A soldering iron, maybe?

Passengers aboard a London-to-Nottingham, England, train that had broken down between stops earlier this week may not exactly have been filled with confidence as the operator entered their coach and asked whether anyone happened to be carrying a roll of cellophane tape ... with which he hoped to carry out a repair. An air pipe in the engine had worked its way loose and, the rail line's spokeswoman later told reporters, the operator thought that if he could reseal it, he just might be able to nurse the train to the next station . That would limit the travel for a repairman who'd been sent for. Alas, no one had any tape. Ultimately, the trip was cut short at Leicester, well south of the its destination. But at least the repairs weren't "safety-critical," the spokeswoman said.

Armstrong: the leg-strong cyclist to watch in France

American Lance Armstrong won a record sixth Tour de France last year. Now, in what he says will be the last race of his career, he's determined to pedal triumphantly down Paris's Champs-Élysées one more time. The race begins Saturday in Fromentine, a town in northwestern France, and winds 2,241 miles through 21 stages - six of them in mountainous terrain - to the finish line July 24. Some "factoids" about the world's No. 1 bicycle race:

Estimated spectators lining the route 15 million
Number of security personnel 25,055
TV coverage 2,400 hours
TV viewers 2 billion
Winner's prize money $483,240
Fewest finishers 10 (of 69 who started the 1919 race)
Fastest average speed over entire course 25 m.p.h. (Lance Armstrong, 1999)
Most years in competition by one rider 16 (Joop Zoetemelk of the Netherlands, who won in 1980)
Bottles of water used by all teams 42,000
- Le Tour de France/

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