PARRABUDDY.BLOGSPOT was started to help find a way for “Adaptive / Physically Challenged / Paralympic Cyclists ” to enjoy riding their bikes on the Daily Route of the famous Pro Tour Race Routes such as the “ Giro d’Italia " and the " Tour de France " !

Through lack of support i have been unable to achieve that goal and unless people decide to assist there is little chance that my 19th season will be any more successful !

London 2012 Paralympics was amazing for ALL , not just those participating but those who followed via the Media !

Since 2009 several other Blogs have been created to cover various other subjects !

Below is a guide to their separate purposes :

In the main Parrabuddy is about “Adaptive / Physically Challenged Sport” and Health Issues.

Skippi-cyclist is about personal issues and Road Safety Issues.

SkippyAus is about matters relating to Oz and some personal memories from my life there.

Tourdafarce & Tourdafrance are about matters relating to the Pro Tour , Racers and some personal experiences during my various visits to ride the Pro Tour routes .

Skippy (blogging) is about a variety of issues on the Internet .

NOT ALL postings arrive in their correct area but I will generally try to separate my views on Doping and Sporting Fraud from Road Safety Issues .

Comments ARE WELCOMED since this shows that those reading are interested in the subject matter ! Enjoy comments made to other blogs so wonder why only " anonymous " posts here !

Over the period of these "Blogs" I have had visibility on Twitter as “Skippydetour” and on Facebook as “Skippy Mc Carthy” where Google usually advise postings on the Blogs as they occur .

When any of you visit these Blogs I hope I am able to add value to your day and provide a source of information if not inspiration . Please consider asking your friends and contacts to add their support as many of the Para Athletes are struggling to find the resources to compete in Events at regional Levels let alone National Levels .

You the reader have the possibility to help these Amazing Athletes in your own way and contacting your National Paralympic Internet Site for relevant info is a good start !

Jan 10, 2010


When I first started riding the “Grand Tours” in 1998 I had little idea of who was who, certainly I knew of “Miguel Indurain, Eddie Merckx and Chris Boardman. I had of course seen “Tour de France” on Channel 4 or BBC sport but my sports at that time were Skiing, Sailing, Kayaking, Rowing, Tennis and Swimming. In a sports quiz I would have been hard pressed to name the principle cycle races let alone the current winners and naming the past winners would have been beyond my expertise.

Riding Richmond Park as training in 1998 I would have had names tossed at me and I would have blanked. The first time I rode with Peter Haining as an example it was a surprise to me when I found out who he was. World champion rowers do not carry signs with them and so it was that people would say to me “do you know who you were riding with just before” frequently as they were regular park visitors and I was the new boy on the block.

As previously mentioned in other Blogs I would ride with the teams on rest days and at times I would have cuttings of team lists with me so as to see who was who. On rest days the racer number is still there on the bike and if you are lucky you also see the name on the bike, but otherwise you can be clueless as to who is being kind enough to find the English to practice it on you. Many of the current stars would have been patient with me in those days and I have no doubt that I occasionally still mix up the names of the racers. Maximillian Codol let me make this mistake for several seasons as I always addressed him as “Alex Camerzind”, not a great deal of difference in team kit but shape and facial features are quite different. Max was quite gracious in taking me aside to tell me rather than doing it in front of the team.

Lampre team call me “Johnny” and I am not sure where the joke started but there was a mechanic by that name who was always getting ribbed by his elders. Whichever tour I was at as I arrived the call would go up “Johnny” and the place would breakup in laughter. Occasionally Johnny would not be on the roster so someone would pull their mobile phone and make a call and pass it to me to speak to the other party. Most of the time I don’t know who I am talking to as they are speaking Italian and I am able to understand “caio and dopo” and a few other words but a conversation is completely beyond me. Hospitality is the key word with these guys and they have treated me like royalty on many occasions. Thanks Guys !

Fondriest was the bike supplier to Lampre in 1998 and for several years after, so I came to know both Francesco and Maurizio quite well. I was always welcomed at the factory and shop with coffee and sandwiches. Several seasons I was provided with a frame starting with a Lampre team alloy frame, then an Aluminium Molven and finally a Carbon frame. Each time we made the change the work in the factory would stop and the bike was built up in front of me thus I came to know a fair bit about bike repairs and the quickest way to fix a problem on the side of the road. Since the factory has closed I do all my own work although I still visit the experts on the teams for advice if there is something of serious concern.

In past Blogs I have mentioned the many courtesies extended to me over the years by Team Personnel. Each of these people have their own personality and as some teams will have as many as four tours going on in the same time frame, there are occasions when I do not see some people from one year to another. The racers move around the teams and that gets into the cycling news, but when they move there will also be a change in the team support staff. Working with the teams are the relatives of some of the racers and when the brother or nephew moves on so in some cases does the relative. Many of the support staff are former racers from the road and also track .

The photo is of Valentin, chauffeur extraordinaire, was at Once when I first met him , then at Discovery, next at Astana and my guess is this season he will be with Radio Shack. There was at Kelme a Spanish World champion cyclist but although he later worked for Phonak and continued to help me in any way he could , I never was able to get the whole story because of language problems. These guys are really amazing as they live in the present and rarely do you get to hear about their past successes.

Fabian Jeker retired several years ago and now owns a cycle business in Spain but arrives at the Tour de Suisse where he ferries VIP guests along the daily route. At the Giro d’Italia you find Francesco Moser,Gianni Motta and Maurizio Fondriest cycling with guests on behalf of a Bank owned by Italy’s richest man, Prime Minister Berlusconi,not seen him at the Giro but met him in “Casa Italia” at Torino 2006. Davide Cassani and Paulo Bettini work together with Auro Bubborelli on the RAI TV program. Gianni Bugno flies a TV helicoptor and there are a wealth of other retired cycling talent working around the “Giro d‘Italia”. Tony Rominger was on the management of Tour de Suisse for several years .Bernard Hinault is management at the Tour de France. Of course the Teams’ management is loaded with former racers Felice Gimondi and Bjarne Riijs amongst them.

Every tour has a variety of Media personnel with “Expert Commentators” the majority of whom come out of road racing. So people like Raymond Poulidor whilst he is the Face of Credit Lyonaise Bank will laise with TV3 at the tour. Richard Virenque will act on behalf of “Carrefours Supermarkets some of the day and be on TV for a French channel the rest of the day. Laurent Jalabert again is on Radio, on the motorbike commentating during the race and then on the Stage TV program at the arrival, if not also later in the evening. David Duffield came out of riding Tricycles, David Harmon and Sean Kelly from riding bikes; and so it goes on. Sharing the German TV lunch table at the Tour I would find myself alongside Rudi Aldig Rudi Pevenage or Michael Rich and a variety of other guests.

In the back area of these Tours the Hospitality area would host guests from other sports and at the Giro I have met “Alex Zanardi(hoping he will be at the Giro TT again this year), Stephano Baldini(met him at Casa Italia in Athens) and Rosa Motta(met her in Athens torch relay). At the Tour the Guest List is stellar so will leave that subject for now.

Every team has experts attached for training purposes and as an example look at Columbia with Eric Zabel, Rolf Aldag and Alan Peiper . Cippolini works with an Italian team when not involved in his other persuits. Bjarne Riijs regularly rides with his team. On the rest days I have found myself riding along side Pullman chauffeurs and team chefs some of whom are retired racers. Each year the Tour has a celebrity ride on the morning of the Time trial, usually I manage to get invited in by some of these riders but after a while a Tour Official will take umbrage and ask me to leave, this year it was Captain Eric who both times was able to give me the heave-ho, he is not easily recognised in cycling gear but this was the first chance to ride alongside Bernard Hinault. Somewhere in group there was Laurent Fignon who is suffering cancer at present.

The Tour of Romandie is a race I look forward to as in past years it has a Time Trial Course which the Ladies come to race on. It is always a pleasure to see the likes of Jeannie longo ,Onone Woods, Sara Carrigan and Kerstin Armstrong outside the World Road Races. The only other chances have been at the Olympics at Athens when I was allowed to ride Official training when the roads were closed. One of the brits remarked that they had spent a billion on security and there I was riding with the athletes without hassle. At this time I have yet to visit a Ladies Road Race to see the contrast between how the men’s and women’s races are supported.

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