Thursday, July 26, 2007

Dent in the Armour

Last night I lay on my sofa whacked out from my mammoth walk yesterday and had a few moments of self doubt. Not having the courage to tackle Parisian summer traffic had knocked a little dent in me. For a few moments I just wished I was this different person. Not too different you know, just one who was a little better co-ordinated, who didn’t trip over her own feet, who could signal she was turning left without the whole bike lurching left as well, who knew her left from right, who was a little ... Hang on I then thought, I’m not that bad, I chuck myself of high things every year, I’ve done a parachute jump, I enjoy all things watery. The difference is that I do the things I do because I know I’m safe, tackling the streets of Paris when you don’t even know the Highway Code is just stupid. But (the dent hadn’t quite popped out yet), I wish I could do a cartwheel. The little moth fluttering around the room searching for light heaved its wings in a shrug and rolled its antennae.

Then this morning I trawled through the news. I considered subscribing to the Guardian Weekly, but I think they need to do their maths. You get the four first issues free, yet a year’s subscription is still more expensive then buying it from them at their weekly rate of 2.45€!

Next up was the fact that Rasmussen the current yellow jersey holder of the Tour de France, had been chucked out by his team for suspected doping and that the whole team were thinking of pulling out too. Now I know this may not interest you, but hang on in there a second. I am not a huge sports fan, I watch big football competitions and I admire the stamina and endurance that goes into the Tour de France (and the scenery). Although I have very very little in common with these sports people, the one thing we do share is determination; we all want to do well in what we do. The big difference though is that writers can’t cheat, there isn’t a magic drug that will suddenly make their writing immensely better, we have to work at it. I shook my head as I read about the doping scandals that have plagued this years Tour. I’m wondering whether to even bother to go to the last stage on Sunday. The barriers are already being put in place, but it just seems silly, I’ve been routing for Chicken man (Rasmussen) and now it just doesn’t seem to matter anymore.

So I guess it was kind of cheering to read about 33 year old Luke Bream who is cycling the Tour de France on his own. He is doing each stage a day ahead of the main tour. His mum keeps him going from her camper van, feeding him Jam butties and Coca-cola! He seems to have the crappiest diet of any rider on the tour, but he’s giving it a go. Maybe I’ll look out for Luke on Saturday when he is due in Paris. In the meantime, I’m going to keep persevering; at the writing, I’ll save the bike riding for the Bois de Boulogne or Vincennes where there is no traffic.

Oh and if you need to persevere with your writing don’t forget that Jason Evans is running his 6th Short Fiction Contest over at The Clarity of Night and that Maht at Moon Topples will open his 3rd Contest next Wednesday (the day after a very important day). Oh and on the same day the First issue of Blagger by Opening Chapter (aka Skint writer) will be coming out.

10 comments:

kyklops said...

To my knowledge, Japan is the only developed country that allows bicycles on the sidewalk (although technically illegal, there are special lane markers on sidewalks and everything). Only an insane person would venture out into vehicular traffic on his/her bicycle! ;-)

[Word verification: zypsup; somehow not as friendly as zypsdown!]

Jon M said...

Haven't been to France very often but always make sure that my wife drives cos she's more cosmopolitan than me and travels all over the show. I'm a bit of a cowardy custard about things like that. Riding a bike through Paris would make me quiver!

Verilion said...

Kyklops that sounds brilliant. There are actually some cycle paths here, but they are also the bus and taxi lane! Mmm and be careful with that word verification, you don't want to pinch anything else ( ;
Phew so I'm not the only one then Jon. I'm very good at navigating through hellish traffic. Although Colleen would deny that as we did get horrendously lost in Amsterdam. We had booked a hotel on the outskirts, but the wee tour through the city centre was great; trams, bikes, buses, one ways...

apprentice said...

You're a brave wee lion IMHO cycling in Paris.

The Tour is very disappointing, but perhaps the toughness of the whole team going out will change things, the doping thing must be very deep-rooted to the point of being part of the culture of the race.

I like the way Danes do cycling, the cycle track is protected from the road by parked cars.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Atyllah says: That Rasmussen is NOT Chicken Man! Tsk!

Vanilla says: I read in today's papers that all the doping may well be the death knell for the 104 year old tour - that would really be sad.

Now, where can I find the dope that will make me into a wildly successful author overnight - writing steroids, I think they're called...

François Brutsch said...

I don't know if you read in "Le Monde" about "l'Autre Tour"? Hope Luke Bream and Guillaume Prébois will be celebrated on Sat on the Champs Elysées! More on my blog.

Verilion said...

Eh apprentice, I didn't that's the point, I went round the block and then bottled out!
The Tour is very disappointing, but if this doping scandal doesn't scupper the tour for good then hopefully it will stop the cheats. I suppose it should be looked at positively that so many people have been caught, but we still don't know who is the winner last year and who's the winner this year? The riders who haven't cheated have been cheated out of a fair race.
Aty: I'm sorry for referring to Rasmussen by that name, but that's what they call him.
Vanilla: Now you keep off the drinks and drugs and cigarettes. They all died young.
And François I'm trying to get to your blog but either blogger isn't working or there's a wee problem with your link.

apprentice said...

Yes, but you tried, that's the point, I wouldn't have even done that!

Verilion said...

That's true, thanks Apprentice. I will have another crack, but like I say in a park. Right now I'm dying after going to the gym for the first time in a month. aaaahhh... I think I'll collapse in front of the Tour now. It should be quite an exciting finish between Cantador and Evans there's just 23 seconds between them.

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