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Manual For Speed At The Races, TdF edition #1

Manual For Speed Tekst Manual For Speed Gepubliceerd 08 July 2017

Manual For Speed believes that Road Cycling is the Greatest Spectacle on Earth. We believe this for so many reasons but here are four of our favorite.

  • Unequivocal unparalleled athleticism.
  • Cycling’s legendary, nearly magical, quasi mythical, vaulted and exalted, history.
  • The atmosphere. The sensory overload that is the constellation of team presentations, cobbled start plazas, start/finish discotheques, costumes, kit, the caravan, gadgeta flying through the air, the endless assault of car horns and clappers and AM/FM transistor radios and yelling and screaming and cheering and ALLEZ ALLEZ ALLEZ-ing, the mountains, the mountain top villages! the switchbacks!!, helicopters, feed zones, Jumbotrons, beer gardens, the sea of banners and flags and pennants and homemade fanboy t-shirts and paraphernalia, painted cars, color coordinated headwear, et cetera et cetera.
  • The people; the racers, soigneurs, DSs, mechanics, marshalls, volunteers, gendarmes, TV moto operators, announcers and most importantly the fans who are the actors and the players in this the Greatest Spectacle on Earth.

In fact it’s for that reason, that fourth reason, that we (Manual For Speed) created a study we call At The Races. At The Races is a collection of all the people—individuals, prototypes, archetypes, etc— we’ve found, documented and cataloged at bicycle races over the last five years.

With that in mind, when Soigneur Magazine commissioned us to create a profile of four individuals that make the Tour De France the most prestigious and remarkable cycling race ever, we decided to feature four TDF Fans because;

1. The Tour De France is the single greatest race in the world. Cycling or otherwise.
2. It’s 23 days long.
3. It happens in France.
4. France is in the middle of Europe.
5. The TDF is a European institution and icon.
6. The TDF represents a pilgrimage for thousands if not millions of fans from AROUND THE WORLD.
7. The French picnic better than anyone in the world, except maybe Argentines.
8. The TDF is a remarkable feat in terms organizational, engineering and coordination.
9. The greatest cyclists and cycling teams compete in the TDF.
10. It’s the most prestigious race in the world. Cycling or otherwise.
11. It’s basically an annual olympics for bikes.
12. Cameras mounted on motorcycles and helicopters record EVERYTHING that happens.
13. It draws, inspires, prompts, demands, cajoles and coaxes Fans from everywhere on earth to bring their A-game.
14. It’s basically an annual olympics for fans of bikes. TDF fans are the best of the best, the creme dela creme.


Nationality: Germany
Costuming: Tribal Tattoos, speedos, fanny packs, mirrored sunglasses, body jewelry, singlets
Special Powers: Seemingly endless energy, positivity, unflinchingly unselfconscious, good vibrations
Natural Habitat: Villages on the side of a climb, anywhere with loud music and a good EDM DJ

Germany is known around the world for three things 1. Precision 2. Beer and 3. Bad Techno Music. Now some might argue that there are other things out there but guess what? We took a poll and the poll said its precision, beer and techno music, and polls can’t lie. Precision runs through all aspects of German life easily identified in their factories, automobiles, and machinery. And it is the German’s who have unleashed the unstoppable crusade of Techno upon the world, drilling our ears and our emotions with an seemingly never ending amount of high energy and high tempo syncopated BPM. And beer, they love the stuff, steins and beer halls, Oktoberfest and weekends, weekdays, mornings, nights, afternoons, church, sports, school events, etc all of our research tells us–unequivocally–that Germans love beer.

They are magnificent in their appearance displaying deep amaretto tans, a seal-esque lack of body hair, and the robust musculature of lapsed CrossFitters.

Yet it takes something special to see all three of these disparate and incongruent characteristics in one place. Thankfully the world has been blessed with the Tour de France. It is here amongst the narrow roads of The Alps and The Pyrenees, lured by the acrid smell of burning muscle, of body salt, of pain and exertion as well as the promise of a captive audience, the chance to gyrate on live international TV, the sheer joy of unquestioned exhibitionism that we find our Hansel and Gretel, our Germans. They are magnificent in their appearance displaying deep amaretto tans, a seal-esque lack of body hair, and the robust musculature of lapsed CrossFitters.

But elegant costuming is nothing without bravado and our actors know their roles. It is on this mountain side in the dizzying alpine heat that Hansel and Gretel will perform their unique ritual of dance and debauchery in service to the TDF. Their morning will surely begin with a smorgasbord of beers, hi-protein sausages and ecstasy. It is only now that our German’s have the ability to reach their full potential.

And as they jump, hop, bounce, and skip all the while their hands pumping, all the while clapping with unabashed enthusiasm they come to the moment when the peloton races past. It is no accident that they happen to be peaking just as they encounter the race, such is the indelible imprint of their precision heritage, such is the intoxicating effects of their beer, such is the hypnotic pulsing of their bad techno. The rest of us are in awe as these addled dervishes meet the raw power of the peloton with their own untempered display of enthusiasm. They are here to not to witness the spectacle of the race, they are here to join it.