Once again it is July and I am watching cycling, even though I don’t own a bike or ride one. As far as Tour fans go, I am not the sort who really knows or cares who’s who. Nor I am the sort who would stand on the side of some meandering road in the French countryside, madly waving a flag at a given rider as they zoomed by. Me? I’m more like the folks who spread out their picnic blankets and lounge in the sun, taking a sip of this and a nibble of that as they think “Oh…well, what do you know? Cycling. Must be nice exercise.”

Still, I can’t deny that it takes a special breed of person to train that hard and be that dedicated to killing themselves on all manner of terrain for the better part of a month. And this year’s Tour, with all its crashes and drama, has definitely left me wondering how many riders will coast into Paris this coming Sunday with their lives and limbs intact (Hm. Sounds like graduate school, come to think of it).

Could it be that I’m becoming hooked, a real fan? On a few occasions recently, I’ve heard myself say to friends and family “You know, we should really see the Tour de France in France next year and not wait for the late night recaps on Versus. Wouldn’t that be so much fun?” This bright idea has been met with a mixture of skepticism and enthusiasm.

To the enthusiasts in the bunch, I say thank you. Next year will be a very good year.

To the skeptics, I say come on. Live a little.

Meanwhile, this year I will do what I normally do — watch the final day from the comfort of my own home and daydream about what it must be like to take that triumphant ride into the City of Light. I will probably attempt some nonsense like this again and then later, when it’s quiet, I’ll work some more on this. I’m pushing hard, uphill, doing my level best to be well past the finish line this time next year. But enough about that…

Here are a few other ways you can get a French fix this summer:

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