I’ve found a couple more cycling ads from Transport for London on YouTube, this time promoting the Tour de France starting here this weekend.

The first is a three-minute promo that was shown at the official launch of the Prologue in London in February.

The audio is Bloc Party’s So Here We Are.

The second spot is called Get Behind The Yellow Jersey.

It has a distinctively French feel courtesy of the music (not sure of the track though).

I’ve caught it a couple of times on TV but it was also on the big screen at Victoria Station while I was waiting for a train last week.

A lot of people stopped to watch it and it made me well up with pride that the world’s most prestigious cycling event was about to start in our city.

Cycling clothing label Rapha is hosting a party to celebrate the start of the Tour de France in London on Saturday, July 7th.

Organisers are hoping more than 500 people will join a planned ride from Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park to the party at London Fields.

At London Fields there will be a barbecue, drinks, music, a roller race and screens replaying the Prologue.

The route will take in Primrose Hill, Highgate and Crouch End and a map should be available on the Rapha site shortly.

UPDATE [June 30]

A map of the 13 mile (22km) route is available as a pdf from Rapha here.

It is also on Bikely here.

I had the pleasure of receiving this stunning visual history of the world’s most famous cycling event last week.

Originally published in 2003, this paperback edition of Le Tour has recently been updated by Collins to coincide with the 2007 Tour de France.

The images in the book cover all aspects of the life of the Tour, from road-side spectators to competitors, marshals and majestic scenery.

The Guardian’s Matt Seaton says the book “provides possibly the most vivid and least familiar impressions of the Tour’s real character” because it uses pictures from independent photo agencies rather than the Tour’s official photo archive.

The pictures tend to look less like sports photography and far more like intensely personal photojournalism in the traditions of Paris Match and Life.

There is very little text throughout the book with concise captions providing the context for each picture and only a few paragraphs describing the Tour’s evolution through each decade.

I just loved looking back at what cycling’s pioneers went through as they laid the foundations for legends like Fausto Coppi and Eddy Merckx who in turn prepared it for modern heroes like Bernard Hinault and Lance Armstrong.

The train operator is offering both one day (£18) and three day tickets (£34) for unlimited travel across its network from July 6-8 but is reported to have banned bikes from all services during the event.

That seems a rather strange decision but it may not be entirely true.

The company’s site says it will only allow folding bikes on services too and from the event which I presume means bikes are still free to travel on the the rest of the network.

Given that the Tour is one of the world’s most popular sporting events, bikes on trains are bound to be just as welcome as during peak commuting times.

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