Everybody knows the TdF was first done by a bunch of heros in 1903 in a race organized by a well known sports magazine owner, Henri Desgranges. What a regrettably large number of people, even some serious historians and really earnest self proclaimed experts (), don't know is that a Tour de France (Tour of France of course) was done by somebody in 1895, and Desgranges got quite a bit of inspiration for his race from this guy's exploit. Theodore Joyeux, on a shaft drive bike, completed 5500 kms in 19 days doing a complete circuit of France on his bike. This record was official and undisputed.
Anyway, Theodore had a barber's shop up in rural Lot-et-Garonne in France, and one day decided (or so the story goes, probably he had it planned) to shut his shop, hop on his bike and cycle around France. Could be he needed a break from matrimonial bliss or something, who know's ?
So this is another reason for belonging to this forum, there are people on it who don't stop at what Google or the experts say, but hop on their bike and cycle down to the home town of this sort of guy, and get you the info. What's so great about C & V is it's not just experts arguing trivia.
The attached pics are a bit lousy, I have much better originals. And to all the parts vultures out there, you need not rush to this town and try to buy the guys bike, photos, loot the bike shops and ransom the inhabitants, I ransacked the place already
Anyway, you can click on the thumbnails, they're not that bad that you can't make out what it's about.