Thiers, Puy de Dôme, May 10 th 2013
” Band of Brothers” is the title of a famous book by Stephen Ambrose that tells the story of E company, a group of American paratroopers during WWII, who jumped over Normandy on June , 1944 and fought through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany until the end in Mai 45. During these dreadful fights half of these men were killed, injured and shell shocked. They came from all over the US, all social backgrounds and walks of life but forged during their ordeals a solidarity, camaraderie and friendship that lasted untill they died.
It would of course be far overstreched to compare our rides to what these brave men endured, but even if thousand times more modest, our experience as a group as something in common with theirs: we fight an enemy, hills and physical exertion. We share basic food that our calory-greedy organisms gulp down in a wink. We come from different places, cultures, professions. We talk about our families and loved ones. We tell bawdy jokes. We think of what we are going to do when the ride is over. Just like the guys of E company used to do, as they were dug on their foxholes during endless hours. And like them, sharing the same experience creates ties and solidarity that bind us for a long time.
End of the comparison. Regardless, I am happy to say, as our countries celebrate like every year in Mai the end of WWII, that from our saddle on the backroads of beautiful France, we thank these millions of men and women of “the Great Generation” who fought and died to allow us enjoying the utmost liberty : ride a bike freely, breathe freely a free air in the most beautiful nature and enjoy life and liberty, camaraderie and friendship. Thanks, Band of Brothers of yesterday and today!