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Blog Post By: Terri Monserrat, D&L Communciations & Education Coordinator
Endurance races have always captured my imagination. Little wonder that the Tour de France – with its steep mountain climbs, breathtaking descents and fans with a zest for snagging camera time – is my favorite. Despite watching some of my cycling heroes go down in scandal, wondering if my favorite riders hide motors in their bikes, and questioning why women aren’t allowed to participate in the world’s greatest bike race, I still keep coming back for more.
The roots of Le Tour are fascinating. I’ll keep this brief and get to the ice cream, but stick with me here! In 1903, two sports newspapers were battling for readership: Le Velo, France’s largest sports newspaper versus L’ Auto, a newcomer. Predictably, L’ Auto faced some big challenges competing with the well-established Le Velo. In an effort to save itself from extinction, L’ Auto planned a daunting, 19-day July race that attracted approximately 60 riders of professional AND amateur status. The idea to host the race came from a 26-year-old junior employee – a cycling reporter – and the paper was not only desperate enough to listen to him, but also gave him full control over organizing the race.
Let’s stop here for a second. L’ Auto’s owners essentially put the fate of their company in the hands of a 26-year-old with a big, risky idea. Crazy, right?
By the end of the race, L’ Auto not only saved itself, but was presented with a new problem. A good one. The race was so popular that they had to make it an annual event. And that big, risky idea? It’s still going strong. I can’t help but hope that people with new big, risky ideas will come along and solve the sport’s most glaring problems.
So, without further ado and in honor of Tour de France month and National Ice Cream Day, it is my pleasure to present the D&L Staff’s Tour de Ice Cream on the D&L Trail. We decided to present this list of all locally owned businesses from Wilkes-Barre to Bristol, because if you’re going to stuff yourself with ice cream, you’ll want to take advantage of the slight downhill grade. Each business highlighted is along or easily accessible from the D&L Trail.
The best part of compiling this list was finding out how many locally-owned ice cream shops are located along the D&L Trail. We’re proud of the Corridor’s many small businesses and we encourage you to get out on the trail and shop local.
PS. That was a VERY abridged version of The Tour de France’s inception. If you find this as interesting as I do or if scandal and inequality have you questioning why you follow cycling, check out these reads:
Not your average history of sport. You’ll explore the Tour from many perspectives: the media, the fans and the organizers. You’ll also learn how key Tour moments impacted French history.
Interested in how war affects sport and vice versa? This is the book for you.