Gallery: The publicity caravan of the Tour de France
Aerobars are just the thing to help this three-wheeled penny farthing cut through the wind.
The sound system on this bike is apparently based on a Nintendo Wii.
Alcatel OneTouch’s mascot flies high above the crowd.
Company mascots are scattered throughout the start area at the beginning of each day.
We were a little disappointed that the bread oven on this float wasn’t actually operational.
So how exactly does one create a rolling bubble machine? Simple: just mix soapy water, a slowly rotating motor, a fan, and a bunch of loops and you’re off to the races.
Clothing company Le Coq Sportif certainly makes good use of its name.
The UCI would certainly take issue with the fact that this rider isn’t wearing a helmet.
British tire company Kleber has used a boxer as its mascot since 1971.
This was perhaps our favorite vehicle in the publicity caravan.
Festina appears to use the same caravan vehicles each year.
Strangely enough, we actually never came across a Courtepaille restaurant while following the early stages of the Tour de France.
No trip to the Tour de France would be complete without an encounter with the ever-cheerful Haribo mascot.
Workers on the publicity caravan vehicles are secured with harnesses for safety.
Fancy an inexpensive hotel for the night?
Kangaroos of all shapes and sizes were littered throughout the Tour de France. Australians have certainly come out in force in support of current champion Cadel Evans and the Australia-based Orica-Greenedge team.
Professional rider Andreas Klier created MyKnoaky so that people would always have a bit of wood to knock on for luck. A new collaboration with I Ride for the Kids helps families cope with the challenges of a child who falls ill.
We’ve certainly been eating out fair share of St. Michel madeleines in the press room. Oftentimes, it’s the only food available.
In fairness, chocolate milk is supposedly good for recovery.
Catching up on the day’s news.
This fellow was dressed as an historical French postman.
These Kleber publicity caravan vehicles would have been even more impressive if it actually rolled on the giant single tire.
Only those with appropriate credentials can enter the official start village and team parking areas but the regions just on the other side of the barricades are filled with vendors hawking souvenirs.
This contraption meandered about inside the start village each morning. The tight confines unfortunately didn’t leave enough room to run.
This giant bottle of Vittel actually looks like it could be quite aerodynamic.
French bottled water company Vittel fielded several vehicles in the publicity caravan with giant tanks to spray down spectators with cool mist.
The Tour de France is first and foremost cycling’s biggest and most prestigious stage race in the world. But preceding the peloton from start to finish is another spectacle: the publicity caravan.
Consisting of dozens of elaborately crafted specialty vehicles and taking nearly an hour to pass, it’s a daily parade – and a parade of advertising and small giveaways – that, according to the Tour de France, is actually the main draw for nearly 40 percent of spectators on hand.
Take a look at some of the elements that bring all those people in. The Tour de France may be a bicycle race but for at least a portion of the folks at roadside, the peloton is merely a sideshow.
We were a little disappointed that the bread oven on this float wasn’t actually operational.: