Cafe Racer Festival - June 2015 - Paris

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Postby bmk » Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:25 pm

Another good Festival weekend. 8-) 1100 miles in 4 days, with some good riding and good stop offs. We lost a few hours with train delays at the tunnel which was a shame, but it's the first time I've been delayed by Eurotunnel so not a bad record in general.

The Festival itself was significantly bigger this year, better laid out, more stands, more space and more catering (but same slow service). Once again they had a really eclectic mix of bikes, everything from Honda C90's and CG125's through to ultra exotics, as well as all the cafe bikes, brats, scramblers, trackers and ride a wrecks.

There appears to be little of the London hipster trendiness that marks out things like the Bike Shed events, which can appear a bit cliquey. The French are very inclusive, if it's got two wheels it's good enough. Hence CG125's rub shoulders with MV 750's and the like. Similarly, the paying public span all age ranges, lots of families, lots of girls from teenagers into women in their 60's, many riding their own bikes and taking to the track, which is great to see.

It's the same in the bike park, the range of bikes is similarly wide, scooters, 125's, Gold Wings, classics, sports bikes, GS's, Harley's, cruisers, etc. there's a bit of everything. It would be great to see that kind of bike scene here, where everyone's a biker rgardless of what they ride. There's a huge lack of snobbishness in France in that regard, and much less of the tribal divisions we get here between different types of bike riders. It would also be great to see the same amount of younger riders over here as well, and not just old duffers such as myself. :oops:

Lots of photo's. I'll try and get some up over the next few days.
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Postby bmk » Tue Jun 23, 2015 6:57 pm

Early start on Thursday had us knocking on the door for breakfast at The Super Sausage on the A5 near Towcester, always worth dropping in. :ugeek:

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A delay at the tunnel was a bit of a bummer, but once out into France we made it over to Lille in reasonable time after the first of numerous stops at a Patisserie. :handgestures-thumbup: Legend Motors was a much smaller shop than their advertising and magazine articles would suggest, but it looked very quaint sat on a cobbled street in the Royal Quarter of the city.

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Our hotel was pretty central, directly opposite the train station, so after a quick spruce up we headed out for food.

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Next morning we headed of for Reims in the heart of the Champagne district, riding through fields upon fields of grape vines, and through small villages each of which seemed to have at least half a dozen champagne producers. Over the course of an hour we must have past a few hundred of them. You always think of the half dozen or so major names, and supermarket own brand champagnes, so it was surprising to see so many.

Just outside of Reims, we hit the start / finish straight of the old GP circuit, eerily empty and abandoned by the side of the road, though some restoration appears to be in progress. We picked up a leaflet which showed the layout of the circuit, which was a road course, so obviously it would've been rude not to do a lap while we were there. :D

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Postby bmk » Tue Jun 23, 2015 7:13 pm

From Reims it was onto the outskirts of Paris, it appeared to be a bit of a dodgy area to be honest, but when I enquired about where to park the bikes, the receptioist gave us the code to the secure undergorund car park, with just one other bike in. Result. :ugeek:

Next morning it was a short 15 minute ride to the circuit and the Festival, after a quick detour into Linas for breakfast and provisions from the Patisserie first. 8-)

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Postby bmk » Tue Jun 23, 2015 7:16 pm

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Postby bmk » Tue Jun 23, 2015 7:18 pm

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Postby bmk » Tue Jun 23, 2015 7:34 pm

We left the Cafe Racer Festival around five and had a pleasant late afternoon, cleared the outskirts of Paris quickly, and had a lovely ride through the countryside and forests to Evreux. I'd never been before but it was a nice find just 75 miles out from Paris.

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Next morning we were packed early and ready only to find my old Beemer wouldn't start, curious as it had a new battery only recently. Still, my two willing assistants got it bump started several times on the way to Calais, for which I was grateful. Another short delay at the tunnel gave me time to investigate and the rpoblem was soon traced to a loose battery terminal, not immediately obvious as BMW helpfully locate the battery under the petrol tank. :tosser

But it now started on the button, :D and once out of the tunnel we hit the motorway to 25 miles of filtering on the M25 past Gatwick and Heathrow. :twisted: However, we soon got to Beaconsfield, exited the motorway and had a clear and quick 8-) 100 mile run home, arriving at 9.00pm after 1,100 miles in the four days.

Four days was perhaps a day too little, but it was all I had and we packed a lot in. Though on the flip side, seeing the chaos that has erupted in Calais this week, we probably did the right thing coming back a day earlier than we have in the past. :handgestures-thumbup:
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Postby Tonibe63 » Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:04 pm

Thanks for the write up Martin :ugeek: .
A good mix of the traditional and modern take on the Cafe racer/street scrambler scene along with some real left field stuff that we don't get to see over here (they probably do exist but maybe shunned by our established bike meets). The lines are certainly more blurred over there.
Shame you didn't have a chequered flag for the old race course 8-) .
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Postby bmk » Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:28 pm

Tonibe63 wrote:A good mix of the traditional and modern take on the Cafe racer/street scrambler scene along with some real left field stuff that we don't get to see over here (they probably do exist but maybe shunned by our established bike meets).

I think it's one of the nice things about it, they're very inclusive, if it's got two wheels it's good enough, there doesn't appear to be much bike snobbery about. People seem to pay as much attention to small, cheeky bikes well done as they do to exotica. On the way in we spotted a nicely done CB500 twin, and loads of people walked by some really nice bikes to take a look, it probably wouldn't have got much of a second glance here.
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Postby Digga » Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:48 pm

The push start stuff was nothing compared to the time and effort that you put into the weekend jaunt Martin.

Thanks again ... :handgestures-thumbup:

A right nice weekend away with some nice riding thrown in. Motorway, dual carriageway, A roads B roads, little used tracks and what seemed like rat runs made for a good mix. Mr Garmin and the weather played nicely as well.
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Postby bmk » Tue Jun 23, 2015 10:12 pm

Digga wrote:A right nice weekend away with some nice riding thrown in. Motorway, dual carriageway, A roads B roads, little used tracks and what seemed like rat runs made for a good mix.

Not forgetting the rutted cobbles as well. :lol:
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Postby skunkyd » Wed Jun 24, 2015 7:08 am

Some great pics their Martin, many thanks for taking the time to post.
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Postby b8ppj » Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:46 pm

Many thanks for sorting this one out Martin, always good to get away with mates for a blast and giggles 8-)
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Postby Digga » Wed Jun 24, 2015 6:05 pm

bmk wrote:
Digga wrote:A right nice weekend away with some nice riding thrown in. Motorway, dual carriageway, A roads B roads, little used tracks and what seemed like rat runs made for a good mix.

Not forgetting the rutted cobbles as well. :lol:


Oh Yes - and those .. bet they're a treat in the winter ...
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Postby Tonibe63 » Sun Jan 17, 2016 2:49 pm

This weeks Classic Car Show (episode 2) on ITV4 has Jodie Kidd driving the historic circuit at Reims :ugeek:
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Postby bmk » Sun Jan 17, 2016 5:38 pm

Tonibe63 wrote:This weeks Classic Car Show (episode 2) on ITV4 has Jodie Kidd driving the historic circuit at Reims :ugeek:

I hadn't heard about Reims GP Circuit, but first stumbled across it when riding on my own back through France about 17 years ago, when I came off an island and literally rode straight into the deserted pits area, it's really quite surreal.

But, I saw Jodie Kidd's Classic Car Show article when it was first aired early last year, which prompted me to add it into the route as it was only about 40 miles out of our way, and to try and find / ride the full circuit as she did. Plus, there's some nice riding to be had in the Champagne region anyway. :D It turned out to be prettty straightforward to find the route of the old circuit, as we found a pamphlet with the circuit map on in one of the pit boxes. :lol:

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