Bastille Day Run

14th July 2013

C&F regulars suitably dressed for the weather

There is some doubt as to whether the celebration on 14th July commemorates the storming of the old Paris political prison in 1789, which at the time had less than 10 inmates, or the year-later Fête de la Federation, which commemorated the bloodless part of the French revolution. Within a year, the revolution was on its way to turmoil and terror. What is certain is that on the original day, it poured with rain.

The national day of French celebration was inaugurated in 1880, Senator Martin being unspecific about exactly which 14th July they were celebrating, but it has become generally known as ‘Bastille Day’ ever since.

So that’s cleared that up.

Skim forwards to the annual C&F planning meeting in December 2012, and the diary revealed that we would have a ride-out on the relevant day, and, being a bit of a Francophile, I volunteered for that one. A bit of preparation later, the day dawned bright and clear for our ride around Surrey and Kent with a destination at a genuine French restaurant complete with frogs legs and snails for those who desired them.

Arriving at the pub

By 9.30am, we had 70 bikes... oops. The route started easy enough, with the A3/A243/A24 down to Ryka’s at Box Hill for a comfort stop, but it then got more technical, including single-track with passing places and gravel, and the street of a thousand potholes between Lingfield and Edenbridge. I am sure that there is a line that misses all the holes, I just haven’t found it yet.

Hopefully you all enjoyed the views of the stunning English countryside, when you got time to snatch a glimpse between corners.

Thanks to the diligence of the road captains and some welcome assistance from Terry Ferguson in sorting out the drop-off who wouldn’t drop-off along the A243, we all arrived at the pub/restaurant in good time. After some essential thirst quenching, some 30 of us sat down to a delicious lunch cooked by Sophie and her staff whilst Martin ran the bar. Regrettably they’re giving up the pub later this year to get some more family time so if you want to repeat this one, we’ll have to find a new destination. And if anyone wants the route, please e-mail me and I’ll let you have a copy.

Let the feast commence

Thanks - to our hosts Martin and Sophie at The Harrow, Les and Nick as roving marshals, Dave Mollison for last man duties and Terry for helping on the route. Rob Warr escaped his family clutches for long enough to open the shop and put on breakfast for us. Welcome also to Monica, new to the shop, along for her first C&F ride. There was the usual mix of faces new and old, I hope the newcomers enjoyed the ride and found some friendly conversation.

Michael Howers - C&F Road Captain