Randos Cyclos at Sars Poteries, near Avesne sur Helpe, France

This was our latest bike related trip, the 27th Randos Cyclos in northern France. There are a band of NACC members who go every year and have been doing so for most of the event’s history. John Redding, the discoverer of the Sars Poteries gathering as far as British participants are concerned, has attended 26 times. The ride attracts entrants from France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Britain every year. There have also been riders from Switzerland and this year the organisers were pleased to welcome a rider from Germany, the first for some 15 years. It’s a very convivial event held in a very French way with an autojumble at the sign on, a meal in the Sal des Fêtes, a ride to a halfway point, a drink in a cafe and, after the return, dessert, a prize giving, speeches (translated for Anglophones) and the result of the raffle. The raffle is always for an old moped and the winner is expected to bring the bike back restored to a future Randos Cyclos. This year a bike won in 1993 returned for the first time so there may be something of a backlog. The atmosphere between the different nation represented is always very friendly and for the enthusiast there is a chance to see machines that are not present in the UK. The countryside around Avesne is bocage (basically meadows) with quite a number of woods. It’s fairly quiet and the riding is excellent for these small capacity machines. If you have never been and would like to try it an email to: randocyclo.sars@gmail.com will put you on their mailing list for next year. The run is on Sunday 2nd June 2019.

The signing on and autojumble. Over 100 machines participated in event.

‘Le Sauvage’ an unusual cyclemotor. We liked the engine guard with ‘visor’ like a medieval knight’s jousting helmet.

Ian McGregor’s Vap 4. One of the few true cyclemotors to complete the run in 2018.

Simplicity in miniature with all the bits in the right place (unlike so many cyclemotors) and no, I have no idea what it is.

The drinks break in a very French square.

Beautifully presented sports mopeds are a feature of the event.

Other news more related to LEJOG: The Rudge is still in bits while its cycleparts are serviced. The Sturmey Archer gear hub has been returned to Peter Williamson for his ministrations. (petermwilliamson@yahoo.co.uk). New tyres await fitting and its LEJOG accessories have been removed and its period fittings re-attached. I am going to check the engine over too.

The ‘new’ Royal Enfield Mini Motor bought during the trip is in the process of trying to recover its old registration number. This is not straight forward but help has been received from Worcestershire Archives, the Cycle Museum at Llandrindod Wells, the vendor and a local auction house. It may not be possible to prove the provenance to the satisfaction of the DVLA in which case an age related number will be issued. That would be a pity for a machine in such original condition.

The machine is an almost exact contemporary of the Rudge. The bicycle is from 1948 – 1949 and the engine was registered in October 1951. The difference being that this has been an item since the latter date while the April 1952 registered motor on the Rudge was fitted in 2011.

Another £40 has been received for Alzheimer’s Research UK since the last post. (https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/raleighrudginit) Visitor numbers to the blog had fallen as expected but suddenly rose again last week to the level of the week after LEJOG was finished. The mydonate site is open until 9th August so it seems worth keeping the blog ‘live’ with occasional posts of loosely relevant material until that time.

A lovely 1934 French-owned Morgan seen on the Baie de Somme en route to Biarritz

A rather less lovely Simpson SR50 demonstrating the East German state’s flair for flowing lines and swooping curves – nevertheless interesting, beautifully restored and exploring the Baie de Somme two-up!

Finally a BSA B31 engined custom bike. Not one for the purist but well executed and very suitable for exploring the Peak District where it was photographed outside the Old Smithie Cafe in Monyash.

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