One of the more unexpected treats at this year’s Goodwood Revival was coming across a slice of French village life, authentic (of course) down to the smallest detail. It came with everything you would expect: a café, baguettes galore, gendarmes, boules in the dusty square, the obligatory Citroen Traction Avant, and – bicycles. Lots of bicycles. In fact even a bicycle shop: Bicyclette d’Aubigny.
Amid all the raging horsepower at this year’s Revival, pedal power was taking a place in the spotlight as never before, and with good reason: to mark the 100th running earlier in 2013 of the Tour de France road race. Ever since the first Tour took place in 1903 this legendary event has attracted heroic racers and passionate supporters in equal measure – a combination guaranteed to appeal to fans of motor sport as much as committed cyclists.
And so it proved, as our video capturing this so-very-Gallic highlight of this year’s Revival shows. The Aubigny square was packed with visitors taking a break from the racing GT40s and enjoying a uniquely French take on road racing over the years.
Tim Gunn, normally of the Old Bicycle Showroom but keeper of the Bicyclette d’Aubigny for the big weekend, is our chief guide for this whirlwind ride through Tour de France history. Along with fellow enthusiasts we hear how difficult the turn of the century bikes were to ride (no brakes!), and how they developed into sleek racing machines like the 1960s Rossignoli on which Sir Chris Hoy led out the parade of riders for demonstration laps around the Motor Circuit.
What the racers rode, what they wore – woollen shorts anyone? – what sustained them (often beer and cigarettes) and how you can still find Tour de France-style bicycles lurking unloved in French barns today all come together in our exclusive video. Pedal power at Goodwood? Bien sûr!