Thoughts on the Tour de France
By Deborah Bernard
My dear husband just retired from 32 years in the oilfield. I left with him, to begin the next chapter of our life. Plus we wanted to see if there really was “Life After Deadhorse.”
The people of the oilfield gave us an incredible sendoff. There was a party with two cakes and Felix’s wonderful h’ors doevres. There were stories and lots of laughs as we shared memories. There were cards and gifts. A baleen boat from Stevie and Gary that Joe cherishes. And….cash! These generous folks took up a collection for us!
We were thrilled, kind of embarrassed, but happy. We decided that we wanted to do our friends proud and buy something significant with their cash. Not just a case of expensive champagne, but something symbolic of newfound freedom.
So we are proud owners of two Raleigh 21-speed bikes. His and hers. Of course we bought the helmets, too.
But. We hadn’t rode bikes for over 30 years. We had been avid bicyclists when we lived in Carson City, Nevada, before our oilfield career began. But, our bikes were stolen, one at a time, and we never replaced them.
So now we are learning to ride bikes all over again. Joe noticed something strange:
He asked, “Is this a sign of old age? When I ride my bike around the neighborhood, people say things to me like,
“Awww, that’s great!”
“Are you okay?”
"God bless you!"
“Are you training for the Tour de France? Well, it's just great that you're out there!"
Since the Tour de France is going on right now, Joe thought this comment was a little more appropriate. "The frenetic first 60 km of the 158 km from Belfort claimed another casualty as Olympic road race champion Samuel Sanchez briefly lost consciousness after hitting his head in a crash," we read on the BBC Sport website. So of course we do not ride without our helmets.
Joe is happy to be biking, and yet he is quite sure that nobody would've made such comments to him when he was in his 40's.
George Burns said there are three ages of men:
Middle Age. And,
"You look good!"
Joe is afraid that there are three stages of bicyclists:
"You kids be careful on the road!" (Youth)
"If you're zipping down to the store, pick me up some cheese, can you?" (Middle Age) and
"God bless you! It's so great you're still riding!" (Old Age)
But he's determined to keep riding until people stop saying such things.
Is it getting any easier? No, but it's not getting any harder. So he will take
that victory in the spirit of Lance Armstrong and keep on riding every day.
With gratitude in his heart for the generosity of the people of Prudhoe Bay.