Are you clockwise or anticlockwise?

The Tour de France starts today. The finest display of substance fuelled endurance the world has to offer. Not so much endurance these days as the Tour now seems to be increasingly shipped from one part of the Hexagon to another by train and plane rather than pedal power. This year appears to involve more of this extra-pedal transport than before. It is also a clockwise tour, with the Alps preceding the Pyrenees, which for me is always the wrong way round. The baking slopes of the likes of Mont Ventoux should always be the final purgatory for an exhausted rider before the Elysian Fields of Paris.

the latest eddy merkx bike retails at around 12.000€ from memory, having a one off made would be even more! not many do that now with carbon but it was common with steel and aluminium. I'll get there one day!

As for le prix des clopes - I just hope it puts no-one off and that way the commission will be 6% too ;-)

I used to cycle as a kid, had a racing bike but no more than that. Then bought a racing bike back in the 90s and started riding with Mid Devon Cyclists, who's president Colin Lewis rode teh tour back in the 60s and it's a great club. It went from there. it was also the time where I started travelling to Italy and learning italian, then french and so the Giro and the Tour really made sense to me. I got to pat Pantani on the back and speak to him before a stage, talked to David Millar, very briefly, a few years ago. It's a religion here! I ride with a great club and will try and find the time to ride with the local club in Carmaux or Albi too once we move. As for the temperatures, yes we were out yesterday and did 85km in slightly cooler temperatures, cooler than the 34/35° on wednesday and last winter we still trained in -4° but that was very hard :-O

Have a friend who bought himself a made to measure Eddy Merckx bike. He went to Merckx's place to be measured up which was an experience in itself, he said. He came away with a bike that only he could ride, basically. Mind you, I recall some expert or other many moons ago saying that if anyone copied Merckx's style of riding they'd fall off! My friend too was not lacking the odd franc belge or three but he reckoned it was worth every centime. He could ride for miles and still be fresh and free of aches and pains at the end.

Hope the rise in the price of cigarettes doesn't wreck your business plan!

Terry - excellent idea, one of my mates already has it but there again he's also got the biggest fastest audi estate possible, 7 shops, he sponsors our club and his bike is worth 5 to 6 times what mine cost...! I'd like one too but at that price I'll keep to my old turbo trainer (under 100€) and stick to downloading France télévision's coverage of each stage etc - I stick my laptop infront of the bike with speakers (the turbo trainer makes too much noise to hear the coverage on the laptop, even though it's a magnetic resistance not the old fan type which deafen you withing 5 mintes' pedalling) that way I get to train when it's wet and vold in the winter, riding with the best and I change gear to simulate the difficulty. Having said that, everone agrees, home trainers/turbo trainers and the rest are sooooo boring compared to being out on the road with mates!


Andrew, I have the perfect solution for you. There is a new indoor bike which links to the internet and allows you to ride the stages of the tour while not leaving your garage by connecting to Google Street View! You just tell it which stage you want to do and it will faithfully replicate every faux-plat, climb and downhill section. It even has a screen so you can see the road! The position of the bike changes depending on the incline so that you really get the feeling of climbing up to Alpe d'Huez or the Tourmalet or hurtling down some very hairy mountain road. It adjusts the resistance of the pedals depending on the steepness of the incline and your weight and tells you what gear you're in. And it's a snip at under €2,000 (one Euro under to be precise!) It's called the Tour de France (there's a surprise) and is made by Pro-Form So next time it's chucking it down outside and it's freezing cold and all you really want to do is stay in the warm, you know where to look :-)

No doubt with a bit of help from Nick A-H you could even get it to connect to your cycling buddies, who are certain to want theirs as soon as they see yours, so you could still have the fun of riding together.

we've got a pro rider in the family, no not me :-( Alexandre Geniez, he's my OH's 2nd cousin but he isn't riding the tour, his team want to concentrate on the sprints and he's a climber, but he will be riding the Veulta this year and at only 24 watch out for him ;-)

I like the mix David, the stages in the pyrénées are just as good, if not better ;-) than the alpes. On the other hand it's more logical to go anti clockwise and giving a much shorter distance from the alpes to paris and so avoiding big transfers but hey, the variety is welcome;-) My only complaint is that this is the first year in years when it won't come through the massif central, or at least close to my neck of the woods so the family picnic will be missed - unless we go across to see it near cahors. As for the transfers, better than way than the record tours of 4000+km which pushed riders too far, 3500 seems to be a sensible limit these days. Mates from the club riding the ariègoise today finishing with the plateau de beille which we did together over the pentecôte weekend - wish I was there with them today, have to make do with the usual trainign ride this afternoon but at least it's a bit cooler today ;-)

Did the mont ventoux when I was at uni in aix en provence, it's superb ;-)

good tour for brits this year - wiggins and cavendish are in excellent shape - yellow and green in paris would be a real result...!