Saturday, August 10, 2013

Velodromes and Museums in France

I guess since my kid-days, I've always had a passion for cars and bikes - push bikes that is!

Strangely enough on our travels to Europe, well France and Italy really, I've always searched out Motor Museums and Velodromes.
There's a site that documents much of the velodromes world wide and I've marked them on my Google Earth. Many of these have been contributed by Barry Langley. How did you manage this Barry???
Check out "World Velodromes on - its an old site but full of info still.

Anyway back to the story - before leaving on a trip, I'd just quietly note the velodromes in the areas we would be travelling without telling Sue (the Wife). As we would be travelling through some regional town in France, I'd say - I need to drive down this road, I have a feeling that there might just be a velodrome nearby.

To this day, Sue believes I can sniff out a velodrome anywhere in the world!!!!!

The photos below are from the Chatellerault Car and Bike Museum south of Chinon in the Loire.
Although predominantly cars and motor bikes, there some fine examples of pushies as well.

Chatellerault Car and Bike Museum

These are from another museum in the east Loire - Valency.

In LYON somewhere in a back laneway
Seen in Lyon opposite the restaurant where we had lunch.

These books sparked off my Velodrome search - it mentiond the one in Senlis, north of Paris. It was our first stop - I told Sue that it had a very historic cathedral, and it did but it also had the Senlis velodrome that was mentioned in Greg Moody's first book, Two Wheels.

The Velodrome in Dijon. It was in a very sad state when I was there in 2009.
I heard that it was to be demolished. When there I discovered a bunch ride that started just outside the walls of the Velodrome. There were quite a few of these velodromes in France in a sad state.
Velodromes are all over France but many over the years have fallen into disrepair. Like track racing all over the world it seems to be a poor cousin to road racing. Yet back in the days of Merckx, the roadies would keep supple by riding the winter sixes. Here's some of the velodromes that I've encountered on our trips to France.
Like this one in Senlis, north of Paris. I'd read the cycling novels by Greg Moody about an American cyclist that was in this team for the Tour de France. A bit of a Sam Spade murder thriller. More about that another day.

This velodrome is in Auxerre and looked to be abandoned as well.
One track that is in constant use these days is in Paris and named after Jacques Anquetil.
On our various trips, I've had the opportunity to ride the velodrome with my friend Michel Briat.
Michel came to Australia for the World Masters Track Championships in Sydney and eventually won his world stripes at Manchester recently.
The velodrome at Vincennes Paris is 500 metres and was the site of the finish of the Tour de France when Eddy Merckx won all of his five victories.
Merckx riding a victory lap with Poulidor and Lopez-Carril after his 5th TdF win at Vincennce Velodrome.
It was the site of the TdF finish from 1968 to 1974.
Vincennes Velodrome named after Jacques Anquetil was built in 1894 and used for the summer Olympic in Paris for the 1900 and 1924 Games. After our last visit to Paris in 2012, it has be fully rebuilt rather than resurfaced to ensure that this historic venue is used for many more years to come.


leon sims said...

Yeah if!
Tell me again about the tooth fairy.....
Sue(the wife)

Rhodesia said...

We must get to see some of these museums one day.... Diane