My summer vacation
(FORTUNE Magazine) -- Having recently explored the options available to the busy executive for summer relaxation, I was at a loss, I don't mind telling you.
I've sort of tried it all. I don't really play golf - I mean, I have played golf, but I don't play golf per se, if you know what I mean. Ditto for tennis, only more so.
I have sat on beaches and trekked to the far-flung corners of the world, a maxi-chipped digital SLR by my side with a big zoom lens protruding like an elephant's snout.
All of it has been fine, but while "been there, done that" may be acceptable 50 weeks a year, it doesn't really cut it during getaway time. Vacations should be something special, transformational, gustatory, sexy, and fun.
Let's look at the metrics of what's required from the experience.
First, it must be away. By "away" I mean "not reachable by ordinary means."
That used to be easier. With the advent of cellular and digital ubiquity, the world is too much with us, late and soon.
That can be disastrous to the determined escapist. In fact, I have developed a mathematical concept by which the effect of office intrusion on the vacating state of mind may be measured.
I have dubbed it, naturally, Bing's Law"!
It says, quite simply, that for every minute of intrusion into the vacationer's mental bandwidth, it will take an hour to reestablish recreational equanimity.
A relaxer who receives a five-minute phone call from the boss in the middle of a bucolic Napa wine country hegira, will, according to Bing's Law"!, require five full hours to get back into the proper vacationary mindset.
That means going far away, where time zones and bad technology make anything but the most urgent communication impossible. "Get to me through my sherpa" may be what's necessary.
All right - overseas.
But then there's the problem that Americans find excessive interface with our global counterparts anything but relaxing.
Everywhere you go there are people who are not American and who don't understand why we need to charge our iPods every morning, or why chilling a beverage doesn't mean putting one lone hairy ice cube in it.
What we want, therefore, is an experience that is both foreign and insulated, that enables us to exercise our bodies while maintaining a protected zone around ourselves that we, as businesspeople, favor above all things.
That is why I announce today the first Stationary Bicycle Tour of Europe. The idea is simple. Bicycle tours are fun, but they involve many obnoxious variables. This takes care of all that.
We begin the first Stationary Bicycle Tour of Europe on the outskirts of Paris along with those who have signed up for a "regular" bike tour and are setting off for the Loire Valley by some adorable byway or other.
Behind them is a large flatbed truck on which these poor, puffing wayfarers will throw their wheels if it rains or if there is a stopover or if someone is injured. The flatbed is where we place our stationary bicycle.
I have chosen a Reebok RB 345 Recumbent Exercise Bike, because I prefer recumbency in virtually all situations to its alternative.
The tour is off!
And as my fellows grind away up ahead, I adjust my Reebok, settle in with a cold one in the cupholder, and gaze at the lovely countryside as it rolls by.
I have set my stationary bicycle on the lowest possible setting, so as my counterparts are each laboring like Sisyphus up and down the rugged terrain of France, I am cruising along in the middle of Nebraska.
The cardiovascular benefits are terrific notwithstanding, and by noon I have worked up quite an appetite! Time to ask Gaston, my driver, to pull up at a nice little bistro for some authentic Gallic sustenance. Formidable!
After our nap (mandatory after the two full bottles of wine all French people consume at every meal, including breakfast), it's back on the truck for a lovely peek at the countryside around Chartres.
Or is it Tours? Who cares? Not me! I'm above the road, and the home office couldn't be farther away.
From here we go to the Luberon, then on to Nice and later the Amalfi coast. So lovely. So different.
And yet not too much so, because no matter what the vicissitudes, I know I'll be almost flat on my back, pedaling away with ease and flair like Lance Armstrong.
And that's the drill! I don't know about you, but I think it's inspired. I leave next week, and if everything goes well, I think this is just the beginning.
Next winter I'm beginning preparations for the first-ever StairMaster climb of the Matterhorn. After that, perhaps a walking tour of Tuscany.
For that excursion, I'm looking at a Precor M9.35i treadmill. It comes in at about four grand, but I figure that's a small price to pay for adventure.