Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The Alternative Tour de France

Saturday last saw the start of the 100th Tour de France, a race in twenty one stages, covering 3,404km, finishing on July 21st.

The publicity which follows the race is monumental and the crowds lining the route are treated to a fantastic display from the accompanying caravan. We went to watch two years ago near Montrichard..

For anyone lucky enough to be able to attend it is a day to remember. The whole spectacle takes two or three hours to pass, but the actual riders are gone in a flash.

However, at the moment I'm following the progress of another "tour de France" as my son, David, set off yesterday to cycle from his home in Preston, Lancashire to Braye-sous-Faye, touring parts of France en route.

There is no accompanying caravan and no support car, physio, medics or bike repair outfit.. Likewise there is no accommodation provided and no route markings to follow.

 He is doing it solo and camping along the way, his only means of communication being a very basic mobile phone which is likely to run out of charge unless he limits use to one text per day to let us know he's safe. This is doubly important as he was diagnosed with epilepsy last December after a cycling accident which landed him in hospital with a shattered clavicle and dislocated shoulder.

Why is he doing it? To raise funds for WaterAid, a charity which provides safe drinking water for areas of the world without a safe supply.

Now part of me is very proud of what he's doing but the other part is scared stiff!

We hope to watch the 12th stage of the official Tour de France on Thursday 11th July, when the riders go from Fougeres to Tours, and we hope to welcome David here later in July but in the meantime my advice to him is:

"If it says 'peage' don't go there; it's a motorway!"


Jean said...

I wish David the best of luck with his tour. It was hard enough on a motorcycle - I can only imagine how tough it will be on a push bike.
I hope the weather perks up a bit for him. Did you remind him to pack his thermals?!

Craig said...

Good for David - what a fantastic effort and cause!
I understand your misgivings, but he's a big boy (I'm guessing)!
Best of luck to him.

Susan said...

WaterAid is a great charity. Good on him.

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the encouragement for David. He has had an eye injury today so is having to take time out to get it treated.


GaynorB said...

Bravo David,

This is a fantastic challenge for David to undertake and such a worthy cause. I think it's wonderful that in the midst od the challenges which have affected his health he is thinking of others.

I can understand why Mum is worried but I'm sure that David has planned out his route. There will also be other opportunities for him to contact you. Just think how pleased you will be to see him!

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Gaynor, You are absolutely right! He has had to take a day or two out because he got an eye infection yesterday from the spray from lorries on the road. He's getting it sorted and then completing the next section by train to avoid missing his ferry crossing. Will keep you updated!

Tim said...

Bon chance David... next year he can repeat the challenge... but start in Leeds, a day behind the pelleton?