Saturday, July 18, 2015


In her latest dispatch, NYT journalist Juliet Macur writes

"In Lance Armstrong's profile photo on Twitter, he is standing, 
arms crossed, in front of a sign that says "PAIN" in big red letters. 
Never mind that the sign is most likely sitting just outside a French
bakery. Armstrong could be referring to the pain riders are going 
through as they ride the 2,088 miles of this year's Tour de France, 
or he could be pointing out the pain he is feeling after nearly three
years of banishment from all Olympic sports ..."

Armstrong was invited to France by Geoff Thomas, a retired British
soccer star, to raise money for a leukemia charity.

Meanwhile, back to pain, a French word derived from the Latin "panis".

Consider the iconic photo by Elliott Erwitt. Its title is "Provence 1955"
and is so iconic, it's inspired "Béret Baguette" bike rides in ParisVancouver,
San Francisco. Princeton at least has a baguette guru - Denis Granarolo.

Not quite as iconic as his "Invitation au rêve / Share the fantasy" ad for
Chanel N°5, the 1973 ad for Hovis bread by director Sir Ridley Scott was
voted the favorite TV advertisement of all time in a poll of British viewers.
Its central element was re-used from Scott's Boy and Bicycle, and while
conjuring an image of the north of England, was filmed far from there.

In The Dutch Way: Bicycles and Fresh Bread Russell Shorto writes:

     "The advent of bike lanes in some American cities may seem like a big step, 
     but merely marking a strip of the road for recreational cycling spectacularly 
     misses the point. In Amsterdam, nearly everyone cycles, and cars, bikes and 
     trams coexist in a complex flow, with dedicated bicycle lanes, traffic lights 
     and parking garages. But this is thanks to a different way of thinking about 
     transportation. [...] The coexistence of different modes of travel is hard-wired 
     into the culture. This in turn relates to lots of other things — such as bread. 
     How? Cyclists can't carry six bags of groceries; bulk buying is almost nonexistent. 
     Instead of shopping for a week, people stop at the market daily. So the need for 
     processed loaves that will last for days is gone. A result: good bread."

What about carrying the loaves of bread ? You'd need a breadbasket (pannier),
I suppose. Although Depardieu carries the baguette bare-handed, as if jousting,
he might prefer to use the baguette bag from a Kiev-based apparel company, Cyan.

Seeking guidance from TV advertisers, we discover their promotion of the seldom-seen
'tower-of-bread-on-your-head' carrying method -- from Dow Chemical, not the defunct
Dow brewery which enhanced the "head" of its beer by adding cobalt to the brew.

What's the connection between the world of bakeries and the Tour de France ? The
bike racing aficionado will have heard of the aptly-named Raymond Impanis, whose
nickname was "the baker of Berg" after his hometown in Flemish Brabant. It says here
bakerboy examples [...] are Impanis, Hugo Koblet, and Ferdi Kubler. Former butcher boys, 
grocery shop boys and newspaper delivery boys include Merckx, Maertens, VanLooy, Coppi.

Daniel Mangeas, the long-time voice of the Tour de France, worked as a baker for 10 years.

Robert Förstemann, German track specialist, isn't a roadie. He's also been a producer of toast.

A delivery bike featuring a heavy-duty rack over the front wheel is known as a porteur. It's a
type of freight bike, a lightweight alternative to the "cargo" bike. The porteurs of Paris
provides an interesting background. An up-to-date example is the Runwell Porteur model by
Shinola of Detroit.  How many baguettes can the Runwell accomodate ?  Shinola's president
Jacques Panis probably knows the answer.

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