From the world famous Champs-Élysées in Paris, to fields filled with beautiful vineyards. Wine and cycling have a rich history together. We take a look at the joint history of two of our favourite hobbies.

Wine on Le Tour

We all know cycling is good for your health. But did you know that in years gone by, cyclists favourite way to prevent fatigue was a glass (or more) of wine?

Rene Pottier, french racing cyclist. Tour de Franc

René Pottier, the wine drinking French racing cyclist and winner of the 1906 Tour de France

Tour de France riders were well known for taking short breaks at local between stages. In 1906, René Pottier was leading by one hour at the halfway point of stage 5, when the cycling legend decided to stop. Pottier went into the bar and ordered a bottle of wine. He drank almost all off it before spotting the peloton passing. At that point, he realised he needed to get back in the saddle.

Incredibly, Pottier caught up with the other riders and won the day’s stage, and the whole tour that year. But are there actually any health benefits surrounding wine? Or are they myths that we tell ourselves to make us feel less guilty?

The 1914 Tour

Thanks to Noble Rot for this image from their article: Celebrating the Tour de France

These days, Tour de France riders are on very strict tailored diets. They also receieve guided scientific direction. This means – in theory – the riders get the best out of their physical abilities.

But does that mean that all hope of wine being healthy is lost? Well, not quite.

Health benefits

Red wine is often linked to the “French paradox”. The French are generally known to have low rates of heart disease, despite consuming a lot of saturated fats and cholesterol(1).

wine and cheese

Cheese and wine – perfect companions for a post-ride (or mid-ride!) treat.

Experts believe that it is the dietary agents of red wine which may be behind the paradox. Specifically, that they protect against the harmful effects associated with consuming them.

However, recent studies have cast doubt on that theory. Those studies have shown that dietary cholesterol and saturated fat are not associated with heart disease. At least, not when consumed in reasonable amounts (2, 3).

The real reason behind the French population’s health may be down to the fact they consume more whole foods. They also live a healthier lifestyle. So sadly, it likely isn’t down to their wine consumption.

However, all hope (and excuses) are not lost. Antioxidants and many other powerful plant compounds found in red wine are known to have health benefits. Resveratrol, Catechin, Epicatechin and Proanthocyanidins are a few of the rich antioxidants that come from the grapes used to produce wine.

Proanthocyanidins may reduce oxidative damage in the body and help prevent heart disease and cancer (4). It is produced in some plants as a response to damage or injury.

Resveratrol is found in grape skin and may help fight inflammation and blood clotting as well as reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer (5).

Naked Wines

We don’t very often mention offers here in the Bikmo Magazine. But given the topic of this post, we feel it’s our duty to pass this one on to our reader. Perhaps the wine rack – or cellar, if you’re lucky – is looking empty. Or maybe you’re planning some Vuelta a España viewings with mates.

Naked Wines is offering Bikmo customers and friends, £60 towards any 12 or 15 bottles. That’s with a minimum value of £99.99 or more. They have a stonking selection of top-notch wines and with that discount, you can grab a bargain (do the maths).

Naked Wines work direct with independent wine makers too. They support the industry and offering better prices to the quaffer.

Naked Wines Offer - Bikmo £60 off

To claim your discount…

  1. Visit www.nakedwines.com/bikmo17
  2. Enter this unique code and password:
    Code: BKM17
    Password: ASP32XYN
  3. Take your pick of the wines

Your £60 voucher is valid for first time customers only. If you’ve ordered from Naked Wines previously, feel free to pass your code on to a friend!

For full T&Cs go to: www.nakedwines.com/terms

Wine holidays

If like me, you enjoy a leisurely cycle through the countryside along well as a glass of Malbec, a vineyard cycling tour could be the perfect break for you.

There are now lots of cycling specific tours to fit your taste buds and cycling style. You can choose to cycle in that region that produces your favourite wine. Alternatively, you can choose a simple village-to-village tour. That gives you the opportunity to experience a wide variety of different vineyards.

Saddle Skedaddle offer a new world wine and cycling tour in Chile, which caught my eye.

Chile vineyard

Chilean vineyards from the saddle (image courtesy of Saddle Skedaddle)

Anyway, enough dreaming – back to work!

Research sites (thanks!)

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14676260/
  2. http://annals.org/aim/article/1846638/association-dietary-circulating-supplement-fatty-acids-coronary-risk-systematic-review
  3. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2010/01/13/ajcn.2009.27725.abstract
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15134524
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21400036

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