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Rando Cyclo at Sars Poteries, 6 June 2004

John Redding

Although this was the 13th Rando Cyclo to be arranged in this part of France it was for all participants a lucky one, but for a variety of reasons.  I know that we are a cyclemotor & moped club and strictly that is what members expect to read about in these reports but Sars P caters for all tastes, most of which appeal to the lower orders.

With the exception of Friday morning we were blessed with sunny weather for the five days that many members were in residence.  This rainy Friday inspired some of us to visit the Auchan hypermarket to buy motor cycle apparatus like oil ,a full-face helmet for £30, puncture kits and for Nick Devonport to purchase a "Bipot 1520" for £45.  This was not a new cyclemotor from the Far East but a chemical toilet for his caravanette.  His joy that it included free chemicals and that the paper was biodegradable was palpable.  Each morning he was asked, "have you?" and it is believed that the chemicals are still in their container.

As well as the above items, the supermarket trolley was also laden with beer, wine and other essentials to the extent that its wheels resembled the rear axle configuration of a fully loaded Triumph Herald.  The rear of John Lipscomb's car had also taken a battering when he was overtaken by his caravan en route.  Much to everybody's amazement he had carried on with his tow bar attached to the rear spoiler of his Citroen with rubber bungies (I am not joking).

The peace of Friday night was disturbed by three long blasts on a siren at about 3:30am.  Younger people turned over and slept on but older club members were seen scanning the sky for Dorniers and asking where the air-raid shelters were.  Friday also saw the late arrival of the Ipswich contingent in a large Mercedes van.  They were late, as, aided by Neil's satellite navigation system, they had also done a comprehensive tour of Belgium.

Saturday dawned fresh and bright and an impromptu run was made to Val Joly late in the morning.  Beer was followed by chips and ice cream and Nick Devonport took his annual photo of his machine by the signpost to the village of Willies.  Dave Beare emerged from his newly acquired caravan and, having shaved and washed and combed his hair, bore a strong resemblance to Cary Grant.

Again, tradition was followed with the Saturday afternoon run to the army surplus store at Solre Le Chateau.  Stock included many Solexes, Motobécanes, a Citroen H van and a 2CV, a Moby chop and spares.  Purchases were made by many as prices were reasonable with machines going to England, Belgium and Holland.  Also on Saturday afternoon was the round Felleries cycle race for three hours; it would have needed a very fast moped to have kept up their pace.  The fair was also in town and the Friterie was popular.

Still on the Saturday, towards dusk, Ian McGregor fancied a constitutional walk around the village and asked if I would accompany him.  The scenery was very pleasant and even more so when we idly looked towards a bedroom window with the light on and the curtains open.  The next 30 seconds were a bit of a blur but words including blonde, lingerie and two grinning Englishmen feature.  Somehow even the bar did not look so attractive after this.  We retired to the campsite to extended conversations with all and sundry and a late night around the wine bottle.

You all know about the Sars Poteries road run, raffle, prizewinners, blue hazy two-stroke, attractive scenery, so it only remains to list the machines ridden by the British Contingent.  They were: 2 × Honda Novios, Ariel Red Hunter, James Autocycle, BMG Mosquito (the history of this machine warrants a paragraph alone), James Comet, Mobylette, Elswick Lynx, Hercules Corvette, Solex 2200, Bond 3-wheeler driven from England, 2 × Mobylette AV82, Mini-Motor, Poirier Manulette, Yamaha SS1, Mobybecane SP, Puch Monza, Mobylette Sport 91, BSA Bantam.  And so for all of us, the 13th Rando was lucky and enjoyable.

First published, August 2004

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