Sunday, July 31, 2011


Letter to Chris Prudhomme

Swanning around in your Limousine with a variety of " notable personalities " you will rarely see the " Glitches " that the everyday visitor to " Le Tour " has to overcome ! Certainly your subordinates have done their best to see that you have a " Trouble Free Ride " each day . No doubt you have briefings with your personnel each day to keep you abreast with potential problems .

Whilst you were with France TV you were quick to pick my brains about my activities on the periphery of " Le Tour " and also whilst " understudy to JM Leblanc ", but since becoming " The Man " you rarely deem a simple "hello" as appropriate for a man of your importance . Amazing then that i get to meet some of the General Officers of the Sapeur Pompiers , Army and Gendarmerie as well as assorted Politicians whenever i find the time to be at a " Depart " or " Arrivee " ! Some i have advised of my Blogs , so it may be that their staff have been detailed to have the occasional read . Phillippe Sudre is also aware of these blogs but as to whether he deems it worth his time to read my offerings i couldn't say .

In previous " Open Letters " to you i have suggested ways to improve the security of the " Signage " but neglected to point out that many of the large Roadside Signs proclaiming " Road Closure details of route nos with dates and times " could be better . All Media receive a looseleaf book , known as the "Guidebook" and this is a very helpful tool to ALL , but it neglects to coordinate that very important issue of "Road Closures" ! Surely you want the world to know WHEN the routes of the " Le Tour " each day will close , don't you ? Many of those i speak to at the " Le Tour " tell me that each Department of France has a Web Site that offers info on these " Route Closures " but the general public are rarely aware of this , let alone the Overseas Visitor , many of whom do not understand the French Language whether written or spoken .

BY adding an additional column in the “Guidebook “ to the Caravan and the Racers anticipated passing certain points times , " ASO " will in consultation with the various authorities be able to advise the WORLD of the "Road Closure " times . Media of all persuasions will no doubt pass on to their readers this information , as they tend to copy out your pages as if it was their own work in the effort to inform their audience . Each Department has it's own branch of the Police National and Gendarmerie responsible for the "Security of the "Le Tour route" and since these signs have to be constructed to inform the public then the information should be accurate and All will see a coodinated result !

During one Etappe i had a Gendarme as he passed me in his car as i rode up the "Col" tell me that i should stop as the "Col" was closed ! This was more than an hour before the Sign Posted Closure time ! When i arrived at the " Col" there were several " touring cyclists " but none of the private cars that passed me after this rash statement was made . The " Major " then again told me that the road was closed even though there remained 35 mins until the posted time . My solution was to pick up the bike and walk off the road until i reached a point beyond the " Col "
where i could ride once again . Further down the road i found that the times posted had been extended another hour and half as is normally the case when you pass into a new area of control . As to what happened to the " touring cyclists " i could only speculate , but had they relied on the published information then they were sadly inconvenienced and carrying a "touring bike " with luggage in many cases is out of the question .

Expect to hear more points of interest from me over the next months as i know how hard it is to get action when too many issues are raised at the same time . Have your people read my " OPEN LETTER to Pat Mc Quaid “ about the " Authorised Driver Permit " that i feel is required to avoid a repeat of the incident that nearly killed two racers .

No where on page 7 of the " Guidebook " does " ASO " refer to driver conduct in relation to the Racers or even the ordinary cyclist AND since the " Le Tour " as an event is about Cycling , one wonders who was responsible for coordinating the material published ? No doubt Phillippe Sudre after our discussion took a look at that page . After publishing my blog post about the RMC Radio Stationwagon i saw the driver many times but he never again caused me any problems . Whether this was good luck or he had the matter brought to his attention is not for me to say .

Security of the "Le Tour " route is an important concern but having the Public sit on the side of the route for 5 hrs each day is asking too much particularly since the "Tour de Suisse" is able to run an event with "Private Security on motorcycles " and Army reservists causing the routes to be closed for periods ranging from 10 mins to 30 mins before the arrival of the racers unless in the mountain passes when longer periods may be required . Could be that your people need to look at the abilities they display and adopt some of their expertise !

A Bientot

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Driving around the last kilometres of today's etappe of St Paul to Gap i came across the "vermin " stopping the traffic to impose their flags on the " unsuspecting public "at 8.40am ! Wearing " hazard /reflective jackets " they were just visible in the heavy rain and most thought they were official so wound their windows down and had the flags thrust in their face ! As i drove through one of them kicked the car denting the rear offside panel but as there are usually five of them i decided " safety first "! Could not find a Gendarme all the way to the centre of Gap so decided that a report elsewhere would have to suffice. No luck on the way to Briancon as there was heavy continous rain with the lightning !

Here in Briancon the sun has broken through finally mid afternoon and reading the Eurosport's early reports states the "Depart " was sunny but the racers were expected to arrive in bleak weather after riding through the storms . Driving through from Gap to Briancon i saw lots of cyclists riding towards the " Ville Arrivee " most wore light rain jackets but some were without and with no backpack one wonders how they will survive the period until the Racers arrive . Since there were so many groups it seems certain that the majority were with tour companies and thus were happy to suffer through ! Saw some standing on the side of the road laughing and chatting so those guys must have been enjoying the conditions !

Personally getting on the bike to ride in the rain no longer appeals but i will continue on a rainy ride after donning the rain jacket ! This is the first of my 14 years of the TDF that i have failed to ride the start and finish of a stage but yesterday's ride with " georgethecyclist " will i guess count for the start of today's etappe . Now the sun is out , the bike will hit the road for a circuit of the district until the TV coverage attracts my interest !

Friday, July 15, 2011


Whilst walking uphill with the bike on the shoulder after passing the 2km mark before the finish i came to a junction where there were 3 Gendarmes about 14.45hrs or about 2 1/2 HR before the racers were due ! One Gendarme called " Descend the velo " , did he mean put it down since i was carrying it ? Then his colleague with 3stripes rushed across Grabbed the front of my cycling shirt and pulled me off my feet causing the bike to drop to the road , regardless of this he dragged me like a toy in the teeth of a Bulldog off the course ! I completed the journey to the finish along the back of the barricades and when i climbed over the grass embankment there was the "Turd Brigade guy " who photoed me with the 3 star General at Cap last Wednesday . When some Belgium media people tried to give me a cup of coffee he sideswiped it out of my hands and told everyone that i was in the wrong area , they were inside the metal fencing and i was on the outside !

Eventually i found the Gendarme with the 4 bars signalling he was a " Commandant " and reported the " assault " , his deputy wearing 2 bars heard me out and wrote down details . What annoys me is that this was the FRench holiday , " Bastille Day " and to be treated in such a cavalier fashion in front of "jeering spectators " dishonours the uniform and causes his fellow officers embarassment . Could this 3 striper walk into the Gendarme Canteen or office and relate this story with any pride ?

Normally Gendarmes are easy going but firm , but this was extreme and considering the efforts i had made earlier in the day to help them with the " spivs " i feel hard done by ! Hopefully the 3striper will get a dressing down or a demotion . Considering the public attitude to " law & order , he brought the force into "disrepute " !

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

More for " Chris Prudhomme " !

Whilst you " swan around " the " 2011 TDF ", there are those out there on their bikes and with loaded panniers trying to find their way from start to finish of each etappe !

When i started riding the TDF route with the 1998 edition i just followed the signs a couple of hours in advance of the racers but this year it is necessary to be more than 5 hours in front of the racers because this is the time the "Gendarmes " are being posted in the "Interests of Security(safety?) ! This Policing organisation is being required to go against their " better nature " for no other reason than your Organisation , " ASO " thinks that making the ordinary cyclist invisible to the general public increases the prestige of the " Racers Efforts "!

RUBBISH ! This pathetic behaviour is souring the experience of those arriving with the " BIG ACCREDITED TOUR COMPANIES ! They pay big money to come to the TDF with their bike and then find that YOU & YOUR ORGANISATION don't want them to ride the Tour Route UNLESS THEY GET UP AT THE UNGODLY HOURS NEEDED TO BE CARTED TO THE COURSE BY THEIR TOUR OPERATOR ! Rather than increasing your revenues you are now "Advertising a stay away policy " !

As for myself , it costs me little to be here and just being here reminds people of " Handisport " which is the ONLY REASON i persist in putting up with the " pettiness" dished up by your minions ! Do you think i care about the "Turd brigade( your laughable security force) " or those wearing "dog collars" so that people can direct them back to the "reserved area " they have PAID BIG MONEY to inhabit ! Noticed that you even scan their "accreditation " going in & out of the village to make sure you get your monies worth !


Last night and this morning i found it al but impossible to find the route laid out in the " Guidebook " ! THE SIGNS had dissapeared or not been erected , not your fault you say ? WRONG ! Some signs are "screwed " to the attachment and with large "washers" can deter the thiefs from removing them by "twisting " them where anchored by wire ! Your erectors will take a little longer to complete their assignment BUT the signs will stay in place ! ANOTHER TRICK would be to apply a "date stamp" to the vrear of the sign so today's signs will have 13/07/11 on the rear and any caught with them before 1800hrs today will be clearly identified as " Thieves " and so you can "Prosecute" for lost revenue !

LOST REVENUE OVER THE PAST 11 DAYS HAS ALSO COME ABOUT THROUGH " Drapeau & Nougat vending " ! Read my blog for my attitude to that !

Don't care how much ASO misses out on BUT I DO CARE ABOUT THE VICTIMS !

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

RECAP on " Conned by Spivs "

Observed Gendarmerie detaining 2 " spivs(vermin)" on saturday evening on the outskirts of Issoire ! Seems like the others escaped on foot . When I arrived on the scene i saw these Gendarmes interviewing one but noticed the second coming out of a shop with his tray in a plastic bag and pointed him out so that the Gendarme was able to open the plastic bag and discover the tray !

Sunday i did not see any of these " spivs " but today i found them heading out of Carnoux in the northerly direction about 20 km from the finish of the day's etappe . Once again they were coercing a elderly couple who parted with 8 euros , i pretended to be phoning the Gendarmerie and the driveer gave me the finger and then the strong arm gesture and called his hawker who was wearing the " TDF " dog collar lanyard " and "phony pass" back to the car ! Incredibly the " Bumble Bee man " told these victims in french to NOT buy but they were intimidated and could not recover their money ! This happened on the incline from the narrow bridge about 8.26 am , which is probably a cat 4 climb on the TDF route ! Car reg no was BJ 871 SR and was a black Renault Megane 5 door S/wagon , a vehicle that these vermin tend to use .

Further along towards Carnaux i stopped a Gendarmerie vehicle and reported these details , that vehicle was ~~639 JJ and a 3 stripe in charge ! Took my report but did not ask for contact details in the event of detaining these miscreants . I also told them how to find the victim so that they had a provable incident but doubt that this registered or was necessary !

Good to see the Gendarmerie is acting but doubt it is down to my Blog postings . I am sending a link to these posts to the 2 star General of
Gendarmes so that he can compliment the officers for their actions .

AS in Doctor WHO !


Saturday, July 9, 2011


Thankyou for taking my hand yesterday evening but had you not been in a hurry i could have passed this info in private , check this link :

Nicholas Roche is not the only rider who has made the point about the exit from the Cap on wednesday ! Frankly i knew it was going to happen so arranged for my transport to wait at Matignon 10 km along the road to Dinan !

Every year there are these " cockups " where the " evacuation plan " becomes chaos ! ONE WAY TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM is to use the " Presedential Motor Velos " to lead out the TEAM PULLMANS before anyoneelse is allowed to move ! The VIP s can have that extra drink in the VIP areas that they have paid to use and the public should be held back for the required 30mins or so and if they think they are so important to break the " curfew " then the Gendarmerie can collect " Penalties " after they are turned off the road into holding areas .

IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE that traffic goes in one dirrection ONLY ! About 6 km down the road i took to Matignon i found a grey Skoda " Decalled S/wagon " with a driver in a Lilac shirt telling the Gendarmerie Officers he was entitled to drive against the oncoming traffic to pick up his passengers ! Had he been allowed to do so he would have found the road was too narrow and countless thousands of cars would have been trapped and delayed further . I did see Three roads of traffic come together in the Village beside the " Cap " and the rear of the SKY TEAM bus dissappear led out by a Motor Velo ! Could be some Teams are more equal than others !

I have not seen you at the Tour de Suisse but believe studying their traffic management methods would be worth your time ! Of course they also have the odd calamity , one of which resulted in me riding my bike from the Team Telecom bus parking and leaving there at the same time but having me waiting in their hotel at Bellinzola wondering why they were not there ! Yes even in Switzerland the racers get treated shabbily when " evacuation procedures " break down !

Many more ideas are available but since you picked my brains whilst awaiting " JM "s departure and you have done little for " Handisport " since i wonder if you will act if they are offered !

By the way , one of your security guys (turd brigade ) photoed me with the " 3 star General " on Wednesday night and i would appreciate a copy of the photo which he could email to ! Thursday morning i met the General's colleague a " 2 star General " but i have that photo on the blog already !

Friday, July 8, 2011


Each day as you travel the routes of the Tour de France you will find " spivs " stealing from the public !

YES STEALING ! What happens is this , you are cycling or driving down the TDF route and usually at a corner or " halt" sign there will be two or three guys with a box in one hand and a small french flag in the other . As you are going slowly , since there is a queue created by these mongrells they will demand you buy one of their flags and nag on at you if you are french that " you are not patriotic " if you refuse; should you be a visitor then the monies are going to a " charity ( yes their pocket ) so you are a cheapskate if you refuse ! Generally you need to rev your motor or keep moving so they get out of your face . Of course you will see them again the next day and the next !

"Georgethecyclist.blogspot " has many stories to relate from over the years about what he has seen since he gets to sit and observe occasionally . After finding him and Vince on the road today i saw a grandfather with three young children , he had been fleeced ! Mongrells stopped and gave one flag to a girl then asked if they would like "nougat ", of course the children did and so they gave the girls the nougat and DEMANDED 10 euros from the man , he wanted to give it back but they would not leave without the money but by now the children were in tears !

Operating so early in the day they surround a village and canvass the shops and homes and control the traffic and the authorities are presently " powerless " to prevent this behaviour ! George will tell you that they have swerved in front of him causing him to run off the road on occasion , whether this is deliberate or in the attempt to canvass " donations " from the unsuspecting public they stop without thought for others he is not sure ! As regards myself when i am on the bike i stand up and pedal harder thus they get the message and get clear , of course there is occasion when i have had to avoid hitting one of them since they work in gangs from a variety of station wagons or people carriers .

In past years i have gone to the nearest Gendarmerie and reported their location but there is a reluctance to act since there are more important things to be done whilst the TDF is in the area . How many more Grandfathers have to be coersed into parting with their pension monies before this pestelence is eradicated . TDF officials are aware of this problem just as they are aware of the " gangs " that prey on the cyclists careless enough to leave their bikes unattended and with removable items . Locked bikes pose no problem as they carry " bolt cutters " and these are effective at solving that nuisance !

Time marches on and more riding to be done , thanks to Laurent in Nouans les fontaines and some Aussies living in this village i was able to overcome the problem of another closed Library (biblioteke )!

Since arriving in Chateauroux i have come across one of the many " Commandant rank officers of the CRS " and in my poor french explained this situation . Should he take the time to look at this blog post after "googling " for " skippydetour " he will see that this is a blight on the " honor of FRANCE "! Just why the authorities have known the problem but not acted remains a mystery to all .

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Riding into Dinan today i passed another cyclist who was heading to the start and eased up when he hollered " skippy " . Turned out he was a " fatty follower " and had seen me numerous times over the years . He told me that he had read a " comment " that i had made a few days ago and " fatty's " reply naturally i took the time at the tourist office to check what he said whilst the caravan passed through the centre of town .

Having got to 2m from the finish line yesterday i started from 75 km out to try and find " georgethecyclist and gang" as i rode into town for the start . There is no point riding the whole route to Liseaux as i will then have to head south to Le Mans so i will have done a fair bit of the route without seeing the usual tourists outside their campers .

Arriving in Dinan i was forced by a Gendarme( at least 9 mths pregnant ) to take a detour descending from the bridge to the river and then trying to walk up the cobbles for 2km with a Kiwi travelling with his parents . Lucky for me i wear SIDI MTB shoes as i doubt that a cyclist with plates would enjoy walking in bare feet .

Dinan " old town " has some beautiful ancient buildings and would be a pleasure to visit but today trying to get around the barriers with the bike is a nightmare . people expect you to leave the bike at home as they walk into the start to LOOK AT BIKES ! Amazing attitude and the intolerance of some reminds me why i rarely visit a start .

Some cyclists lock their bikes in random spots and return to find parts missing . The answer of course is to have the bike in front of you at all times . Told some people the other day to lock their front wheels as they stood at the barrier and they told me to mind my own business as they could see their bikes from where they were !

Guess who i sa
PROFESSIONAL THIEVES TARGET THE TOUR D4E FRANCE so why should anyone be surprised when their computer , bidons & wheels go walkabout ? BE SAFE , Be sure to enjoy cycling by taking precautions with planning & preparation !

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cadel wins as he holds off Contador

All day the pundits were predicting a clash between Cadel and Gilbert but it became a " cat and mouse " episode where Contador tried repeatedly to slip through on the line but failed as Cadel threw his bike more strongly than "el pistolero" !

Never learnt how this throwing the bike on the line is done but then i don't race so never had the need , but it is a skill that was needed today . Cadel at 20km had a problem which meant a change of bike but my french was not good enough to follow the explanation and as 3 or 4 of the team waited to pace Cadel back into the Peloton we saw the spectacle of two of his team struggling to catch him because of his determination to get back into the fray .

Turned out to be a clear day at the " Arrivee "but i was fortunate to find a bar as the racers passed through 30km and the screen was about 10ft by 6ft and funnily enough i was the sole patron so i was able to see detail that usually is lost on the smaller screen . The numbers on the " Mur " looked a lot less than i had anticipated so there were many others like myself enjoying the action in front of a TV .

Evening is falling and the sun is out so it should bev a nice day tomorrow even though the prediction is changeable weather . With luck i will find a campsite that is dry by the time the tent goes up .

Library Time on the TDF 2011

Cold wet and blustery here in Wintery Bretagne ! Stated out from north of PLouay to ride into Lorient with a promise of sun but after crossing 0km i soon saw what was in store for the day !

Seen always with a "fondriest jacket" around my waist even the last few days when close to the camping ground with temperatures in the high 30's and the result is i was well prepared for the drop in temperature today before the misty rain set in and became cold and uncomfortable .

Several hours of inclement weather after so many tours this year in sunny conditions has led to a stop in the library whilst i decide the best way to see out the day's action . Looks like the finish may be clearing and where to await the racers is now the question ?

Somewhat more hopeful than the photos published in the other blogs !

Sunday, July 3, 2011


With a start before 7am today , sunday , i was able to ride over the finish line before making a rapid survey of the full parcours and as expected the "gestapo" was in place when i arrived back at the finish , first trying to stop me at 250m and then at 25m and finally strongarming me at 10m , just what is sacred at 8 hours before the racers compete remains a mystery to me !

Since riding the route each day tuesday night through friday the fields have been filling up with tents and camping vans mostly with french plates but the dutch wreck from the giro d,italia is there also . Funnily enough as i went around for a second time a guy in "skil maillot" passed me on the only descent of the course but was unable to hold the speed so i tucked in and let him draught me but after 16km he woke up to the fact i was there . i always check my rear regularly since i seem to be targeted by those who put their bike on the road at the bottom of a climb and expect a tow to the top . "no way jose" !

Les Essarts is a nightmare for those with bikes equipped with panniers since they cannot be easily lifted over the route barriers ! Vince (Aussie from Melb. now riding with Georgethecyclist and others) just came in to say his bike is stranded at the camping ground because the Gendarmerie have closed the roads .

Last night i did a TV program to highlight the message "aider handisport" but whilst people are telling me they saw the program they did not discover why i was there , useless for my purposes but when i get the DVD of the program i will be able to see if it was of any value .

Today i am riding the 1998 frame with the Magna saddle and carbon seatpost being recent additions . Lent the bike yesterday to a guy who has lived in Oz so that he could go with Vince and others others to the finish yesterday , but he had the use of a soft saddle and was thankful for that .

Whilst composing the post last night a lass arrived at the tourist office who had seen me riding the route and of course the staff of the Les Essarts Tourist Ofice saw me on the TV so it is Brioche and coffee whilst composing this report .