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La Bonne Mère Cyclo Classique - 4th edition

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La Bonne Mère Cyclo Classique - 4th edition

Old 09-07-22, 06:12 AM
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La Bonne Mère Cyclo Classique - 4th edition

La Bonne Mère Cyclo Classique - 4th edition

Throughout the years, Gabriel Refait from Dynamo Cycle repair and the club Houblon Sauvage Randoneur have been able to build a consistent vintage cycling enthusiast team. With connections all over France, creating a fantastic event dedicated to the passion of vintage cycling is not really hard.

Among the people that were present during that fantastic day we had: Eric Vanhaverbeke, founder of Dilecta Cycles; Simon Guignard winner of the French Divide 2021, Patrick Van Den Bossche, CEO at Bike Cafe 48, Jean-Pascal Borrow, whom we interviewed in our previous Cyclopast Magazine here with his son, also Luc Royer founder of Chilkoot which organize cycling adventure all over France and more than 60 other vintage cycling enthusiast!

Too much to be able to talk with everyone during this short 80 kilometers randonnée, but just enough to have fun on the road and see some fantastic bikes. This event, La Bonne Mère Cyclo Classic, is now in its 4th edition; we participated in the first three one, and by no means do we want to skip this fourth edition.

From Aix En Provence to Marseille, it was a delicious randonnée with a yummy stop at the 33 kilometers: coffee and tea with brownies provided by Mana, a coffee shop roasting his own coffee. Under the pines, people are chilling, laughing, and sharing their common passion for vintage cycling. The time seems to have stopped; days like those are too rare, primarily since the covid dictated our life. Now Covid has been almost forgotten; we are free to live our life. To live our shared passion.

After this stop, as we were progressing and going downhill, Matthieu Perusset and his girlfriend, who was riding a Follis tandem, experienced a dangerous situation. Their front tire exploded when they were launched at full speed on a winding road through the hill. When it happened, we were right next to them; the bike instantly deviated to the left side, where a precipice was waiting for them. The people around them, such as me, were helpless; we could just watch Matthieu trying to slow the tandem and keep a decent trajectory without falling. What a rescue! It seems that the inner tubes exploded for no particular reason, maybe due to the hotness involved in brake friction. May someone be experienced that before? The tires were set at 5.5 bars with a recommended pressure of 6 bars, which seems quite normal. It is a complete mystery from now, but indeed a traumatic experience for everyone; we then lower our speed a bit in the next downhill section.

After that, we were heading to the west for the last climb that linked Les Pennes Mirabeau to l'Estaque. A final challenging climb and what an orchestra of chain, derailleur, and melting tires on the hot concrete roads. Once at the top, we didn't lose a minute and headed to l'Estaque for a brief stop made of beer and Panisse. Nothing bet those Panisse in l'Estaque, believe me! This road was charming, lost between the expressway and the massif de la Nerthe, a dry, typically provencal landscape.

The last obstacle to the finish line is passing over the city center of Marseille and climbing la Bonne Mère. " Notre-Dame de la Garde (literally: Our Lady of the Guard), known to local citizens as la Bonne Mère (French for 'the Good Mother'), is a Catholic basilica in Marseille, France, and the city's best-known symbol. " - Wikipedia. From the Vieux Port, it is a 2.34-kilometer climb with a 110 meters cumulates elevation ride to reach the top. It takes an average of 13 minutes; some portions are pretty challenging, especially on a vintage road bike with compact freewheel like Luc Royer used on his Gitane. The roads are sometimes narrow and steep; you can only use your raw strength to climb these sections.

Everyone reached the top at his rhythm, and the entire day was like that. Those who wanted to go fast were free to do so, and those who wanted to chill and relax were welcome. It is not always easy to mix people with different riding styles and average speeds but with multiple stops, it was possible thanks to Gabriel, who followed us in his Panda I. Every stop was an occasion to take pictures, have a talk and take a look at the scenery. In front of the basilica, Gabriel and his organization team were waiting for us with a few beers. Sipping a cold beer and looking at the unique point of view of Marseille's bay is indeed an unforgettable moment especially when it is shared with people who share a common passion.

After that, we all gather in a bar in the city center and participated in the drawing of the lot: Ideale saddle, Dilecta T-shirts, bags, and other goodies were gathered for the participants. A dozen of people get back home with a gift, and everyone indeed brings back home unique memories and the desire to come back next year.

If you are in France around September 2023, don't forget this event. A unique and original to gather your passion for vintage cycling and visit the area of Marseille.
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Old 09-07-22, 12:09 PM
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Thanks for the report! I would love to be in France during any September. I lived for a time in Aix and Montpellier and toured a lot in the region, it's such a lovely place.

About the exploding tube: Many years ago a guy told me about an incident where he had just finished a long descent in the Alps on a fully-loaded touring bike. He was waiting at the customs station when one of his tubes exploded, he said he was very lucky it hadn't happened on the descent. He thought that the friction from braking had heated the rims, and then the tubes, to the point of bursting.
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Old 09-07-22, 12:21 PM
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Wow. We’ll be in that part of France in September 2023, please keep us posted with details!
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