Monday, August 3, 2020

Postponed Tour de France: when the bike returns to the saddle

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Everyone has their Tour de France. While the Grande Boucle runners should have started this Saturday from Clermont-Ferrand (Puy-de-Dôme) and join Lyon (Rhône) for the fourteenth stage, it’s Patrice, alias Patoche, who is thinking of his own.

The companion of the Emmaüs community of Bourgoin-Jallieu to the south of the capital of Gaul is planning a solitary bike tour which should lead him successively to Puy-en-Velay then to Haute-Vienne before going back down to Clermont and Bourgoin. We are still worried about its ability to cover the distance, but the president of the community reassures us. Patoche has already joined Paris on a saddle for the annual meeting of the movement created by Abbé Pierre in 1949.

“The first edition, what we called the Recyclades (Editor’s note: a tribute to the work of communities that collect and recycle all kinds of goods) took place in 2007, recalls Alain Maguet, former technical director in the construction industry now retired. It was far from obvious, because you have to teach some people to ride a bike. The stages are still 100 km long. “A real Tour de France, we tell you.

Each year, these battered people of life, many of whom are undocumented, snort in the countryside and go up to the capital from Bourgoin, identified as the cycling community in the Emmaüs movement. An adventure immortalized by France 2 in a very moving report called “L’Ascension du Mont vend-tout”. A reference to the famous Provençal pass. In 2020, due to the Covid-19 epidemic, the trip to the capital had to be canceled.

700 bikes recovered per year

This is only a postponement as the bike culture seems to be ingrained. “We collect around 700 bikes a year and sell 500, calculates Claire Dupin, co-manager of the community. To the point that we provide certain other communities. Three volunteers run the workshop, which is running at full speed. This Saturday, Jean-Yves, a retired math teacher, presents the bike on which he is going to get started.

The organizers of the Tour de France have decided to give a boost by offering 1,500 bikes and by encouraging the collection of used or unused bikes in France. The ambitious objective is to recover a total of 5,000, or around 150 at each stage. Former champion Thomas Voeckler sponsored the operation. For each bicycle collected, ASO, the race organizer, brings an additional 30 euros to help retype the bicycle. “Many of our clients cannot consider finding a job without means of transportation. When they get up very early and cannot count on public transport, the bicycle becomes essential ”, concludes Alain Maguet.

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