If you have known me for any length of time, you know of my love for the Tour de France – the annual bike race considered by many to be the toughest sporting event in history. You will also know that I agree with that assessment.
Having seen every TdF since 1979 and being a big-time history buff, I was delighted when I came across the 2015 documentary Le Ride. Unlike other documentaries and books I have read about Le Tour, this is the telling of the 1928 Tour.
The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan (himself an avid cyclist and New Zealander) tells the story of the first Australasian cycling team to enter the Tour de France. It was 1928 and one Kiwi and three Australians took the five week boat journey to France to ride in the three weeks of grueling racing on gravel roads, up mountains and covering more than 3,300 miles.
Upon arrival they discovered the rest of their 10-man team promised by a Fresh company was not going to be joining them. The French media assured readers that the plucky team would not only fail to finish the race but likely would be done before the end of the first day. This was a safe bet as during these years, only a fraction finished the race. In fact of the 160 that started the 1928 edition, only 41 completed the event.
Koeghan not only tells the story in the film, but together with his friend set out to retrace the route of the 1928 race – and do so on vintage 1928 bikes. If you love Le Tour like me, you will enjoy this film. If you like Phil from his work on The Amazing Race, you will enjoy this film. If you like history, you will love this film.
I’m glad I found it.
by Chris Doelle
Rating 8 of 10