Bike racing fans are a dedicated lot, packing myriad sundry items into the car or onto the bike and then heading into the nether regions of rural France to catch a brief glimpse of the Tour de France. They line the roadsides in towns, farmland and mountain passes to cheer on the peloton as it rushes headlong toward the next sprint or crawls painfully up to a finish line among the clouds.
Waiting for the peloton is anything but sedate, however. Among the picnics and partying, the Tour's ubiquitous publicity caravan is out on the course hours ahead of the peloton, passing out treats and samples for companies looking to cash in on a captive audience eager for entertainment. Locals along the route also get into the act, spicing up the roads with decorations and their own brand of regional humour.
Although it's true that every day on the Tour is different, it's also true that some things never change. Vive le Tour!