over riverWhat is it about guys, dirt and hard rock?

For two days, a sleepy village (because the main advantage of a village is tranquility) was jolted awake at 6 a.m. to the dulcet strains of AC/DC.

This in a country where you aren’t supposed to cut your grass before 9 a.m. on Saturday or 10 a.m. on Sunday.

The music accompanied over 1,000 testosterone-charged mountain bikers (there supposedly were a few women, but I didn’t see any, this year or any other) who were going to ride to the highest point of the Black Mountains, and back down.

Some took buses to the top and just rode down.

The good news is that they take little paths and don’t block the roads. These are VTTs, or vélo-tout-terrain (all-terrain bike). They scoff at roads. The bad news is that an M.C. babbled nonstop over throbbing music from dawn until dusk. For two days.

arrival stageBased on what was forced into our ears, M.C.s must have to pass a unintelligence test.

Animation consisted of bike acrobatics and, this being France, wine tasting, of the Amethyst wine from the Limousis caves.

Although these guys came to ride bikes 25-100 kilometers, they weren’t about to walk 20 extra steps. Many ignored the free parking lot with its shortcut to the activities, sure they could find something even closer.

Maybe they were just staying true to the unwritten French rule of not parking in the parking lot. Maybe because there’s usually a fee. The French (and some other European nationalities….I’m looking at you, Belgians) will put their cars in peril rather than pay for parking. And even in a free parking lot, they pay little attention to those silly white lines marking out spaces for each car. Mostly they specialize in stationnement gênant–blocking sidewalks, driveways, doors, other cars. Car mechanics must make a fortune on realignments.

The law-abiders’ parking lot …. before
…and after. Crowded but not full. And now we’re back to empty grass.

Monday’s wake-up call was once again the singing of birds.





17 thoughts on “Hell on Wheels

  1. I think it is the mad contrast that shocks the soul.

    Our village is mainly silent, and I MEAN silent, except for the annual festival, which is riotously noisy for three days.
    The only other thing that could be defined as noise making is the guys wheeling the giant communal wheelie-bin down our pitched and rutted street to it’s perch by the river once or twice a week.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My sympathies. One of my pieces of advice for life in France is never give a Frenchman a microphone. For a start they never know how to use them, despite their addiction to them, quite apart from the inanity of what they might say. I got to endure a man shouting into a microphone in what amounted to an aeroplane hangar yesterday (so you can imagine how terrific the accousitcs weren’t). No one, not even all the French people I was with, could understand a word he said but he persisted. But it was only for one afternoon.

    The event itself was fun, and noisy — classic and vintage cars making a heritage traffic jam. Thousands of spectators as usual, lots of blasts of the horn (including from drivers who accidentally got caught up in it but didn’t mind much). Parking was quite efficiently directed, so nobody (except some bloke in a jeep) managed to inconvenience others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I must admit it would be difficult to come up with something witty for each of 1000+ riders. But considering most of the participants were in the mountains somewhere far away, I think they could have foregone the MC and music altogether, at least until riders started arriving.


  3. Wow, a real get-off-my-lawn moment! 🙂 For all those whose parking blocked driveways and so on, I’d have been tempted to go around and let air out of tires.
    I’ve never understood the allure of mountain bikes, given how damaging they are to the terrain the riders are supposedly appreciating. As for that “music” at that hour, Il va sans dire. Sounds like a very entertaining weekend all around.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Really, the worst part is the 6 a.m. “music,” aka “pounding.” The parking has gotten better–they didn’t block driveways this time, but then, it wasn’t hot. When it’s hot, all bets are off. They will park in the shade, and if they could get into your living room to get shade, they would. The thing is, the town set up huge fields for parking, they are biking 100 kms, so why make such an effort to park a few meters closer? I brought this up at my Pilates class today, and everybody laughed and said that the French will automatically park wherever they feel like. As for the environmental side, they do tear up the woods, but they are better than the motorized “quads” which have more wheels and make more noise.
      Really, it’s just the 6 a.m. noise! Obviously I get grouchy when I don’t sleep. My next post will be a paen to pastoral prettiness. Or food.


    1. They are not bound by the finite limitations of lines, curbs or rights-of-way. It’s a different way of thinking. I would never leave my car with two wheels 6″ higher than the others.


  4. Sounds like an exciting event for a normally “tranquille” French village. I’m sure the calm and the sound of birds on Monday morning was welcomed by all after a chaotic weekend of music and fast talking MCs! 🙂


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