First off, I'm blaming the weather. It got all warm and sunny the past couple of days and it's very distracting. I've been able to do things like pedal my bike and clean-up dog poo out of the backyard. Because of all this fun I've been having, I missed two important birthdays of the sport.
Way back in the day, like 1889, our boy Henri Pelissier was birthed. Henri was one of four brothers from Paris, three of which went on to become professional cyclists. Kinda like the Schlecks, but not really! Now Henri was skinny as a rail back in his younger years and his friends would call him Ficelle, after the thin french bread (the word also means "string"). A stubborn sombitch, his dad gave him the boot when he was 16 and he vowed to become a pro. He trained hard and ended up with some 29 career victories. He took the Paris-Roubaix in 1919&1921, and won the Tour de France in 1923. His bad temper fueled a long-standing feud with Hernri Desgrange, director of the Tour de France, over crappy pay and rider conditions. After his retirement, home life was no better, as his wife took her life in despair in 1933. Then three years later, he cut his mistress on the face during a heated argument. She proceeded to grab the gun (that his wife had taken her life with no less) and pump five rounds in his ass. Henri's hot temper was cooled for good.
It's thought that he may be responsible for the esteemed Pelissier hubs. Or perhaps on of his brothers. Regardless, the hubs were highly revered for a time. I can remember an old school weight weenie dude named Laurie "Gram" Grice who had a pair. "Light as air and smooth as silk." Thanks Velo-orange for the hub pic.
AND Christophe is thought to be the inventor of the toe clip. In 1925 he sold his invention to the Poutrait-Morin company, where he remained Director (and rode his bike to board meetings) until his death in 1970.