Thirty-four years ago, Emmanuelle Demeautis, then 9, was walking her dog along beach in the French coastal town of Cherbourg, when she found a message in a bottle.
The note read:
"My name is Adrian Lomas — I'm aged nine and live in England, if you find this letter please write to me."
Demeautis did as Lomas requested, and for the next three decades, Demeautis and Lomas were penpals.
"I can't believe that after throwing the bottle off the ferry on the way back from my holiday when I was nine, that Emmanuelle found it on the beach when she was walking her dog. It's just amazing," Lomas said of the beginning of their friendship.
"We wrote for many years and, at one stage, we planned to meet in Tahiti but, for one reason or another, it didn’t happen." Lomas told the Chester Leader. "However, thanks to the power of Facebook, Emmanuelle spotted that I was riding the Tour de Force and got in touch."
Last week, 34 years after first writing to each other, the long-distance friends finally met.
Demeautis and her daughter drove two hours to meet Lomas, who was riding in the William Wates Tour De Force event — a charity race which precedes the whole Tour de France by one week — on the Causeway of the Mont Saint-Michel.
"It was a really emotional meeting," Lomas, the managing director of digital agency, Blueleaf, wrote on his blog. "We both know each other so well, both have families and are interested in similar things. Her father was a champion cyclist and her cousin is working with a cycling team. Emmanuelle and her husband write and illustrate books."
The friends plan to meet up again — this time with their respective spouses, too — at the end of the bike tour, BBC News reported.