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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!

 


Purchase Your Copy of this Award-Winning Book

"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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Bump Overhead

July 24, 2014

During yesterday’s rest day my wife drove us most of the way across the south of France from Provence to the Pyrenees while I tried to catch up on my blog and sort through my photos. On the way out of Provence we stopped for breakfast at Joucas, the lovely little old village near where two years ago we rented a farmhouse for two weeks and enjoyed the experience with family and friends. We didn’t have much time to linger and stroll through the alleyways because we had to get our new campground in Masseube to check in before 7pm when the office closed. While on the way to south-west France that day I called and found dealer who would be able to work on our latest problem of having no water delivered from any of the taps in the van. This dealer was located in the city of Pau near the border with Spain, which was about another 90 minutes further west from our new campground. The autoroute was full of holidaymakers, many of whom seemed to want to take everything and the kitchen sink with them. Some towed small trailers behind their car, while others found creative packing methods with the liberal use of duct tape. As we got closer to the Pyrenees we started to see more and more sunflower fields. Meanwhile excitement for Le Tour de France has been building because the next three Stages will take place in the area. Some of this anticipation is expressed in the form of colorful pennants in the streets, some in the form of special color inserts in the newspaper, and some in the form of sculpture.

Our new campground was a large green open space that used trees to mark the boundaries of the different lots, with lush grass from one end of the park to the other. At the distant end of the park a small circus tent for a children’s summer camp had been set up alongside a couple of larger tents used for meals. Dotted in between were small individual tents for the campers. Each evening it sounded like there was music and entertainment in the circus tent, but at the time we left each morning to watch Le Tour there was no sign of life among the campers’ tents. We had earlier witnessed groups of campers arriving by bus to watch different Stages of Le Tour, so it would seem that summer camps for youngsters are very widespread.

On the morning of Stage 16 the autoroute took us to the dealer in Pau where Giselle was to receive appropriate treatment for her plumbing problems. While the dealer’s staff went about their business my wife and I browsed around the array of new and used campervans that were displayed for sale. Many of these vehicles seemed too large and lumbering for the country roads in France, while others similar in size to Giselle sported bunk beds instead of a double bed. One very interesting alternative was a vehicle about one foot wider than Giselle - but fractionally shorter in length – in which the double bed was stored above the living area and lowered by electric motor when needed. Having the bed out of the way allowed for very spacious seating and dining areas and a shower cubicle with a door. All of this would be a vast improvement on our present situation in which you have to step outside to change your mind and the person using the stove must move almost to the driver’s seat to allow the other person to get to the tiny shared toilet/shower area.

The work was taking some time and lunch was approaching. Just as we were about to find a place to go for lunch, there was a sudden flurry of activity as the manager came to tell us that our van was ready. We happily completed the paperwork and headed out the door with thoughts of Stage 16 dancing in our heads. As we sat and planned which particular town or location we might choose for the day, the receptionist came out and asked us to leave because they were getting ready to close the gates for lunch. We looked up and saw a mass exodus from the building while the receptionist jumped on her bicycle and headed out for her chosen lunch spot. We quickly started the engine and set off because we would never be able to live with ourselves if we delayed these fine folks getting to their lunch. We were happy to think that all of our problems were behind us. I’ll let Giselle tell the next part of the story.

“Bonjour! First of all, I am happy to say that my internal plumbing problems have been resolved by a specialist located in the Pyrenees. When a lady reaches a certain age such problems can arise but I did not want to see anyone in Paris about this because, you know, people talk. However it would seem that one of the medical staff failed to close my scenic front skylight after the other procedures were completed, and of course those imbeciles to whom I have been entrusted failed to notice this small oversight. They followed the directions from my cousin Geraldine the GPS, which took me under a stone bridge with a height of 2.2 meters. Once again they failed to notice the sign on the bridge because they were too busy talking that funny language of theirs. With my striking and elegant height of 2.8 meters, disaster was inevitable. Not only did my front skylight shatter into tiny pieces, my other two skylights were also broken. But worst of all, I am now bandaged with duct tape, dowel and tacky blue plastic. Quel horreur! I now find myself wearing a winter color in the middle of summer!”

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