If you follow the Tour every year, like us, you will have waited a lifetime for a Brit to win it (well if you’re from this small island you have). If you’re Bradley Wiggins, you’ve been training for it all your life. howies wanted to celebrate the amazing win and commissioned a limited edition tee “Sideburns of Glory”, that became their fastest selling tee of all time. I ordered mine and I’ve been wearing it proudly since. It’s a conversation piece. The design is based on the Bayeux Tapestry and it shows “St Bradley of Viggins” wielding his sword while atop a pile of broken riders and bikes.
For the week after the Tour, howies decided to donate the proceeds from their cycling themed t-shirts to the Dave Rayner Fund, raising £5560.
Dave Raynor was an English professional road cyclist from 1987 to 1994, in his career he rode for Dutch (Buckler), British (Interent-Yugo, Raleigh-Banana & Banana Falcon) and American (I.M.E.-Health Share and Lex-Townsend) Pro teams. Dave was a consistent winner of the under 22 Milk Race (now known as the Tour of Britain) which was a favourite of his). He sadly died age 27 in 1994.
After his death a memorial fund established and a fund raising dinner which takes place every year with esteemed guests such as Miguel Indurain, Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, and Eddy Merckx attending.
Since 1996, The Dave Rayner Fund have supported hundreds of promising British cyclists. By issuing grants to cover training and racing costs, they bridge the gap into making a successful career from cycle racing in Europe and it’s great the customers of howies have raised such an unexpected sum.
The fund has supported the career progression for the likes of David Millar and Charly Wegelius and receives ongoing support from professional riders, such as Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish.
To support the Dave Rayner Fund or find out more please visit their website by clicking here.
Alex from howies says, “There’s going to be loads more British Cycling success on the TV over the next couple of weeks and some great tees to celebrate.”
… and here they are!…
You can choose from “Great Thighs of thunder” (Sir Chris of Hoy), Sweet Chariot (Queen Victoria) and The MMXXII Missile (The Marquis of Cavendish).
To order visit the howies website.
While the wind and rain are lashing the UK we are preparing to switch our collective attention away from our sinking Noah’s Ark to mainland Europe for the greatest cycling race in the world…. with the pavé of the Champs Elyse looming in the distance. Some riders will just hope to make it round the last few bone shaking kilometres in one piece while a hardy few who suffered at the back through the mountains will be licking their lips with relish at attempting to take the glorious final stage at an astonishing pace (one particular Manxman springs to mind).
…But lets not get ahead of ourselves, before the cobbles comes an array of stages from the pan flat to the ridiculously steep and impossible mountains that us mere mortals get breathless just gawping at before we attempt to slowly plod up. Most wouldn’t even consider clipping their feet to a bike frame for a pain filled single effort to the cloud covered peaks.
I’m getting prepared to immerse myself in the epic vistas that will appear before my eyes. I’ve treated myself to the new limited edition howies KOM T-Shirt and placed an order for the rest of the set so I can celebrate each stage profile in style. I’m resigned to the fact that I’m never going to win my own yellow, spotty or green jersey… it’s ok really, I’m over it. ;D
So I feel it would be wrong to buy a replica jersey to wear, I’m not keen on being one of those people that buys their favourite teams statically charged ill fitting replica shirt, at least my T-shirt won’t look odd when I’m out and about, it can be worn any time of the year… And as you may have noticed the shopaholic in me is justifying the purchase, my partner would normally respond to such a justification… “I’m sure it was a bargain too!”. I’m comfortable just celebrating the greatness of the tour with my new t-shirt (which was a bargain!), turbo trainer and friends. I like to get some miles in while I’m glued to the action (when time allows), I don’t like the idea of just slobbing while watching TV, I never have, it seems so wrong particularly during a bike race. I get restless legs. I have to ride, and since I’m still not sure if I’ll make it over for some of this years stages I thought I’d get organised, fingers crossed I will be there, I have my bag ready! For some of the weekend stages we’ll gather the gang together for a Tour celebration of food and festivities.
Us Brits are feeling nervously excited as this year could be Wiggo’s, there are so many variables in the Tour de France and I wouldn’t want to jinx it for him but we are quietly confident that he can step on to the podium and hopefully take the top step. We have great pride in Cav’s Rainbow Jersey too which he’ll be sporting in this years Tour, it’s been 46 years since a British rider has done this so it’s turning out to be a fabulous few years for GB riders. It’s been a long time in the making though with a huge amount of blood sweat and tears from the guys. They seem to have adapted well from the huge success of their track days and some of that training and discipline seems to have been brought into their road training.
Obviously we all have our favourite riders and teams from around the world but in the true cycling spirit I get behind all the riders. Friends of mine who don’t watch or take part in cycling really don’t understand this but it’s the way the cycling community is. So good luck all!
Back to my tour preparations… what are your plans this tour?
Le Tour will be available to view on terrestrial TV in the UK on ITV4 daily with Ned Boulting, Chris Boardman, Phil Liggett & Paul Sherwen: www.itv.com/Sport/tourdefrance/
Keep an eye out on iTunes for the ITV4 Tour de France Podcast presented by Matt Rendell, Ned Boulting & Chris Boardman and guests.
For more information on Le Tour visit the official website: www.letour.com/
BBC Radio 5Live for audio coverage: www.bbc.co.uk/5live
I will add more online viewing options and other TV stations from around the world when I stumble across them.