American Collections blog

27 June 2014

Tour de France: Stoller's Depart


Cover of Douglas Cowie, Stoller's Départ (London, 2014).

 The Grand Départ of the 2014 Tour de France has not escaped the notice of Team Americas.  Next week, you will be able to see the Tour de Lead Graffiti at St Pancras, a colourful set of typographical posters produced to celebrate the 2012 and 2013 editions of the Tour by the American printers, Lead Graffiti (we will post more about this; the exhibition is also listed on our What's On pages). Plus, we've contributed to a display of cycling material, which includes a draft of Tim Moore's French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France, at our Boston Spa site.  I have booked the following Monday as annual leave to watch the arrival of the peloton in London.

We are also putting our cleats where our mouths are, and participating in what we realise is a bicycle-based recreation of Dick Turpin's ride to Yorkshire, roughly following the route of the 2014 Tour in reverse and riding from our St Pancras site to Boston Spa in two days. We will be carrying something with us: copies of a specially-commissioned short story by the American author, Douglas Cowie, and which can be seen above. At the end of the ride we will deposit it at Boston Spa to be catalogued after its journey of a little over 200 miles (320 km in proper Tour units). Doug has written a bit about it on his website, here.

The story is based on a real ride from the former British Museum Library to the British Library at St Pancras, taking in John Bunyon and some other possibly familiar places and characters en route. You can pick up a copy for a few pounds along with other cycling-related materials at the BL Shop or online.


And the title? Well, if you are familiar with the US film, Breaking Away, then the surname of the main character may ring some bells.

Matthew Shaw










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