This is the latest in a series of posts I’ve been planning about the incomparable international randonneuring event, Paris-Brest-Paris.
Previously, I wrote about Drew Buck, who completed PBP 2011 on a 1900 Peugeot, a as well as the tandem bicycles (Post 1 and Post 2). Today I’m talking about the towns along the PBP route.
Until I rode Paris-Brest-Paris, the only other times when I experienced a high level of fanfare around sport in which I was participating was when I ran a marathon. People in the U.S. get excited about people who run 26.2 miles on their own two feet.
People in France get excited about those who ride 1240 kilometers under their own power. It doesn’t matter if you are fast or slow. What matters is that you go the distance.
During our four days of riding this event, we pedaled past many towns. Some were official stops, but others were towns that happen to intersect the route.
Many towns welcomed the riders with signs and bike-centric sculptures. I’d never seen anything like it and, in addition to making me feel welcome, I felt like I was part of something memorable and special.
Despite wet weather on both Days 1 and 2 as well as many miles of night riding, I still managed to take some photos of the roadside decor featured all along the route, and that is what I share with you today.
Where possible, I’ve tried to identify the towns, but there are many gaps in my memory so if anyone recalls the town that corresponds to the photo, please let me know in the comments.
After digging through the photos archives, I discovered more tandem shots worth sharing from the last edition of PBP. That is, they are not hopelessly blurry or otherwise terrible. Perhaps you will even recognize some of the randonneurs. Continue reading →
Events like Paris-Brest-Paris are difficult to unbox all at once. Some aspects can be, such as the immediacy of the ride experience and the emotions and physical states experienced.
Others take time to absorb and appreciate especially when, for many of us, PBP occupies a small space in between a flurry of other activities and responsibilities. It also happens after an intense period spent building our stamina through longer rides, including a full brevet series and summer training.
Because PBP is yet again peering around the bend– 2015!– I’ve been revisiting my first trip to this great event. Today takes me back to the 90-hour start, which began around 6 p.m. The “special bikes”– such as tandems, recumbents, and velomobiles– launched first.
This was also true of the 84-hour start, where Felkerino and I were one of only three tandems among the special bikes.
This was not the case for the 90-hour group. Dozens of tandems lined up. According to the PBP-2011 results, 42 tandems (84 riders) were part of the PBP field.
What a sight, all of these diverse bicycles in one place. Big multi-day events like RAGBRAI have their share, but many of them are not tested randonneuring machines, like the ones you see on PBP.
My head spun like crazy, trying to get a look at all the bikes while I dealt with my own nerves and excitement about our upcoming day’s ride. (Unlike the 90-hour riders who started in the early evening, the 84-hour riders did not clip in until 5 a.m. the following day.)
It wasn’t just the riders and tandems from all parts of the world, but the luggage used for the journey. From panniers to Berthoud bags, it covered a wide range of choices.
We saw some builders that were familiar– Co-Motion, Cannondale, Bilenky– but many of the tandems that flew past were not any I had seen before.
Another interesting aspect to PBP is that it does not require riders to wear helmets. I’m not saying that for any other reason than it is not something that would happen on a domestic randonneuring event or even most organized rides. It gives the riders a different look than I’m used to seeing.
I hope you enjoyed this PBP 2011 Throwback Thursday, Tandem Style. Yes, I said Throwback Thursday. Oh, and please let me know if you recognize any of the bikes (and/or riders) in the pics.
This week BBC News ran a feature about Drew Buck, a long-distance cyclist from Somerset, England, who is famous in the randonneuring community for completing Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) multiple times on vintage bicycles.
The article prompted me to search through my own set of photos from the 2011 edition of PBP, and I realized that Felkerino I had the pleasure of encountering Drew Buck at various points throughout the ride.
Have you heard enough about PBP yet? Well, hang on just a minute, because I’ve got one more story to share with you.
Felkerino and I co-wrote a short piece about what it meant for us to complete this past August’s Paris-Brest-Paris by tandem. It was published in the most recent edition of American Randonneur, the quarterly newsletter distributed by Randonneurs USA.
Randonneurs USA members may have already seen the article, but for those who have not, we decided to post it over at one of my favorite blogs, The Daily Randonneur. Click on over and check it out. It will make you immediately want to buy a tandem and start training for PBP. Kidding, though I do hope you like it!
Now that 2011 is coming to a close, I’ve been reflecting on the year, as many people do. For me, 2011 was all about Paris Brest Paris, not just because of the event itself, but also because of all the careful planning and diligent pedaling it took to get there.
In early 2010, Felkerino and I decided that we would attempt to ride the 2011 edition of Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) together on tandem. Continue reading →
Hey, readers. The Daily Randonneur, a mighty fine randonneuring blog written by this guy I know, is featuring my Paris-Brest-Paris 2011 story. Yeah, you know PBP, that 1230K ride that so many randonneurs rave about? That one.
It took four days to ride PBP, and another two months to write the story. I’m not sure which was harder. Wait, yes I do.
Felkerino has been rolling out the story in daily increments this week, with the grand finale going up this Friday.
When people first started talking about this new thing called “Twitter,” (which I know is not new anymore) I didn’t get it. I understood Twitter was supposed to work as a social networking tool, but social networking about what? What you ate for breakfast? Who cares about that? Twitter struck me as a self-indulgent waste of time.
Despite my initial skepticism, I kept an eye on Twitter to explore what the hype was about. Continue reading →