Tour de France | Déja vu

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21 Days of Cycling Art | 2018 Tour de France

Here I go again! The Tour de France is just weeks away and I’m deep in the final planning stages. I’m training on and off my bike to carry my 20 pound Art Pack, aka – “The Brick”. Things are moving ahead as they should but nothing is the same – even though everything feels exactly the same.


Déja vu.

For starters the Tour de France goes clockwise this year, starting on the west coast of France. Last year started in the east and went all ziggy-zaggy from what I recall. Which isn’t much because I never had to drive. No, Keith did all the driving last year, and now he’s not coming — I have a new MOHO pilot, Gary or Bender for short, which is longer but he answers to Bender mostly. Like the robot. Anyway, you’ll see lots of pictures of Bender, driving, riding and eating his way across France chasing the peloton.

Another big change this year is Harm Job isn’t coming! Yikes, who will make my amazing cheese and pickle sandwiches? Who will buy all the great beers? My liver will thank me but I fear I might starve. But while Harm won’t be in the France Motorhome Hire MOHO he’ll always be available online for me, tweeting, Instagraming and Facebooking as only he can.


The Route. A new approach.

Last year we moved the MOHO 18 out of 21 days because the Tour de France route was all over the place. This year I’ve planned for us to move 9 times out of 21 days with longer bike rides to start and finish towns. I can do this because the route is more grouped in local areas. In fact our first four days are in one campsite with bike rides to race locations from 50km to 10km, to just a walk away.

The Grand Départ is a perfect example. We will camp near Cholet when we arrive in France. On Stage 1 we will ride our bikes to the finish town of Fontenay Le-Comte, 50km away. An amazing way to start the trip. Stage 2, we’ll intersect the tour route in Tiffauge, a walled city about 30km from camp. And on Stage 3, we’ll roll in to Cholet at our leisure to watch the Team Time Trials before we move the MOHO to our second campsite 2 hours away.

This type of planning means more riding bikes and less driving! A welcome change from last year. It even means I’ve built in extra time to ride cobbles in Roubaix, suffer the Alpe d’Huez and climb the Col du Tourmalet. All three big bucket list ticks for me and Bender, let’s hope we have legs for it.


What is the same.

What will be very much the same is that I’ll be drawing every day during the entire trip. I’ll post the drawings for sale along with videos and pictures much the same as last year. If you want one, buy it, last year 56 of 62 drawings sold, I’m looking for a sellout this year.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll have many more details to attend to, much like last year. The difference being last year I knew nothing and we just jumped in with both feet and survived. This year I’m making plans based on experience, only time will tell which route will hold the better outcome.

Everything will seem the same, only it will be very different. That’s déja vu.


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Michael Valenti is "The Veloist" - He is an avid cyclist and artist known for his Cycling Art work. Each year Michael chases the Pro Peloton at the Tour de France and other major cycling events. He is available for event and corporate cycling related projects as well as personal commissions for art.

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