They don’t teach *that* in journalism school!

29 Aug

Ahhh, it’s like the ol’ clipboard trick, but with a twist!” said an enthusiastic  Jay after hearing about my first day in Paris. I stared at him blankly. After an awkward interval, he explained that one of his journalism professors at Columbia (in 1994), suggested that an intrepid reporter could gain access to her/his target by “carrying a clipboard and walking with an air of authority.”

Ahhh. Yes,” I smiled. “That’s it. That’s it, exactly — but, like you said, with a twist…”

So, if you want to poach your way into the Tour de France VIP Grandstands *and* into an after-party where you do a shot of vodka with the pros, here’s my FREE, 10-step Masters-level seminar on how to do so:

1.  Wear a cute dress

[Sub-1: Be a girl]

2.  Adorn yourself with multiple cameras around your neck and over your shoulders and have a yellow jersey tied around your satchel

3.  While wandering aimlessly around the periphery of the Jardine de la Nouvelle France, keep your eyes peeled for people wearing TdF Grandstand Access lanyards. Bonus points if you find a lanyard wearer who also happens to be a girl in a cute dress. Extra bonus points if she’s accompanied by a non-lanyard-wearing friend who’s also wearing a cute dress.

4.  Follow them closely (but not too closely) so that once the lanyard wearer succeeds in charming the security guard you can follow the other girl as if you were part of the pack — then disappear immediately into the throngs milling about behind the Grandstands.

5.  When you encounter additional security guards checking for tickets at the foot of each Grandstand section, DON’T PANIC. Adopt an air of Parisian nonchalance. Meander. Be attentive. Look for openings and opportunities.

6.  When a little old lady trips and falls and a security guard rushes to her aid, you’re golden!  Up into the Grandstands you go!


7.  When you realize it’s only 6:00pm and the guys aren’t expected for another 3+ hours and it’s ~95° but you don’t want leave your seat to find some shade or a drink because you’re afraid you might not be able to poach your way back into the stands again, DON’T PANIC. Eventually the lovely Vitel Water ladies will come by and cool you off, and in the Grandstands, they also prowl the aisles to distribute ice cold water bottles in a more genteel fashion. And you needn’t worry about having to leave your seat to pee — you’ll just sweat it all out anyways. Sit calmly. Read. Put on your yellow jersey = instant respect.

8.  After you’ve taken about 350 photos of little skinny guys flying up and down the Champs-Elysees on their bicycles and the race is over and you’re back among the masses in the  Jardine de la Nouvelle France, look for people wearing Press credentials. Stick to them like glue and keep a camera stuck to your face, too. Click your way into the Team Bus Zone. 

9.  Freelance your way through multiple layers of bike porn. Click, click, click.

10.  When a dude loses his balance while sitting on the rails that separate Team Katusha from the throngs, access the Russian part of your brain to say “Будьте осторожны” (be careful) as you help him re-stabilize.

And there you have it! This type of VIP TdF package is (apparently!) normally valued at £479 (i.e., $745US), but as a loyal JustAdventures follower, I offer it to you for FREE!

Yup. Just follow those 10 steps and you, too, can do a shot of vodka with Team Katusha as they welcome you into their enclave to celebrate the conclusion of next year’s Tour de France.

Of course, it won’t be the 100th Anniversary of the Tour, but that kind of 100% perfect, once-in-a-lifetime event could only happen to your 100% clueless, aimless, hapless, lucky-assed JustAdventure leader.

Parting Thought: Everything in life is luck. ~Donald Trump

PS — The TdF /First-day-in-Paris pictures are mixed up in the album that accompanied last week’s blog post.  You can access them HERE — they start on the 7th row of the album. And if you’re an über-bike-junkie, you can check out my video clips of the wild, fast, and furious final sprint as it unfolded in front of me and the much more leisurely frolic enjoyed by Froome The Mantis and the rest of Team Sky as they approached the finish line.

3 Responses to “They don’t teach *that* in journalism school!”


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    […] witnessing bicycle-based miracles in Europe. Also, I hang out with the Tour de France pros and VIPs and then follow that up with some crazy epic not-safe-for-the-blog adventures in London and […]

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