René is really fit : in spite of his eighty-six summers, he is sporting young boy’s calves. His age at the mileage counter borders on the thousand. René is a great cycloter, he can challenges other athletes, those crown eaters of sport’s applications. René does not need a watch, nor a power ratio, he doesn’t care about the percentage of the elevation, the colour of a jersey or the profile of a helmet. Rene pedals, so it is, eyes closed and piloted by Jean-Louis. A legend has it that he slept on a Paris-Roubaix. René is a myth and we ride with him.
We left from our downtown premises with Ivan and Laurent, taking advantage of a glimpse of good weather and we rushed to Bernard’s shed. That is our club’s bearings. We also have premises in the velodrome, and Paul’s and Alexandre’s. I probably forget some others.
– Meeting at Bernard’s shed.
According to the jargon of the club, this means we’re going North. Bernard is our mechanics-GPS. Regarding his visual acuity level, it is not the top, but, and that is a real mystery, if we give Bernard a tandem in kit, not only he assembles it at fast speed, but he can rush twice around the Dombes while you are still looking for your 10in. spanner in the toolbox.
Ivan was very proud with his Moustache. This is not about the new hair style of the president but the latest born tandem of the club. Watch out for that : suspended fork and saddles, hydro-disc brakes, Shimano XT 11-speed derailler and two high-performance Bosh batteries. It is just wonderful to take the president for a ride after a whole night work (the club covers all unreasonable causes, Ivan works a lot and this is not to be argued).
Go speedsters, 4 tandems followed by Vincent on his push bike – his bike is red, so he goes very fast – towards Mas Rillier. Some stayers take advantage of the climb to rest or muse over (yet nothing of what Ivan the President does is blameworthy). We enjoy overtaking each others and this funny train makes other single cyclists laugh and car drivers swear. We consult the GPS, a.k.a. Bernard who guides us through the maze of Dombes without looking, pilots and stayers conversing. We sometimes swap tandems so as to chat with every friend while René in the middle, pushing firmly on his pedals, throws two or three jokes about, just to remind us that the quality of his wit, along with his pedal stroke, does not decline with the years. Janis, Laurent and Tihnga, the last comers are conquered by the club (what a charmer René is !) and Jean-Louis our treasurer and emeritus sportman may be beginning to think that this new tandem, o felony ! so equipped with batteries, allows people who are not so fit or less serious ones to ride sixty kilometres without failing. (We saw Laurent go down a slope on assistance “sport”, but everything that occurs in the club remains in the club of course).
The trip is still too short and smiles always very wide. We would not mind getting lost sometimes, deep in the Ain, or perhaps towards the Alps, always displaying a happy mood. It even seems that we are aiming for Tokyo, in tandem. That seems far away, but our champions Anouk, Paul and Alexandre are training to grab some stars there, while riding around the Dombes we are dreaming of going around the world, just to accompany them!