Yes, I am aware that Lance Armstrong is no longer riding in the Tour de France. Yes, I am aware that he is, in fact, retired. (And yes, I am aware and inconsolable that he and Sheryl Crow broke up.) But celebrity appeal draws readers. And if you’re reading this, then it worked! Yes!

Today’s On the Ball is not to be confused with Grist‘s similarly-named Full Disclosure on sustainability and soccer — World Cup is so two weeks ago. (And seeing as none of us appear to have bragging rights on last month’s wagers, ’tis high time to move on.)Despite biking being decidedly not a ball sport, I feel I can justify talking about the Tour de France in a sports column called On the Ball — in a “Wow, biking for 2,241 miles? That guy’s got balls” kind of way.

Biking is, in and of itself, a green pursuit, utilized by many who have eschewed cars in favor of two-legged transportation. But I leave the everyday-rider reporting to Todd, and focus on the definitely-not-everyday-rider Tour de France, which started July 1 and ends this Sunday, July 23.

The Tour is an environmentally happy shebang not only because of all the two-wheeling, but because it is following the guidelines of the International Cycling Union (UCI) Cycling and Environment Charter.

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In this document, the UCI has in particular committed itself to taking into account environmental criteria when evaluating bid files for the organisation of UCI events, to make National Federations and their partners aware of the problems with the protection of the environment and sustainable development and to support the promotion of the bike as an ecological means of transport.

There are seven rules in the charter, covering everything from building facilities that can be used again, to attention to energy, materials, and waste management.

Very cool. You know, they asked me to be in the Tour de France, but I figured, with global warming and all, traveling by air from Seattle to France probably isn’t the best idea. Plus I haven’t ridden a bike in a decade. So I turned them down. To those of you in similar situations, might I suggest riding along from home? I’m pretty sure they’ll just mail you the yellow jersey.

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