Those Wacky Food and Bike Loving French

I love this photo and thought it appropriate to post it with the current Tour de France going on (is the race still going, or is it over yet?). It's a photo of Georges Grillot and Roger Coiffier, tandem riders in the Brest-Menton race in 1930. It's just one of the annual bike races in France. This is a race that cuts diagonally across the country. Brest is in the far north-west, and Menton is in the lower eastern portion of the country, bordering Italy. But look at those dudes...tough or what? They probably smoked and drank wine while they rode. If you look closely (click the image) you can see that the guy on the left (the one steering, presumably) actually has the stub of a cigarette in his mouth. And are those wool coats they're wearing? What I also find interesting about the photo is that it looks like the bike has a derailleur...I didn't know that these were in use in 1930 until I read this. I'm not sure if they won the race or not but they sure have the right attitude. If you want to read more about them click here (it's in French).

When I was in culinary school (some years ago) I became enamoured with French cuisine, and to a certain extent still am. And I'll never forget being in pastry class when the instructor told us the dessert we were making was shaped like the wheel of a bicycle and named after a race (they even name food after bike races, I thought to myself). The chef, of course, was referring to the Paris-Brest-Paris bicycle race, which is the precursor to all the others (I believe). Anyhow, here's a picture of the dessert. If you'd like a recipe with a little historical info, click here. If you'd like to read a short piece on a Canadian's view (Torontonian) of the current Paris bike culture, click here.