TOUR BLOG: TALES FROM THE BROOMWAGON PART 1
The story so far – Friday, June 30
ALL ABOARD! Ding-ding. Next stop, Strasbourg. Having picked up the Broomwagon – a seven-berth Fiat Granduca 67 from Ostende on Tuesday, our epic month-long trek round France, attempting to cover the Tour de France from a mobile home, began.
Behind the wheel it seems like a huge behemoth – a menace on the road, wide, long and the sort of thing that should say in a calm female voice ‘Warning! This vehicle is reversing’ whenever you go backwards.
Then, when you come to bed down for the night, or boil some water on the stove for a cup of coffee-in-a-bag or, heaven forbid, use the shower that must have been designed for jockeys and Colombian cyclists you wonder – where has all that space gone?
But let’s not complain. It’s been great so far. After a less-than-luxurious stop-over at a Belgian service station south of Namur, we checked in to a pleasant little camping site in Wasselonne, about 18 kilometres from Strasbourg centre.
The only let-down so far is that the TV doesn’t work. Quite how we’re actually going to watch the Tour de France is anyone’s guess at the moment but we feel akin to the early pioneers of cycling journalism who wrote great poetic accounts of action they couldn’t have possible seen.
Of course the mood around the team hotels is rather muted this morning but why should we let that spoil our enjoyment of the race, the wine or the cheese – the odour of which seems to have the ability to pentrate the walls of our on-bus fridge. These riders won’t be here in 10, 15 years time but the Tour will be.
If you are heading to France for a weekend or just a day trip and you see our Cycling Weekly, Cycle Sport-branded Broomwagon, don’t hesitate to drop in and tell us what’s happening in the race, offer us a beer or snack or just chew the fat for a while. We’ll try to keep you updated as we go.
Your correspondent has the bus to himself now colleague Simon Richardson has headed home but Edward Pickering will be getting his ticket punched by the conductor on Sunday ready to head north to Holland before turning left to Brittany.
So far the chemical toilet has been unused. Let’s keep it that way.