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It's Only a Bike Race -

How Hard Can It Be?

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Winner of New Book Awards Prize!

 


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"It's Only A Bike Race: How Hard Can It Be?" is now available for purchase in paperback and Kindle!

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The Awards Judge Organization proudly announces the

Winners of the First Annual 2015-16

NEW BOOK AWARDS

Los Angeles, CA—The Awards Judge Organization has announced the Winners of the First Annual NEW BOOK AWARDS.   The New Book Awards were created to boost recognition for outstanding literary achievement filtered out of a wide spectrum of America’s diverse literary community.  One purpose of the awards is to bring attention to independent and self-published works that might otherwise go unnoticed.  The New Book Award winners range from well-known and established writers to aspiring authors and first works. There are no quotas for diversity; the winners list simply reflects the quality chosen through a natural selection process.

The Awards Judge Organization (AJO) is a national independent product review & ratings commission.

The full text of the press release announcing the list of award winners including "It's Only A Bike Race" can be found at www.newbookawards.com

Le Tour de France - A Vacation On Wheels?

Riding a bicycle around France during July sounds like an idyllic way to spend a few weeks during the summer. Visiting different regions of the country while on a leisurely ride through vineyards and sunflower fields seems like a fun pastime in which all French gentlemen should aspire to partake at least once during their lifetime. Just to add a little adventure and interest to the two-wheeled vacation, there would be a small prize for the first man to return to Paris. …. This was the ill-informed overall impression of the Tour de France that the author had gained during five years of studying French at high school on the other side of the world.

Some twenty years later when he was able to make his long-awaited first trip to France, he began to discover that his pre-conceived notions of the event were removed from reality by a large distance - over 3,000 kilometers to be exact. Having realized the extent of his original misperceptions about the Tour de France, the author was eager to discover whether it was still possible to enjoy the Tour de France in the way he had visualized it as a youngster. Substituting a campervan for a bicycle, he decided to follow the Tour de France for three weeks with the aim of enjoying the race while simultaneously taking in the sights, sounds and tastes of France. This book tells the story of his quest.

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A Week in the Life of a Camper Van

July 13, 2014

Bonjour! My name is Giselle and I am a GlobeScout camper van based on the chassis of a 21-foot Fiat Ducato truck. I know I am only young, just 8,054 kilometers old, but this past week I have carried two passengers like I have never carried before. They speak a strange language (especially the man) and they have habits that can only be described as odd. Allow me to explain, if you will.

The man has the most curious habit of head-butting every possible overhead shelf and cupboard at least two or three times each day. At first I thought it was accidental but he does it so often I have come to realize that he must be doing it for a reason. Perhaps he is trying to see whether his wooden head is harder than my wooden cupboards, but I know for certain that my cupboards and shelves are solid wood and they do not make a hollow sound like his head does when hit. And evidently the woman cannot count from 1 to 6 without counting the same number twice or going backwards or starting from 3 instead of 1 – well, you can only imagine the way she handles my highly technical 6-speed manual gear shift.

Even though I have a luxurious shower room slightly smaller than an old-style telephone booth and equipped with a shower curtain that is guaranteed to cling when wet to anyone who takes a shower, for some reason they have decided instead to use the shower facilities at the campgrounds every morning. In spite of all this daily mistreatment and lack of appreciation I have served them well, taking them to the Tour de France every day without complaint. And after I have safely parked at the side of the road, among others of my kind (although they are not as beautiful or elegant as I am) these tasteless cretins insist on hanging vulgar advertising signs on me – even on my roof - and covering my attractive paintwork. And the signs do not even match my color palette!

Although they are not aware of it, every day I have my revenge for this uncaring cruelty. One of my two lovely skylights is located right above their bed, and the other above my spacious kitchen/dining room. It so happened that it rained during the first night they spent with me, and they were so busy banging their heads and trying to connect the electric cable that they did not close the skylights when they retired. Of course I did not alert them to this oversight and needless to say, when they awoke in the morning their enthusiasm had been – shall we say – dampened. Even better, they are awakened early every single morning by the light shining directly on them through the skylight over their bed. They do not know it, but there is an internal cover that can be drawn over the skylight to help them get a full night’s sleep. There is no sign or symbol to indicate that such a cover exists, so I will simply let them find out for themselves. But my favorite trick is to randomly fling open a drawer or cupboard while they are driving, making the non-driver risk life and limb to go back and close the offending aperture while I twist and turn around the winding roads.

Only two more weeks to go before I return to a more civilized life with more civilized passengers. But I am fairly sure that Monsieur’s head will crack open before then.

What is the Publicity Caravan and what does it have to do with a bike race?

It takes a lot of money to support the logistics of staging Le Tour de France each year, with its 198 riders travelling over 3,500 km around France in 23 days. By the same token, hundreds of thousands of people in France come out to watch at least part of each day’s Stage, thereby offering an attractive opportunity for advertisers to gain publicity. The net result is that a small of companies or organizations sponsor the Tour in return for being able to advertise their products and services to the crowds that line the route for each of the 21 Stages. They do so in the form of a “Publicity Caravan” which is a parade of floats and vehicles that travel the route of each day’s Stage at slow speed about 90 minutes before the riders pass by. Free product samples are thrown from the floats and eagerly gathered by the spectators, mostly the children. In fact many families who have small children come to the race route especially for the Caravan and then go home with happy youngsters with loot in hand. The Caravan is never seen on TV outside France because it’s message is aimed at consumers in France, and not elsewhere.

Here is some information by the numbers about the 2014 Publicity Caravan.

180: The number of vehicles that make up the Caravan each day, which includes 15 vehicles from the local Press in the region that Le Tour is traversing on that particular day.

12: The length of the Caravan in kilometers (7.5 miles), which advertises to millions of people on the side of the road every year in an event that takes 35-40 minutes each day to pass a given point.

600: The number of people who work on the vehicles in the Caravan each day.

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I am enjoying your Blog, Steve! The one where the van is commenting is even better than your comments!!

Funny about the shower. Hope your head is in one piece. Glad you finally figured out the skylight!



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