s a great place for a picnic as well.
http://carouselformissoula.com/our-story/

3. Hike the famous “M” trail
You’ll see it as soon as you get into Missoula, the large M towering on Mount Sentinal. The hike to the huge M is less than a mile long but it’s a Missoula standard, and you can get a great view of the campus from the top.
http://www.missoulian.com/app/hikebike/MS-mtrail.html

Here are a few links to other Missoula guides:
http://www.missouladowntown.com/
http://www.designsponge.com/2013/04/missoula-mt-city-guide.html

We can’t wait to see you in Montana!

photo by Tom Robertson