First Of Our Occasional Series On Retro Riding Events Planned For The Coming Year.
Excuse our French. A pair of knees at 2011′s Anjou Vélo Vintage. Photo by Edouard Sepulchre.
At the end of last year, we took a run through some of the finer cycling themed calendars available for 2013. If you got your hands on one of them we have a couple of dates for you to circle, or place exclamation marks around with a big black marker.
Actually, these dates are worth circling on any 2013 calendar, regardless of whether it has pictures of bicycles or not.
Nor in fact does the marker have to be black; let us stress again that these dates are worth keeping in mind.
We’re talking, naturally, about some of this year’s big days out for fans of Retro/Vintage cycling.
Same knees, different Vintage cycling event. Momo at l’Eroica 2011. Photo Caro Paulette.
Retro/Vintage cycling is generally an exercise in healthy, energetic affection for simpler times. Spare tubes anchored by armpits, a bib pocket full of spanners, and a saddle top made of leather are a couple of the Non-Negotiables. Also, the clothes tend to be heavier, as does the food and drink available at pitstops.
This is of course a Good Thing, and judging by the hoards of riders wolfing down pie ‘n peas, moules frites and plates of creamy pasta at various events around Europe, also an increasingly Popular Thing.
But first to France. The town of Anjou lies between Nantes and Tours in the west of the country, and the Anjou Vélo Vintage will be taking place there this June 22-23 for its third instalment. In its short history, the Vélo Vintage has won admirers from all over Europe keen to take in the glorious surrounds of the region from the vantage point of their saddle.
Roadies are requested to use bikes whose frames were built between 1901 – 1987, with gear levers, if any, on the down tube. Or at least not on the bars.
Replica team jerseys, or originals, of course, are welcome provided they are at least 35 years old.
Photo - l’Internaute.
Singlespeeds and fixed wheels are also allowed, as well as “new-old” builds.
1400 cyclists turned out in 2012, and you can click here for a look at a pair of fine slideshows which capture some of the flavour.
This year they have laid out a series of excellent routes around the region ranging in distance from 35km, 60km and 90km.
Of course, in keeping with the spirit of retro themed rides, it’s not all about hammering at your maximum wattage output, and sweat-soaked pile-ups on tricky downhill bends. Over the weekend, the “Concours d’Elegance” will also endeavour to find the most stylish looking riders in four different categories – Authentic, Trendy, Glamourous and Sporty.
Nice, right? No, nowhere near. Photo - l’Internaute.
An “Authentic” Throwback should probably at least have a moustache, a Penny Farthing might be helpful too.
Le cycliste, le plus Trendy will be the one deemed to have added the most outré flourishes to his machine. Anybody with a turquoise Colt and matching Bar Tape, especially in tandem with a pair of horn-rimmed spectacles, might find themselves in the running.
The Glamour Prize, we gather, should be contested only by ladies. Predictably in such a style conscious land, last year’s winner had to beat off some very stiff competition to take her crown. She is pictured below.
While the winner of the “Sporty” category will have eschewed EPO and blood doping in favour of good old fashioned pep pills, and be in possession of a bidon made of something other than plastic.
L’Anjou Vélo Vintage.
June 22-23, 2013.