World Famous for 44 Seconds


Fifty years ago Andy Warhol coined the now well known phrase “In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.” Ever since then I have been waiting for my turn. 

warhol 15 minutes of fame

While I may never reach the fifteen minute-fame-threshold, I feel justified to claim a bit of world fame at the 44 second level.  I’ve been itching for an excuse to share this story for a long time now and with the confluence of Ann’s admonition to “be nice” and the Tour de France which is under way as I write,  there may be no better time.  The Tour de France connection will be obvious; the “be nice” part is more of a stretch.

tour de friends facebook gig

Mount Tamalpais State Park

The path to my 44 seconds of fame started in July of 2014 with an email notification to our cycling club members that a video production company was looking for a group of cyclists between the ages of 50 and 70 to participate in the filming of an ad for Facebook (we discovered later that it would be called “Tour de Friends”).  On a lark, I submitted my photo and contact information, omitting my age –  which exceeded the limits. I briefly considered getting a fake ID.   Much to my surprise my friend Chris and I were among nine cyclists selected to participate.  We were instructed to show up early one morning at Mount Tamalpais State Park with our bikes and cycling outfits.  

Highway Patro Tour de Friends

One of our HP escorts

When we arrived at the parking lot I realized this was not some amateur deal.   There were two Highway patrol units hired for traffic control, an ambulance type vehicle, a food truck for feeding the crew,  a van for hauling us around, a filming lorry, and some mobile potties.  In addition, there was a wardrobe crew which immediately began covering over all of the logos and brand names on our bikes, shoes, and clothing,  a sound crew, a payroll person (I hadn’t even thought of getting paid), the film director, and other folks whose jobs I never figured out. 

Filming tour de friends

On location

We spent the entire day and well into the evening filming.  Then we filled out some forms and were sent home, wondering when or if the supposed ad would see the light of day.  It did see the light of day and was posted as a Facebook ad in October of 2014.  Of course we were all excited to see ourselves in the ad, but were not quite prepared to find that our long day of filming had been edited down to a 44 second video. 

 If you listen carefully to the beginning of the ad,  posted below, you will hear someone say, “OK, be nice” (I inserted the caption so you wouldn’t miss it). This “be nice” message captures the essence of our blog and provides an excuse for including this story.

So here is the video.  lf you concentrate you may even recognize me a couple of times.

To my astonishment, by the end of October the Tour de Friends had been viewed 13.8 million times, had 232,000 “likes” and had 5,000 comments.   An added bonus was the unanticipated checks that arrived monthly (if for only a few months).  It was enough to justify buying a new bike.  

But my 44 seconds of fame has not gone to my head.  I still put my pants on one leg at a time and drive a Subaru just like ordinary folks.


  1. theRaggedys says:

    Thanks for the comment. I am flattered to know that I am famous in your eyes – especially since you were not biased by the video. Whether or not it is a good thing remains as unclear as the term itself.


  2. David Ewing says:

    Well, I didn’t see the video on Facebook or wherever, but I did spend more than 44 seconds reading this posting and watching the nice quoted video. Mostly, when I hear people discussing someone famous I don’t know who the hell they’re talking about. I’m not at all clear whether this comment is about fame or ignorance, and whichever, whose. You were already famous to me, Andy. But is that a good thing?


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