It’s been a slow week at the ‘office’ (my living room) and I’ve been doing a little blog reading on the sly. This, as you may know, can be a dangerous business because once you find something interesting, they inevitably have a blogroll of other good blogs to check out – it gets exponentially time consuming very quickly! Since I probably won’t be blogging about my riding exploits for a few days I thought I’d share someone else’s with you for a change.
I’m not sure this guy will appreciate me slapping up his URL on the blog, but I want him to know that I mean well. Here’s the story:
Jean-François had a plan to ride every single stage of this year’s Tour, alone and unassisted. He started a site months ago. trained a lot (you can see his log on the site), began a blog of his preparations, and took donations for a charity he believes in.
Last Saturday he began his adventure by riding Stage One. He finished (more or less), then wrote a blog article saying he was packing it in! I’m not sure why I feel so affected by this. It may be because I can relate to mid-life crises, or simply because I hate to see dreams unravel. In any event, he hasn’t updated since Saturday and people are adding encouraging comments on his blog. Maybe he’s still in France, pondering his next move? If you feel inclined, send him some mojo!
(Update: save that mojo; he’s back in the UK now. Still, the site is worth a look.)
From Jean-François’ blog I found this one. It is a clean, stylish and easy-to-read blog, apparently about a guy in his 40’s who has taken up competitive cycling for the first time in his life (sound familiar?). He’s got some fun videos, good product reviews and news about pro cycling, added into the mix.
From Giro it was a short click to my next stop in the blogosphere. This one is run by an illustrator who obviously is also a cycling nut. This year he made an illustration for each stage of the Tour. He has a little online shop as well. Here’s an example – Stage 8:
8 thoughts on “One Blog Leads to Another”
Thanks for the link to JF’s blog. I’d say, don’t hold back with the mojo – send him a comment to encourage him to continue at some point. It must take some courage to post about abysmal failure. To abandon a project he’s worked on for the better part of the year is a bitter pill, too.
Life and learn, and then get up again to learn some more. I hope he gets up again.
I’m with ya, Herr Kaa. No matter how much whitewash you plaster on it, it’s gotta be a giant disappointment. My mojo has been sent off, by the way.
You post describes how I spend many evenings, zipping from one blog to the next. I had to chuckle as JF described his challenges in getting his water bottles filled. Many European friends mention to me their suprise at finding water comes AUTOMATICALLY with every restaurant meal and that extra servings on soda are quite often FREE! As for JF’s abandonment, he gets top marks for honesty but I am left scratching my head as to how he could have so terribly misunderstood the challenge he was taking on – especially after a year of planning. Further, he doesn’t expect to pay his sponsors back. Interesting.
Water is indeed a problem over here. First off, the bottled type is just as expensive as beer, which leaves the thirsty cyclist with quite the dilemma! Truthfully though, I’ve never experienced what JF did in all my travels in Europe. He was having an epic bad-luck day, in my opinion.
I am head scratching myself and strangely affected by his abandonment, even though I have virtually nothing invested in his success (I just found the blog the other day). As for the donations, I don’t think he actually has the money to give back, but I may not understand the system.
I don’t get why water would be a problem – even in your dry south. I have walked (with cleats – click, click) into many bars all over the country and I have gotten my bottles refilled promptly, even often been asked if I wanted ice.
In fact, it’s the law here that restaurants have to serve water to anyone who walks in, whether they buy anything or not.
Right, the ‘problem’ I was referring to was whether to buy water or beer, if you’re paying.
I’ve never had trouble with getting water in France – even get lemon slices in the bidon from time to time…
I stumbled upon your post by looking at my blog stats. I am that cyclist who bit off far more than he could chew. The trouble is that if you make something public (ie the blog) you have to stand by and see it through, no matter what the outcome.
In my defence, although I gave up on Stage 1, I had spent the previous 2 days cycling from the UK to the Vandée, through rain and constant headwinds. To top it all off, I didn’t have a hotel room, even though I had an email confirmation of such. All local hotels were fully booked and I ended up at a camp site, late in the day, with 232kms under my belt and with nowhere to buy food. It’s at that point that I decided that I wasn’t going to continue.
As for the water bottle incident, I have ridden in France in the past and have never been refused a fill-up. I ask mainly at cafés but on this occasion, it wasn’t to be. The fact that I had just finished eating there made it even worse.
Regarding the sponsorship money, nothing was meant by the comment. Having said that, I don’t have control of sponsorship money. People who donated paid it straight to the Help for Heroes charity. The whole trip though was funded by me. I didn’t have any other type of sponsorship such as cheap hotels or tyres or anything.
I have updated the site fully now, if you’de like to read what happened next.
I must admit that of all the comments I have had throughout this process, only one has been negative (Thanks to Attila Antal, Hungarian, born in 1973 for knocking someone when they’re down). The rest have all been positive and/or encouraging.
J-F, thanks for commenting. I feel for you. Really I do. I see that you are putting a positive spin on your mis-adventures, so may I offer some as well? How about learning from your mistakes (if you made any) and planning the same trip next summer? You have plenty of time to plan and you can use the money you are saving this year to go ‘luxe’ next time around!
One idea might be to solicit help from the blogosphere, such as me, for example. If you did such a trip next year I’d be happy to ride a stage or two with you in Languedoc (the Tour is sure to come through here again) or in the mountains. I can also help with logistics, perhaps. I’ll bet if you put the word out early you could get lots of support. I know, your plan was to go unsupported, but clearly that is insane!