Archive index   Go to the Archive index

Rando Cyclos at Sars Poteries

by John Redding

Bras (good, now that I have your attention) is a village that I travelled through on the way to this year's event.  Like many of this year’s participants, I took the opportunity to combine the Rando with another event called Moto Légende at Montlhéry.  I believe that this event is being written up separately but I assure you that Bras, near Verdun, was passed through en route. 

Although I have been to all of the Randos it is some time since I volunteered to be the scribe for this event so do excuse references to glazed tarts and the female translators two main attractions, ie: not her eyes.

As usual, a strong British contingent had endeavoured to grab the best pitches on the campsite but we were beaten this year by the Dutch.  Because of the inclement weather, Dave Casper thought that he was fortunate in securing a caravan, leaving most of us in tents.  This was not so, as in the morning after some heavy rain he wondered what the bulge in the ceiling was.  A poke with a fork proved that it was trapped rainwater and he had a shower earlier than he had anticipated.  Fortunately he moved to another where he was able to provide us with red wine, bacon rolls, red wine, sausage and, just for a change, red wine.

The usual regular francophiles were there in force, plus some welcome new faces whom I hope found it worthwhile; Tim Bunting, when will we see you there?  Of the 147 listed participants 28 were from GB on a variety of machines.  Machines were interesting for what was not there.  Not one Cyclemaster, Mini-Motor, Power Pak or Winged Wheel but a splendid selection of Itoms, Flandrias, Berinis, Moto-Morinis, Spartas, Kreidlers, etc.

One interesting machine was Philippa Wheeler’s diesel Lohmann, which won a prize both at Sars Poteries and Montlhéry.  Of particular interest was the fuel that she uses, this being a Belgian lamp oil that has an inbuilt insect repellent.  It smelt awful but it went well and, yes, the mosquitoes did not follow her, sort of buzzing but not buzzing if you know what I mean.

The entire weekend went well including the Saturday night Bar-B-Q, it was very well arranged and the French organisers are to be praised for their efforts.  Another example of this hospitality was when a rider broke down outside a cottage on one of the impromptu runs around the villages.  Coffee was provided by the occupier and also to those who turned up at various intervals over the next half-hour or so.  When his young daughter joined us and it transpired that it was her birthday it was touching and typical that we spontaneously burst into Happy Birthday in English and also Dutch.  Nick Devonport has a fine voice that he reckons was finely honed by his training as a choirboy, but what else do you expect from a Wisp rider.

The actual day of the run stayed dry enough for a rare sighting of the Editor on his paraffin-powered Lohmann.  Originally he entered a James but apparently it broke down on the way to be MoT’d .  Naturally, he followed his own route, which involved a U-turn and a visit to a bar with a French journalist.  The famous raffle for a moped was won by Peter Bartlett (he lives in France) and guess what it was: a Moby SP40!

Wooden stands for the machines were provided by Dave Beare.  He tells me they are made of the finest kiln dried timber grown on the plywood trees on his estate in Oxfordshire.  Hand crafted and French polished they are ideal for, well, standing a moped on.

Well, another Rando completed, the next one is 9th June 2001 and I will be there if only for the glazed tarts, see, I had to mention them.

First published - August 2000

Archive index   Go to the Archive index