Friday, February 12, 2016


So this arrived in the mail.

Its arrival wasn't a surprise. Not when my Facebook friends who also rode PBP were posting pictures of their manilla envelopes and its contents soon after delivery. But still. I had that little doubt - that little "what if ..." and "when ..." - that only went away when I finally saw the envelope, saw the stamps from France and felt the heft of the newly delivered package.

The surprise came when I opened the envelope. Opening the brevet card that I carried from Paris to Brest to Paris released an unexpected flood of memories. Memories of walking into controls at all hours of the day and night. Memories of joy, uncertainty, frustration, determination, desperation, exultation. During the ride, my only thought about this card, this little booklet, was DO NOT LOSE IT. No matter what, no matter where, this is your proof of passage. Keep it safe.

Now, opening the booklet months later, long after mission accomplished, I take the time to see its stamps for the first time. Each one is unique. Together they create a passport of a  memorable journey in France. I leaf through the book, watch the video, and polish the medal with my breath and sleeve. For a moment, I relive the dream that was PBP. The package, and it contents, eventually go onto a bookshelf. Perhaps they will go into a frame then again, perhaps not. For now, I look at the trinkets. I remember. 

I plan. 

There's always another ride.


  1. Agree the brevet card is maybe the best memento of the event. Very wise of the ACP to provide us with the lanyard and waterproof pouch for the card. In my sleep-deprived state, I'm just glad that I did not forget to get the card signed/stamped. About the magazine or brochure: I was very impressed how the towns hosting controls honestly assessed their performance and vowed even better work next time. 2019 is on my mind. PBP #L008.

  2. I know what you mean. I did have a moment of "separation anxiety" when I had to turn in my brevet card at the finish line. Even though I did snap a pair of photos of the stamped pages before I gave it up, still, I hadn't actually held the card and looked at it during the ride, it was still a work in progress and unfinished business, until it was finished... then it was gone from my hands. To hold it now, to see the stamps and the handwriting of the times, is so special. I guess I should go and dig out my other three and time-travel...

    Mark Beaver L013

  3. I got two great souvenirs that day. Of course, the memory filled brevet card and I also received my birthday gift from my wife and son-a wonderfully bound photo album of our trip to Paris including my bike inspection, building the bike, the start, and photos of a memorable finish where they wisely brought me a long sleeve wool jersey.

    I have never done such a thing but I think last year's brevet trinkets deserve to be all put together in a frame or something so I can stare at them and dream the dream in my soon approaching senior years.

    I actually can't wait for 2019.

    Ed B (560)

  4. Your post makes me smile. Thanks for that. Those momentos are worth treasuring.