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What to do when nature calls (and nine other interesting facts about the Tour de France)

01 July 2016  Latest News


We love our racing, so we’ve been doing a little research on the upcoming Tour de France starting on the 2nd July. Here are our top ten most intriguing facts, from top speeds to drinking on the job

1. When nature calls
While there are times when riders have to relieve themselves on the run, there’s an official agreement called ‘pause pipi’, which allows for quick bathroom breaks that don’t interfere with clocked time… further proof that everything sounds better in French.

2. Top speed
Speeds of up to 100km/h have been clocked on the downhill runs – that’s as fast as we drive on the freeway. The fastest average speed for the whole race was 41.5 km/h, recorded in 2005.

3. Calorie counting
The riders burn up to 8000 calories each day – to put that in perspective, that calorie burn is equal to hitting a punching bag for around 19 hours straight. Ouch.

4. Bad sports
Back in the early days, riders resorted to extreme tactics to put the opposition off their game. Antics included putting itching powder down the other contenders’ shorts, scattering glass across their riding path and spiking their water bottles.

5. Resolutions per minute
The average number of pedal strokes during the three-week race is 486,000 (at 90 revolutions per minute)

6. Chain changes
Cyclists will go through an average of three bicycle chains during the Tour.

7. Spectators
Over 12 million spectators line the route each year, making it the largest sporting event in the world.

8. Going the distance

During the 2015 Tour cyclists will cover 3,360 kms over 23 days, which is equivalent to riding from Melbourne to Perth, or London to Cairo.

9. Sweating it out
On average, the riders will produce around 1.5 litres of sweat per hour – that’s enough to flush a toilet 39 times during the 21-stage race.

10. Drink-riding
Until a law was passed in the 1960s prohibiting the consumption of any stimulants, cyclists were allowed to consume alcohol while riding. We’d much prefer to sip French wine from the comfort of the couch.

Inspired to start road riding? Why not check out our range of road bikes here.