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Gail S Hennessey's picture
Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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The 2021 Tour de France Begins!

In 2021, the Tour de France began on June 26th and ends on July 18 th. This year's Tour de France begins in Brest(Brittany, France).The end of the race takes place along the Champs-Elysees, one of the famous streets in France. It's considered the world's biggest and most exciting bicycling race.  Athletes competing in the race will travel approximately 3383 km  ( 2192 miles) during the 23 day race. Each day(called stages), a leader  will be awarded a yellow jersey(or Maillot Jaune in French). In addition to the yellow jersey, there is a polka dot jersey awarded to the best climber(king of the mountains), a white jersey( the best youngest rider) and a green jersey(best sprinter).The Tour de France began in 1903.
 
 
Fun Facts:
  • Only men compete in the Tour de France.
  • Approximately, 123,900 calories are burned by each rider in the Tour de France.
  • 42000 water bottles will be used by the racers!
  • Someone figured out that enough sweat is created from racers competing in the 22 day race, to flush a toilet 39 times!
  • Riders from France have won the most races!(36 as of 2015)
  • The Tour de France is also known as "La Grande Boucle". 
  • Vocabulary word: Peloton, the term for the "pack" of riders.

 

History of Bicycles...Did You Know? 

  • As of 2017, Copenhagen, Denmark, is the bike friendly capital of the world. Amsterdam, Netherlands, came in second, with Utrecht, Netherlands, third. Some sources say Utrecht is more bike friendly than Amsterdam.
  • Some sources say the  invention of the first “bicycle” is credited to Comte Medi De Sivrac, of France. His bike didn’t have any pedals! The year was 1792 and it was called a hobby horse(or celerifere). To move you needed your feet!
  • Other sources credit Baron Karl von Drais, of Germany, with the Draisine meaning “running machine”.The 1917 human-propelled vehicle didn’t have any pedals.
  • A bike similar to today’s bike was created by Kirkpatrick Macmillan, from Scotland. The year was 1839. His bicycle had pedals!
  • The word “bicycle” comes from the French word “bicyclette”. The term became popular in 1868. Previous to this, bicycles were called “velocipedes” meaning “fast foot”.
  • The Penny-Farthing was a British bicycle that had a large front wheel and a much smaller wheel in the back. The name represented two British coins, the Farthing and the British Penny.
  • Early bicycles (velocipede) were known as bone shakers by their riders. With wooden wheels inside an iron rim and an iron frame, it was a very bumpy ride!
  • In 1887, Thomas Stevens became the first person to ride a Penny Farthing around the world!
  • In 1867, father and son, Pierre and Ernest Michaux, invented the modern bicycle.
  • Did you know that suffragette, Susan B.Anthony made a comment on the bicycle? She said that the mode of transportation “has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.” She called the bicycle the “freedom machine.”
  • In 1896, Margaret Valentine Le Long rode a bicycle from Chicago to San Francisco!
  • Did you know that before Orville and Wilbur Wright became famous for their flying machine, they owned a bicycle repair shop? It was in their shop, in 1903, that they made their first airplane! It was called the Wright Flyer!
YOUR TURN!
  1. Write a diary pretending to be one of the cyclists in the Tour de France. What do you see? Feel? Hear?
  2. Do you think women should be allowed to compete with the men's Tour de France? Why or why not?
  3. What are 2 character traits of a person that would participate in the Tour de France? 
  4. After reading the History of Bicycle facts, why do you think Susan B. Anthony called the bicycle, the “freedom machine”?
  5. What are two positive things about riding a bicycle?
  6. Learn more about the country of France
  7. How the bicycle changed the world for women
Teacher Page:
Ask students if they have heard of the Tour de France and share any information they may have on the famous race.  Have students locate the country of France on a world map.  
Give the students the handout pages. Have students do one or more of the following activities.
Extension Activities:
 
2. Draw/color a picture of a bicycle. Write a fact learned about the Tour de France on your drawing.
 
 
HAPPY SUMMER!
Gail

 

Illustration from:Wpclipart