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!

Click here for more details, including how you can get an autographed copy.

The Awards Judge Organization proudly announces the

Winners of the First Annual 2015-16


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

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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The best laid plans of mice and men...


 ...oft do go astray.

Our flight to Paris went just fine, and after a few teething problems we are finally on our way to join Le Tour. The van is quite new and very comfortable, even if it the logo on the side makes it  look like it was borrowed from A.T. & T. We had planned to spend our first night in a campground in the Paris area, not far from where we picked up the rental van, and the landscaping feature at the entrance to the campground made it clear that we were not in Kansas any more.  The decision to stay nearby that first night turned out to be a lucky one because that night we found that the electric cable provided by the rental company needed an adapter, the gas to the cooktop did not work and the water pump to the sink and bathroom was burned out.

We knew we could address all of these issues the next day at the rental depot, so leaving these concerns behind we went to a nearby restaurant for dinner and to watch the France vs Germany soccer game. Although the French team lost 1-0, the spirits of the locals were not diminshed and neither wereours until after dinner when we found that the establishment did not accept credit cards. Leaving my drivers license as a form of security, we arranged to return the next morning with cash. The only problem was that the nearest ATM machine was in the next town about 10 minutes away by car. At least we didn't have to spend our first evening in France washing dishes!

We resolved all of these issues the next morning and set off for Normandy under rainy skies. It rained all day and we hoped the Le Tour starting that day in Yorkshire had encountered better weather.

One problem still remaining is that we found that getting mobile high-speed access to the internet from my laptop was not as simple as I had thought and as a result I have not been able to update the blog for several days. I hope to have this resolved soon. Meanwhile please see below an excerpt from our first day in Paris.

"It soon became clear however, that we were not the only customers that the rental company had to deal with that day. We had arrived a couple of hours earlier than our scheduled appointment, which put us into that twilight period of the day before lunch when a Frenchman measures the amount of work awaiting him and compares it to the time available before the immutable noon hour. It seemed that there was only one attendant available to take care of processing our rental pick-up, and this was a task that could not possibly be accomplished before lunch. In a brilliant stroke of Gallic genius he suggested to us that our problem of having to wait until our scheduled appointment could be solved simply by going to lunch ourselves. He even recommended a suitable restaurant around the corner within walking distance, while confidentially advising us to avoid the pizzeria even though it was a little shorter walk.

 We of course needed little persuasion to enjoy our first French meal of the trip and set off only to find a rather unpromising looking building displaying the signs of what appeared to be a long past heyday. Nevertheless we bravely entered the foyer of the restaurant and were greeted by a trim and smartly dressed couple who might have stepped out of a fashion magazine. Although I warmed to their welcoming attitude, I was sad for this nice couple that their restaurant was silent and deserted at Friday lunchtime which ought to have been one of the busiest meal times of the week. I sighed when the young man showed us into the tastefully-appointed yet empty front part of the dining area but was more than pleasantly surprised when he took us into the next room and the room beyond which were both filled with office workers and business people enjoying the various stages of their lunch. On any day of the week evidence of the existence of a crowd of this size in a Texas restaurant or an Australian pub at lunchtime would be heard as soon as the door was opened, but in line with the manner of dining in France the happiness of the patrons to be enjoying good food and company was expressed mainly through their joyous facial expressions and body language rather than through loud conversation. We were shown to a table at the back of the restaurant in the fourth part of the dining area which just happened to overlook a tranquil lily pond surrounded by glorious flowers and overhanging shrubs. To think of finding such a setting in an industrial area in the outer suburbs of Paris was difficult enough, but when we reviewed the range of tempting appetizers, main courses and desserts contained within the menus provided to us by the elegantly-dressed hostess both my wife and I decided that the overnight flight and subsequent taxi ride must have made us delirious. Mindful of the three weeks of dining out ahead of us, we both decided to play it safe and order the salade Italienne which of course we found delicious."

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