I was born in Leeds in 1960. My delivery crew were more concerned about the number of babies being delivered without arms and legs to be concerned that one of my testicles hadn't joined his mate in his rightful place at birth. Six years later this was discovered when like all boys of my age I had to suffer the indignity of being told to cough while some hard faced/cold handed school nurse checked their equipment from behind. The consequences of these natural events would shape my later life.
My first bike was purchased with the hard saved proceeds of a paper round when I was 11 years old, I'd ridden older brother's steeds but MY first bike had a big steel basket on the front to make my paper round easier. It's probably the heaviest bike i've ever owned and my body moved up and down in an eliptical motion in order to propel it but my love for bikes was cemented. My Carlton Cobra took me to faraway places such as Harrogate and Skipton which became even more far away when we migrated to Adelaide. Australia in 1974. Cycling made way for cars and girls and ball sports but my love for cycling was re-introduced through my love of running....and triathlons. Then in 1984 a friend invited me on a big lap
but after riding across Australia and half way across Asia I decided I didn't like bikes any more and swapped them for a pair of skis and my love for mountains was borne.
Twice I qualified to compete in an Ironman Triathlon event and twice I was struck down by testicular cancer...I got the message. But it was as I was pondering my past, present and future in a big building with lots of windows at the beginning of this millennium that I fell in love with the Tour de France. Lance and Marco having a battle up the Ventoux actually. Earlier that year I'd signed myself out of hospital just so i wouldn't miss a stage of the Tour Down Under which is where I came to meet you lovely guys....and I still haven't missed a stage.
Yorkshire, bikes, Tour de France, \0/, cancer.....someone's playing my tune.
I'd been planning this trip for ages. I bought a car in England a few years ago and drove at breakneck speed around Europe and watched a few stages of the Giro in 2011.
I fell in love with the car so had someone repair and restore her with the intention of importing it home....I wasn't able to so I went back the next year to the UK and used her to get the best spots for most of the Olympic events and to visit a lot more of my home continent.
I still have the car. It's in Leeds. It hasn't been driven for two years but I have been reassured she starts first click and so I'd been planning to once again utilise it's cavernous interior to cart my bike around France for a clockwise scenic lap of the country. It's been touch and go. I've had a DVT and recently had a second cochlear implant drilled into my skull, but I've been given the all clear to travel, started riding hills again and I'm going to the Tour de France :-)
I ride with a bunch of fellow cancer survivors here in Adelaide called Cancer Voices. Our founder passed away earlier this year after an amazingly tough battle with cancer over many years so in many ways it's a very special trip and Ill be sharing parts of the trip with one of my team-mates....a tough little Greek guy called Con who just this weekend rode 3500 metres ascent in a 110km ride and has a few years experience on me too.
We're going to be spending just as much time with our feet up sampling the local product as we will riding Cols and the Volvo will be nurtured around the mountain passes as she needs to be rested up for a few laps of the Nurburgring after Paris.
I like to tell a story and I love taking pictures of bikes and mountains and stuff and apparently some of my dear friends on PdC often get a giggle at my unique view of this sport that we love, so I'll be posting a few words and pictures from time to time to share my fun with you.
Incidentally.....If there is anyone over there that want's to catch up for a beer or a ride or even to come along for part of the trip they're more than welcome...more riding can be done with three people.
Tourmalet or Hautacam??