Saturday, 30 August 2014

Vive la Velorution !

We spent a week with a whole bunch of velo associations in the southwest corner of Brittany. The seeds have been sprouting here for a while and there is more cyclists and better cycling to come. It's like a Breton Bermuda triangle where cars disappear by the minute.

First up we went to Concarneau and met up with Remi and Guillaume at C.R.A.D.E


The council have provided them with a little workshop in the town centre. There is a drop in bicycle repair shop here once or twice a week. We popped in for tea and no one came to fix their bike. There isn't many cyclists here in Concarneau yet. It's a very weird small town based around a massive city centre carpark for the touristic medieval walled town, cruise ships and a derilict industrial fishing harbour. But there is aswell a very beautiful cycle path on the old train line which takes you a km or two out of town.  

The main workshop, which is out of town, is much bigger and far from anyone. But while we were there, quite a few people came. One young man got an amazing deal on a french postie bike with racks and bags and everything. He was well chuffed with his new 'beach-picnic-party-bike'.
Kevin couldn't resist a little ride on the tallbike. 
DSCN3574     DSCN3582

We had done our show in the 'Bio Marche' which was a bit of a tough one. Lots of noise from the buses and people wondering in and out from the show. So we felt like we had to do something else to regain our spirits.
So we went to the housing estate where Remi and Guillaume used to do a Dr.Bike. It only took a couple of minutes of us cycling around with the tallbike and the music on and we had all the boys from the estate cycling with us. We stopped in the park, all the bikes got a bit of air in theire tyres, a little oil and a few tweaks with the breaks. We set up the pedal power and everyone had a go. It was fun.

The French like their plays on words and 'manifes a velo' so the workshop was full with placards.

Quimper is just up the road from Concarneau and home to 'Quimper en Roue Libre', something like Freewheeling Quimper, another game on words. It's a bit of a one woman power house. Claire has arrived in Quimper about ten years ago and didn't cycle here for a long time, because it is pretty dire. In the end her urge to cycle won and she is campaigning real hard now to make Quimper a better place to cycle in. She organises bike rides in and around the city and makes sure the press is there every single time.We were interviewed about our first impressions arriving in the city and then again to give the full story about our journey and travelling theatre.

We did a little 'Velorution' to the 'Bio Marche' where we played our show to an appreciative audience.

Here is 'Super Claire' on her bike and Mark a real breton who likes to laugh.

The next day it was market day, where Claire has a stall to raise awareness about her campaign and cycling. So we went with her and set up the pedal power. It is a very busy market. People here in Quimper are generally quite grumpy, so it was nice to see them smile.

But not everyone is grumpy! We had the pleasure to meet Zorro and his trusty stead Tornado. Wow!


And then it was down the road to Plobannalec. Once we found the cycle route it was a very lovely ride. But we had left quite late, chatting to Zorro for ages.... and so we arrived ina bit of a rush. Find the house, cycle to the cafe, find the Zumba is setting up, hide behind the nautical centre by the beach to do the show out of reach of Zumba noise... phew. And then we had time to arrive, actually say hello to Clement and his housemates and friends. What a beautiful bunch of people! They live in a little house in the country side. Clement is setting up some kind of Velo Association, not sure yet how and what exactly it will be. What ever it will be we are sure it will be fun! This little corner of Brittany, the pays Bigouden is great for cycling. For a change it is flat and there is lots and lots of little quiet roads to explore. This is what we did.

We met in Pont'l'Abbe and went for a bike ride to the beach somewhere around Treguennec.  


There we did our show in the most beautiful setting one could whish for and had a pic nic afterwards.
Here we are setting up. Lots more people came from the beach to watch.


Claire cycled all the way from Quimper with a friend and Leo was prepareing flags all day.

And Victor was also staying at the house. He's a very funny Romanian guy, cycling around the world really really slowly with a big flag on his bike and no money in his pockets. If you speak romanian here's his blog If he writes his stories as funny as he tells them it should be a good read.

DSCN3770 We had so much fun. We went to a real Festnoz and did some traditional trance dancing, cycled through the darkest night with no lights, did three shows in the end, went to the little market and had an absolutely great time. We could have easily stayed here for a while, but we had a gig to play in Plougastel and we wanted to see the most beautiful squat in France on the way, so we had to say good bye. If we'll come back to Britanny for sure we'll come back here.

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