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 !

Jul 1, 2013

Murderous Intent!

Corsica used to be the home of the " Lupra " , sort of a sawn off shotgun ! These days the villains
of Corse use the car ! Simple way to dispose of Cyclists , pull up alongside , shout at them , then flick the wheel to the right , they hit the ground HARD ! Of course not ALL those that ride bikes are associated with the " Society " , variously described in Novels as the " Mafiosa " or " Costra Nostra "!

The 3 Italians riding North on the Main Road from Porte Vecchio towards Bastia , a lady and 2 Men , were heading for their Ferry home from Bastia , perhaps not even aware that the " Le Tour " would be using the same road later in the day .  Both of these men were towing a " Dog Cart " , a trailor attached to the rear wheel forks . So even IF , we are kind to the Villain of the event , and say that he was ASLEEP at the wheel , WHY , should he not be just as culpable of " ATTEMPTED MURDER "?

Getting behind the wheel of a Motor Vehicle , Large OR Small , requires the Driver to pay 100% Attention to the task at hand ! Yes , you see " Cops " riding the Government Issued Motor Bike , with " No Hands " , as i did on Stage 2 , last Sunday ! Yes , he was practicing his " Skills " , to be used in Promotion Displays , BUT , Joe Tourist , or , Mr Local , is not LICENSED , to practice these skills , in fact , i am sure tthey would be invalidating their Insurance , by this behaviour ? NO , you may not EAT at the Wheel , nor may you Smoke whilst operating a vehicle , AND there are Enforceable Laws that Penalise you for using the Telephone whilst moving ! Oh , you think it is OK to Chat whilst Driving , Text whilst Driving ? WHAT SORT OF IDIOT doesn't look at the Road whilst in control of a speeding mass of metal ? TOO MANY , it would seem !

So here are 3 people minding their business , heading up an incline , and along comes " Angry Driver ", mows down the rear man , cuts and bruises and damaged bike ! Cannons at speed into the Woman , who is thrown into the hedge at the side of the road , and narrowly misses the other man ! No doubt that this was deliberate , since the vehicle did not stop !  The following vehicle from Austria , was lucky enough to avoid colliding with the debris strewn on the road !  Further they were kind enough to render assistance and summon emergency services , who were on the scene as i arrived . Little i could do then, as i happened on the scene , just as the " Sapeur Pompiers Ambulance Vehicle " arrived . My contribution was to recommend that the Austrian Vehicle , a Mid Sized van from a well known large Austrian Tirol Transport Company ,  " Ernest Derfeser ( red/green livery , that has a fleet of Vehicles for ALL Aspects of Transport  )" , consider transporting the bikes to dockside in Bastia , since they were going to that area and there was plenty of space in the back .

Emergency vehicles , will normally refuse transporting bikes and leave your property at roadside OR at the mercies of " Well intentioned Locals "!  Who knows how you will be able to return to collect the property , left behind /disgarded , due to the negligent behaviour of those causing the accident situation, in which the victim finds themselves ?

Continuing the " Parcours " i passed a " Fete " on the left hand side of the road , about 26km from the  day's " Arrivee " of the 1st Day " Le Tour " Etappe . As i was riding about 40kph following traffic , i was confronted with a large White vehicle , swinging out of the oncoming lane , into my lane and into my face , then onto my righthand curb , causing me to swing hard into the middle of the road , narrowly missing a collision with a Gendarmerie Vehicle that had been following ! Further along the road , i felt the presence of a vehicle , then thought the Gendarmes were attempting to ask about my riding ! Lo and behold , it is a White Land rover 4x4 , of the classic style ! Mr " Perfect Driver " , is shouting at me ! There is a woman passenger , who winds down her window , then i can hear some sort of angry french patois . The turkey is red in the face , i shrug my shoulders and then he turns right into the kerb , sending me into the grass curb , off the bike and into oblivion . Next thing , i find i am being kicked by a man standing over me ! The woman is pulling his arm , screaming at him as vehicles start arriving . When i get up i try to stop the woman from getting into the vehicle , but she was able to evade me and they took off .

Whilst i am trying to find some paper to write down the Vehicle plate Number , a lady hands me the vehicle details that she has already noted ! An Angel , quick witted enough to record the pertinent details , then i recognise her . " Alexandra " , is the Premier Cycling Commentator for RAI TV . She is essentially the Face of Italian Cycling TV , these days , certainly much more attractive than Davide Cassani , and Auro Buberello, perhaps even more knowledgable also ? With Alexandra organising water , fruit and a chair and some paperwork , i am made to sit at some ease , thinking that ALL will be put to rights ? Several Gendarmerie Vehicles , stop briefly , containing High Rank Officers inquiring as to WHAT has transpired , some speed off with the Vehicle Plate Number and description , one remains , with Junior officers . By this time some of the roadside bystanders have run up with their accounts , of what they have seen . With them is their " Tour Operator Rep ", who is kind enough to take details from Alexandra so that she can continue to the " Arrivee " , to get the Day's RAI TV Show organised .

Trini , the Danish " Rep " , knows her clients and promises to email , all their contact details . Meanwhile another Gendarme arrives with " Official photographer " who films the bike , which one of the bystanders has tried go put back in some semblence of working order . He can't adjust the Broken handle bars , nor fix the broken STI Gear Levers but , at least he tried to help ? The Gendarme , is bulky and wears 2 white diagonal stripes , older and Wiser ? , than his  younger , senior colleagues and sends them on their way .

At this stage the Ambulance that i had refused arrives , they survey the scene and as i am refusing to leave the bike decide that i should fill out the " release form " that allows them to disclaim responsibility . Eventually they apply some disinfectant to the scrapes and bruises . At this point " Mr Officious Gendarme " decided i will ride to the Poretta Gendarmerie with him , there is no room for the bike in his vehicle . He refuses to speak English , so Trini is like a YoYo , with a  back and forth translation . He is getting quite irate , that he is not having his way ! Why would i have to go to the Gendarmerie of this area , to fill out a Report form/ plaint , that can be filled out in Bastia ?  BECAUSE HE SAYS SO ! Well , i explain that , " I have 70 days , according to other , more Senior Officers , to fill out this form . He tells me that it will be 5 months before i can claim on the Insurance , if i DO NOT DO AS HE SAYS ! He is deflated when i tell him that there is NO INSURANCE to be considered , that it is upto the Gendarmerie to apprehend the culprit and his woman , then , and only then , will i be able to recover monies for the damage done ! At this point he says he is going and that if i do not go with him , then i will get no further help ! Seems that he put a spoke in the wheel of the investigation , as will be seen later in this report ?

When i ride into Bastia , i find the last 5 km closed to ALL Traffic , by barriers at each roundabout , controlled by the " CRS of the Police Nationale " , i find that riding up side streets for several kilometres , then rejoining further along gets me into the last 3 km where i ride at speed between the Metal Barricades to about the 500m point . At this point i am well above 45kph in the middle of an empty road , when one of the " lunatics in Green shirts " decides to make a breakneck attempt to stop me ! Quite frankly , i would rather run him down , as i have had abuse from his sort over the past days from his Overweight & obnoxious colleagues , but good sense prevails and apart from adding to the handlebars being further out of alingment , i am brought to a halt , and escorted from the course .

With the remaining section controlled by CRS officers , there is no way of getting back over the fence , so i ride around the outside to the rear area in time to have a chat with Mario Cippolini
and Richard Virenque , who couldn't keep the smirk off his face when JaJa is mentioned . Seems that JaJa , will not be at the " Le Tour " which allows Richard more standing with the Media . Wearing the " Festina Company Shirt " on Saturday tends to suggest me is not working with " Carfours Supermarket " alone this " Le Tour "! Not speaking French , particularly well , i will not really miss hearing JaJa reporting from the Motor Cycle as he has done for many years . Richard was able to recall our riding together on the " Rest Day " , after his Victory on Mont Ventoux , but was unable to commit to a ride during this Tour . No doubt he will ride with the Celebrities on Tuesday before the Team Time Trial in Nice ? Cipo also was equally non committal although he posed for photos . Last year we were riding together at the Giro D'Italia before the ITT .

Having made the rounds of the team Busses searching out a Doctor to tend the wounds , refreshed and watered i headed down to the 100m where there were a bunch of Aussies Flags . Joined with them for a while , then went in search of " Georgethecyclist.blogspot ", whom i had encountered on the road on Wednesday and at the Teams Presentation on Thursday night . He took a shot of Phil Gilbert shaking my hand , with Cadel in the background . George & Vince ( Melbournian from previous years ), said that it looked like Phil was " THRILLED to meet Skippy " , but i think he always makes an effort with the " Punters ", pity about some like the yahoo , known as the sheriff , looks could kill , i would be dead , but then i met him when he was swallowing whatever the team told him to take ! Yeah , and pigs fly ?  Caught up with Dan Martin as he was being interviewed and scored a sour response from the Journo when i called him Chris ( boardman ) , could have been Nick ( boult ) , but they look alike , so since they do not seek me out , who cares ? " Sky lady " , not sure if she is a pretty face for the TV Screen , or has other cred , looks down on what i do for Adaptive sport , as below her dignity to talk to me , but then , each time i see her , she is spending so much time on her appearance , she has little time to think about what is happening around her !

Having found George , i took him back to the area near the Aussies and shortly after the Orica Bus grabbed attention , in a devastating way ! It brought the stage down ! ASO , organisers of the " Le Tour", publish info about the various pieces of equipment on their route , detailing clearances and roads accessabilities , so that the Vehicle drivers KNOW WHERE THEY CAN GO ! Seems that they do not always stick to their agenda , as the front of the Pullman bus scraped through until it came to an emergency halt .

After a few minutes i left my bike with George and went over to tell those that would listen , to let air out of ALL Tyres , to lower the Bus . At first , i was told to mind my business , then i got a Sapeur pompiers Ambulance Guy , to go to the Gendarme Officer i had pointed out , who then got to work organising the emptying the front tyres . When i asked him to deal with the rear tyres there was neither thanks NOR action . Meanwhile pandemonium was reigning supreme as CRS troops were rushed 150 m to the vehicle turnout . They were there to protect the " Minister of Sport " , who travelling with Chris Prudhomme , would be exiting his car , in another location . Had it been Sarkozy or President Hollande, then you could understand the " PANIC STATIONS"!

Having freed the Pullman , as the Racers arrived at the 3km to arrivee placard , on the TV , it was reversed out from under , to about 125m from the finish line , where the barricades were opened , to allow it to drivre forward off the Parcours , to take up spectator space , with the nose metres from where we were standing . Whilst talking to  " Ian, a photo Journo " , on Sunday on the 2nd Etappe Parcours , he described how the Gantry fell on his several Cameras set up at the "Arrivee Linee "! He had spent 10hrs of Saturday there , guarding his various Cameras and spot , thus he looked like a well cooked lobster , as he served me Coffee and Uploaded the photos taken by my Blackberry on Friday , when my Nikon camera had failed to work , as the " Chip Card " was 90%+ complete , thus refusing to take any more photos . This had to happen as i rode with the Radio Shack Team out of Porto and then the Lampre Team back to the Seafront and a stop at a cafe for a spot of Coffee R & R a chat with the Racers .
This photo of Damiano Cunego , is one of the photos that Ian released for me , so that i could tweet it to @dcunego , somewhat later than i had promised on that Friday .

 Now with Bakelandts , taking the Sunday Victory , i do not have the photo that i thought was captured on that ride , bummer !  Thought it was the batteries , fortunately i did not throw them away ! After the race was run , George and i headed out on the Sunday Route , with the CRS making us walk , parts of an EMPTY Road , because they could ! About 15km out of Bastia , i realised we were passing the Poretta Gendarmerie, so George continued on his way on Sunday's route towards Ajaccio , and i went to find the Gendarmerie , which turned out to be located at the Airport .

Only one Officer there , who fortunately spoke English , quite well and was very friendly , whilst ALL his Colleagues were farewelling the Minister of Sport . That was the reason that ALL the Public , could not use those sections of road , closed by the CRS , so that she would not be delayed from catching her PRIVATE JET !  Nice to be a VIP member of the Government ? After about an hour plus , several colleagues reappeared , they all had spent their day working exclusively with " Le Tour " related matters ! It turned out that MY Matter , was being handled by another Gendarmerie Office , so i would have been left kicking my heels whilst the " Le Tour " came and went . HELLO , HELLO , i am the VICTIM !

They did tell me as i set out to pedal something like a hundred plus  kilometres back to the car , that they had apprehended the " Driver of the Vehicle " , but they could not do the " Plaint " at that Office . With ALL modern technology available and the light fading fast , i really began to wonder , whether we will see this MURDEROUS Corsican , get his just deserts  .

Whilst writing this Blogpost , i am waiting for Trini , the danish lady translator of Saturday , to email me the Witness details , promised for Saturday ! Just as well i did not plan on accepting their accomodation offer in Calvi , although their Pizza lunch on Saturday that they shared with me , went down very well . Since the gendarmes left , i have found that i can ride uphill on the bike , in the lower gears , but on the flat , i can fidget with the change up  lever as i do 15kph and with luck get a higher gear , seems to depend on how hot the weather  . Mostly i am riding on the 11 cog with  the option of the 39 or 53 front chainring , but getting off the bike to change up from the 25 cog  is getting a bit annoying .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

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