Other Recent Articles

Christopher Strong Bicycle Gourmet – Born at the Right Time – Part One


Christopher Strong Bicycle Gourmet – Born at the Right Time – Part One

Paul is dead. But I have his glass. The one he toasted the Mexican sunset with on his seaside porch. It’s not your standard issue. Like Paul. Unlike the classic Whiskey tumbler only thick on the bottom, Paul’s glass is thick all over. Rounded edges. A kalidescope of colors. With air bubbles happily spiralling upward. Indented on all four sides. As if it”s creator somehow held it while molten, leaving the impressions of his thumb and fingers.

Bottom line: beauty and utility. Aristry and practicality. Perfectly reflecting the sensibilities of it’s owner. An artist. Who happened also to be an architect. And Although He was retired when I met him, Paul still drew every day. Because, as you may understand, artists can’t stop expressing themselves. Whether they get paid or not.

Paul’s last architectural project was his vacation home. A retreat as artistic and practical as his Whiskey glass. A circular plan totalling 3000 sq. ft. With an open circular courtyard. All rooms facing it, and on one side, the (often) blue Pacific. On the other, the silent desert tumbling into the mountains beyond. it was in those mountains that Paul harvested Black Palm for the house. Now illegal to protect it from total deforestation.But Paul was there at the right time. As he was for many other things in his life.

It was because of this house that I came to know Paul. My first contact was with his son-in-law, Denis (“Den-ee”,the french pronounciation) a vigneron. Whose wine found it’s way to my table regularly. And I, because of his great hospitality, found my way often to his table. And the exceptional cuisine of his wife, Michelle.

At one of those exceptional evenings, I was fortunate to meet Paul and his wife Bettina. This was,as the saying goes, a “May December” marriage. With Paul, at 83, being December. The second marriage for both. I got the impression they “got along”, but that this union was not the great love of either. But, then again,(happily!) I’m not a marriage counsellor.

One morning I got a call from Denis.Could I come over for lunch? You know the answer, dear reader, do you not? Bettina was there – but not Paul.I wasn’t puzzled by his absence, as Paul was more active at 83 than most men of 38. (I later learned He was – without being asked – digging fence post holes for a neighbour!) Bettina had a favor to ask of me. Paul would soon be going to Mexico to remodel the house prior to putting it on the market. Would I go along to “keep an eye on him?” You’re ahead of me already –aren’t you?

Part Two – Next Time

Christopher Strong Bicycle Gourmet – on Soul Source Music?

Christopher Strong Bicycle Gourmet – on Soul Source Music?

What in hecks name is the Bicycle Gourmet, your non-snobby guide to French Travel, food and wine doing on a music site?

Well, for those of you who haven’t been following my exotic French life and adventures, I am also a professional pianist.

Thanks to many pre-teen years of parentally forced practicing. Before school. After school. On weekends. Yes, Dear Franchophile, it was torture of the highest order. (“Musical waterboarding.”)

My mother(a good amateur pianist) was the prison warden.
It was she who shipped me off to “teachers” of varying quality. (One whose method of signaling you’d made a mistake, was to rap your fingers with a steel edged ruler.)

But, happily, I finally managed to satisfy my captors, and dove into the ocean of uninstructed ivory tinkling possibilities.

Which, finally has resulted in 5 piano CD’s.

The Sorcier.   No Borders. Sail On.  Roses in December. The Healing Gift.
And one with Guitar AND piano. And strings. And woodwinds. Yes, a musical “buffet of flavors.”

There is a message to this self-indulgent rank. Addressed(primarily) to young pianists. It is the one that is hardest to accept. But, if you can accept it, you will eventually thank the warden of your musical prison.

That message is: “Don’t Quit

Wishing you great Musical adventures. (Playing AND listening.)


Christopher Strong Bicycle Gourmets Treasures of France Newsletter

Christopher Strong Bicycle Gourmets Treasures of France Newsletter…

is HERE.

And the “big news” is it’s new/improved/value packed with Frenche info.
And the reason is : I have two French contibutors:

Chef Andre le Grand

and Sommelier Jean-Luc Laurent.

Because – while I “know” a thing or three about many things frenche after surfing the French country backroads for a zillion and a half years, I’m not an expert on two of the most Internationally famous French wonders – Food and Wine.

Alors – time to bring on the experts.

Every two weeks, I’ll be giving you the under the radar lowdown, from my been-there-done-that-still-doing-it backroads travels. Stylin’ you with my personal finds that aren’t in the guidebooks.

And, as you would expect; Andre will be helping you take your French cuisine to a “haute” level.

Ditto Jean-Luc with picks from his personal wine vine. In all three varities: Red. White. And Rosè.

And did I mention, it’s free?
Ditto these 44 pages of French Goodness.

ClICK HERE for your first issue.

I’ll see you on the inside

Sig cleaner 1 Reduced

Life is either a great adventure – or nothing.
-Helen Keller –