Sunday, June 25 2017

Published on June 15 2017. Living
Free wheelers in France
Paul Simpson, Rye Wheelers club secretary rides through Normandy

Free wheelers in France

On May 28 local cycle club Rye Wheelers enjoyed another trip to Ardres in Normandy to join our French buddies in the annual  Carre de Vallees sportive. (A sportive is a timed cycle ride, but not a race – Ed.)

This is an annual event that the Wheelers have been supporting for quite a few years in order to enjoy cycling in beautiful countryside and some French hospitality.

I joined Paul Simpson, the Club Secretary and Bill Waters for our trip and set off from Rye to catch a very crowded ferry from Dover, we’d forgotten that it was half term and consequently the boat was overrun by throngs of excited school children. It wasn’t the most relaxing crossing I’ve had.

Our accommodation was a cottage in Ardres not far from the Centre Ville  and convenient for some bars which we felt obliged to visit!

Some of the Wheelers take a well-earned break

On Saturday night, we met up with the other Wheelers for a meal by the lake at Ardres. We left the restaurant late despite the looming early start which seemed not to matter at that point of the evening!

The next day, ten Wheelers gathered for the ride and registered for three different routes – 25km, 60km and 100km all for around 3 to 4 euros which included a well earned beer and a sausage baguette at the end of the ride.

This year, I decided on the 60km route accompanied by another club member rather than the gruelling 100km which I have completed in previous years (its hilly). It was a lovely ride through forests, small villages and open countryside.

Over 500 riders took part, including some very strong teams of French riders, who seem to just whoosh past us effortlessly, I had to remind myself that I’m 65 this year.

Cycling done we were all reunited at our French hosts’ clubhouse for refreshments and lively discussions of the routes we’d taken.

It was a fun weekend and good to see everyone take part with some members’ wives completing the 25km route, which is pretty tough if you haven’t ridden a bike for a while.

 

Photos: Steve Blatman

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