Roger Tubby and the Tour de France

Howard Riley and Roger Tubby (who was also President Harry Truman’s last press secretary) sit in a briefing room three stories below ground in the six-story Strategic Air Command (SAC) Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska in 1990. There were 40 North Country ‘big-shots’ who flew out to Omaha as the guests of the U.S. Air Force General Tom Tobin (ret.) former Commander of the SAC base in Plattsburgh. [Gen. Tobin had served as a fighter pilot in Vietnam.] Mr. Harris later mailed me the photo, which we had no idea he had taken, with his note visible at the top left of the photo. Just to name a couple of others on the trip — Paul Maroun, Steve Erman, Christina Lussi, Clyde Rabideau and another good friend, Tom Doty, father of North Elba Supervisor Derek Doty. (Provided photo)

How in the heck did Roger Tubby, Enterprise owner and publisher, get into the Tour de France?

Let me tell you, quite by accident; or better yet, let Roger tell you.

I was again searching though the Enterprise files in the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library when Roger’s story pops up (August 1987) and then the Enterprise (November 1975) has a story about my friend Assemblyman Glenn Harris.

I swear, a week earlier, as I was going through my own files which I have labeled, “Junk and Disorderly,” there is a picture taken by Glenn Harris of myself and Roger Tubby sitting in the briefing room of the Strategic Air Command Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. More about that in a minute.

Roger wrote an Enterprise column titled “Random Tales.” He was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Mission in Switzerland when he wrote the following, including the title:

First in the Tour De France?

“A Sunday afternoon and this Ambassador got on his bicycle. I was wearing an old T shirt, slacks, sneakers and a Saranac Lake baseball cap.

“I pedaled northwest out of Geneva, the jagged snow-covered Alps behind me, the long forested range of the Jura Mountains ahead and beyond pleasant pastures bedecked with wild flowers and musical with the sound of cow bells.

“The narrow dirt road I was on crossed the border into France, the small customs stations on each side was manned by a couple of officers. Not much for them to do. It was like some small North Country border crossing into Canada.

“During World War Two with German tanks, troops and guns on the French side, the Swiss had concrete bunkers scattered just back of the border. They intended to make a Nazi invasion as costly as possible. The Nazis never tested them.

“I rode several miles, turned left on a straight two-lane macadam road and was surprised to see people sitting or standing atop the high banks on either side.

“Some shouted to me in French, ‘Allez-vous-en,’ or something like that; ‘Get off the road!’

“Suddenly I heard a high whiney behind me and and loudspeakers blaring. I looked back. My God, two or three hundred yards away and coming up fast were cyclists crouched low over handlebars, their legs churning. A bicycle race! The famous Tour de France?

“There seemed no space on either side for me to get out of the way of bikes, support trucks, TV and press vans.

“I put my head down and peddled as fast as I could in search of an opening in the high banks. The road dipped down into a tiny village. There was a dense crowd around the fountain in the small square. I was leading the pack! But not by much, my speed maybe 20 to 25 miles per hour, theirs forty or fifty miles per hour.

“Cheers, catcalls, curses. The loudspeakers seemed right on top of me. Gendarmes with their white gloves blew whistles and waved their arms frantically. I veered wildly to the right through an opening in the crowd, and skidded and fell into a barnyard.

“Picked up, brushed off, I turned to glimpse the swift, smooth pack, like some long huge centipede on wheels, flash by and be gone, with hundreds of miles before the finish in Paris.”

I believe cyclists will get a kick out of this story. Especially my friends Dave Kaufman and his son Seth who are right up there near the front of the pack … well no, not that pack … but I know Dave has cycled in the Adirondacks and Seth has cycled around places in Europe.

Mr. Harris, Ms. Sawaya wed

“Lake Pleasant — Beverly Sawaya, executive secretary of the Adirondack Park Agency Local Government Review Board, and Assemblyman Glen Harris (R-Canada Lake) were married Saturday afternoon in a small private ceremony in Chapel-by-the-Lake here.

“Commenting on the wedding announcement, written by Thomas Poster, in Sunday’s New York Daily News which called her the former deputy commissioner for the Department of Commerce and said; ‘The couple helped put together the agency responsible for keeping the Adirondacks ‘forever wild.’ Mrs. Harris said: ‘Thomas Poster must have gotten confused. Glenn and I have worked on the amendment to the original bill, and I was never with commerce. I was briefly with the Department of Environmental Conservation. He must have written that late at night.'”

President testifies

“Sacramento, Calif. (UPI) — President Ford’s unprecedented testimony that he heard no ‘click’ when Lynetee Fromme thrust a pistol at him could help her defense fight the charge she attempted to kill the chief executive, her attorney said.

“Attorney John Virga was to make his opening statement to the eight-woman, four-man jury and call the first of his ‘live’ witnesses today in the trial of Miss Fromme, 27, a red-haired follower of convicted mass murderer Charles Manson.”

[Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme was found guilty of attempting to assassinate President Ford, sentenced to life in prison, served 34 years, and was paroled in August 2009.]


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