Click on any of the photo's for a bigger version.
Neil handed everyone A4 flyers for an event in France about a month or more before it happened. It all looked very good and cheap too - about 15 pounds. The worst thing was the departure time that Neil booked - 9AM from Portsmouth! Although there were 6 bikes going on that crossing, we all decided to travel at our own paces rather than all getting up really early and having to wait around for the others. I probably set off earlier than most with a 6AM departure time, I did this because of problems I've had catching ferries before. This time everything went well so I took a farily scenic route and arrived very early.
The ferry crossing was a five hour one but we only had about 40 miles to go once we were at Cherbourg. Neil lead us on a little tour of the back streets of Cherbourg before locating the main road to Saint Lo. We had one minor incident which I was fortunate enough to have a good view of but from a safe distance right at the back. There was a sudden decision to pull off the main road into a parking spot to re-attach some luggage, the following coach driver probably didn't appreciate the sudden breaking but he managed to avoid hitting any of them and Rob decided to go to the next parking spot rather than get splatted!
We got there in one piece, collected our free badge and meal tickets and set
the tents up next to Neils parents (Keith & Jenny) and their friends. A quick
trip to the hypermarket sorted out some really cheap beer and a McDonalds for a few
Then we sat around a huge trike of Neils (another Neil!) and people came to talk about it to us - they don't have many in France because you have to build two and get one of them crash tested!
Met a few people from a German club called 'Sasem Dusem' who expressed an interest in coming over to the UK to attend a British rally. Hope they make it!
We built the obligatory fire, fought off the huge insects that appeared at about
9pm and sat round chatting.
Keith & Jenny turned up with their friends after getting really drunk in the town. One of them just fell over near the fire and eventually found his tent well after I'd gone to bed. Apparently he was not capable of speech and had to be guided to his tent!
Saturday 1st May
Woken up by Tony and Rob who had brought a McBreakfast for us!
Managed to get Debbie up for the breakfast but Ken had to have it brought to him in bed. None of us got much sleep because there were a few people revving the nuts off their machines, some of the really clever ones knew how to flick the kill switch to get loud bangs. This went on until about 6am.
Neil, his parents and their friends had set off to "Le Mount St Michel" before I'd had my breakfast. So the remaining people set off a bit later. This time Tony took us on a rather strange route which covered some single track lanes - all very scenic anyway. Debbie had to stay at the bike show because she'd had rather a lot to drink the night before and had a bad stomach.
One of these pictures is a professional photo, the other is one I took. Can you tell which is which?
On the way back, we bumped into Keith, Jenny and friends at a cafe near the site. The trike was there, a family or two had already been sitting on it and when it came time to leave, they all came out and waved!
One of the "attractions" was "moto-ball". Like football but on bikes -
Other events included one chap streaking several times and there was a hot air balloon to watch. There was supposed to be some "Exotic Dancers" but I missed out on them somehow.
Everyone went mad in the town that evening. Bikes just went round and round, it was impossible to cross the road.
Despite being woken at 4.30am by a French speaker who opened my tent and said 'Sorry' in a heavy French accent, I had a better sleep than the night before. There was just as much noise but it all happened a bit further away from our area of the site that night.
A few pictures of our bikes on the way home -
All in all, this has to be the best bike show I've been too. OK, not much sleep, but then that's not how you rate bike shows! The way the town was taken over and just the fact that you were in another country really makes this show an excellent event. If you smoke or know someone who smokes then you can even make your ferry money back by getting some cheap fags in Cherbourg before you return. Be wary of the free food though, those of us who ate the pork (prone to problems if re-heated I'm told) didn't get much sleep on the Sunday night because we had to keep going to the loo!
Takes ages to get all the flies off your bike too! -
(You can't see all of them on this photo but it gives you an idea!)
Some more pics - http://www.ifrance.com/Numero1/manifestations/SaintLo/1999/saint_lo99.htm