Catalonia has always been a place that welcomed strangers, especially those on a bicycle. As the host of one of Europe's oldest stage races, the Volta a Catalunya, Catalonia has a long history with cycling. In the early editions of that race, Marian Canyardo emerged as a dominant rider. Canyardo himself was, as most of the Catalan working class were at the time, an economic migrant who the newspapers described as "From Navarre by birth but Catalan by adoption". Although it has been 90 years since Canyardo's first victory, Catalonia remains a place that welcomes the world.
Catalan identity has always been about community, not citizenship. As a nation without a state, the Catalan community relied on a feeling of belonging to sustain identity. In the springtime, Catalans gather for calçotadas or "onion roasts". In the summer they build human castles so tall that UNESCO has classified them as part of the cultural patrimony of humanity. In the fall and winter, they eat chestnuts and follow FC Barcelona with a religious zeal. All these traditions serve to tie people together as a community, which is all that a nation really is. A nation built on sport, food and friendliness is something we can get behind.
- James Stout, PhD Sport and National Identity in Second Republic Catalonia