I was over in France recently with my business partner, James.
We’d been looking at various bits of WWII history and enjoying a few glasses of wine and good meals along the way. After one rather memorable Saturday evening, we just about managed to surface and shamble into Bayeux. Good job we did.
Just at the end of the Rue des Bouchers is a little square. There’s a café. And the chap who owns the café is a classic bike fan – big style. So much so that he happily holds the weekly meetings of the Luc-sur-Mer Classic Bike Club at his café.
I love serendipity.
So, we sorted ourselves out with croissants from the boulangerie, several cups of café from the café and watched the local classic bike fraternité stand around, look at each other’s bikes and talk bollocks. Just like being at home. But with better coffee. And sunshine. And, it seemed, rather less pretence.
There was some serious kit there:
That’s the back of a 1939 Guzzi:
This is a Terrot:
What on earth is a Terrot? I’ve no idea, but I loved it:
A gorgeous R69S:
Suggestions on a postcard, please:
A Motobecane with a cool sidestand:
A rather newer Terrot:
I was getting the idea by now, and very happily wandering around chatting, listening and learning about French classic bikes. It seems there’s not a lot of bolt-counting going on in France. The drill seems to be:
– meet up for a coffee and a smoke
– talk bollocks
– ride a few miles to another café
– have lunch
– ride a few more miles
– talk more bollocks
– go home
I’ve always liked France. They know how to do things properly there.
But the best bit of all was this. You probably spotted it behind the Guzzi above:
I got chatting with the owner who turned out to be the owner of the café too. The conversation went a bit like this:
“That combo looks interesting – what is it?”
“That, my friend, is a 1968 Jupiter – Russian, and the only one left in all France!”
“Bloody hell, it’s a small world – I’ve got a 2000 Ural.”
“Nah, you haven’t have you?”
“I’ll show you the pics….”
So I got my phone out and we happily spent the next twenty minutes comparing notes on Urals and Jupiters. It then turned out he had a GS as well, although only a 1200.
We parted on excellent terms, with the promise I’d come back on the Ural with Pip.
Then, as one, the bikes were kicked into action. Music. The banging, poffling and clattering of valves was just heavenly as they rolled out of the square and off to lunch. All that was left to mark the passing was this:
I caught up with the same group, parked up at a café near Pointe du Hoc. They waved as I rumbled past. Plus ça change.