I love watching Le Tour - it starts just as the students disappear and ends just as the holiday proper begins. Not only is there something rather noble about it – You don’t attack if one of the main contendors has a crash or a mechanical fault, rather you slow down and let them catch you up; and the last day of cycling is not contested because of ‘tradition’ – and I was most impressed by Andy Schleck’s tweet yesterday saying Cadel Evans ‘deserved to win this year’ despite the fact that Schleck had absolutely turned himself inside out over the last three weeks. I also happen to think cycling offers a serious antidote to our addiction to fossil fuels.
Having said this, I can’t help but feel slightly guilty about my love of the le tour because of this little calculation –
- There are 219 riders who consume an average of 6000 calories over 21 stages - that means they consume 25 million calories between them (ok I calculated it with 200 given that some drop out, and this excludes rest days)
- That amount of calories would keep 4 people per rider alive in East Africa! – or looked at on a daily basis 25 million calories would feed almost 17000 people consuming 1500 calories a day.
Apparantly HTC are pulling out of sponsoring Le Tour next year (Lord knows why given that they’re on for winning six stages) – If only I could afford to sponser them myself – I’d have them riding around in jerseys saying ‘My participation in Le Tour is worth 4 East African lives – if you feel guilty about this donate to the East African Famine relief programme or go to WDM to find out more!’
Having said this I personally think donating money to famine relief in Africa is an utter waste of time; you’d be better off investing your time and money in educating yourself about the deeper causes of food insecurity and campaigning for fairer global economic institutions, less conflict, and more aid effectiveness.