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As mentioned in the last issue of 'Buzzing', Pierre Louail, the organiser of the Rando Cyclos, had sadly died earlier this year so this year's rally was a tribute to him and the memory of his superb rallies that have been held previously. Because of this there was an excellent turnout with 65 machines appearing, predominantly from France, Holland & Belgium and 15 British machines. Although some of the Brits had opted for a two-day stay, some for five days, the undoubted heroes were the two teams of three who had ridden all the way from England. Their arrival was greeted by incredulity on the campsite, especially by the Dutch, since the machines looked as if they had been dragged out of the back of the garage, tyres inflated, fired up & ridden. We later found out that this was so, in which case their owners are to be congratulated on the quality of their maintenance and dextrous use of an oily rag. One of the machines was an Ariel Three whose rider complained on lack of performance. Within two hours of arrival this was rectified by a de-coke and trials around the gravel track of the campsite produced wheel-spin and several pebble-dashed caravans. The drive was later refurbished by a lorry-load of gravel.
A major feature this year was the coldness of the weather. There was frost on the tents most mornings, except for the day of the rally. Sleep proved difficult in these conditions. Those with the expensive sleeping bags that fold up to the size of a ham sandwich slept fitfully, others, myself included, kept their clothes on for four days, washing occasionally. One Cyclemate rider snored soundly in a double sleeping bag previously occupied by his dog - although the dog had been removed and the sleeping bag laundered, I feel that a few dog hairs remained, adding to the insulative qualities of the sac de couchage.
The day of the Rando Cyclos was as well organised as ever and the Mayor, M Gillet and his many helpers are to be congratulated, especially when one considers the size of the population of Sars Poteries (ie: numbers, not height). There was the usual amount of autojumble but, as in England, not a lot of buying and selling, so the time was spent studying the machines displayed around the band-stand. Some were restored and some original. As with last year, my favourite was a Derny tandem but a Dutch Kriedler and a Flandria were also very desirable. Towards the end of lunch - excellent as usual with a buffet to suit all tastes, plenty of wine, water & beer and an assortment of cheeses, some of which appeared to move around the plate - throttle fingers get itchy and one longs for the whir of small engines en masse. We are en masse at the start but it is not long before the multi-geared, tuned machines surge to the front and the cyclemotors, VéloSoleXes and Lohmann bring up the rear. The route, similar to last year, reveals something new each time: a crystal clear spring adjacent to a church, a particularly pleasing glade of trees in many shades of green or some blonde crumpet hanging out of a window in the village of Dimechaux. The route, a figure of eight, returns to Sars Poteries for a brief drink stop before heading for the attractive wooded areas to the south. There is plenty of enthusiasm shown by the French spectators, not on the scale of the Tour de France, but welcome all the same.
The return to the Town Hall is celebrated, Champagne & glazed tarts, the free raffle for the moped (a rare Belgian machine whose make I've forgotten) and trophy presentations. David Casper won the best machine award, Andrew Pattle won the smallest machine award and the six who rode all the way from England shared the "most enthusiastic" award - they deserved it!
A vendre 1 ADORABLE
During the weekend, a local paper was purchased to see what was for sale in the motor cycle column. Some modern MBKs, but not much for the cyclemotorist. Bearing in mind the Yorkshire contingent in the British party, the enclosed advert was noted. We like to believe it translates as: One adorable Yorkshire male for sale, vaccinated in the last two moths, fumigated, with tattoos that he had to queue for. Please would David Casper or Bernie Cook confirm the translation? Congratulations to Nick Devonport who made it this year and did not get stuck in the tramlines in Reims (see Buzzing, Aug 94).
First published - August 1995
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