|Bike ride Home to Loupiac, and back via Severac le Chateau - 645 km round trip|
Click on the photo to see it better
|View from the campsite|
|Proud little 125cc in front of the chalet|
|Definitely a biker take-over!|
|The BMW is the adventure bike of choice for many.|
What impressed me most was that you could talk to anyone, including the presenters. Lots of people knew each other from previous meetings, but there were those who had come alone and for the first time. We all ate at long tables and of course the chat was essentially biker-oriented but it could veer right off. I met retired university professors, a Welsh fire safety inspector, an Aussie, a croupier, a restaurant chef, a graphic designer...
I watched a presentation by Eric Lobo called Arctic Dream on his amazing journey both physically and spiritually across Russia and through Alaska with the aim of riding the polar ice road to Tuktoyatuk, a road which ceased to exist from this year.
He faced minus seventy-four degrees C, a polar tornado, and recalcitrant authorities, but with help from unexpected quarters, and the addition of skis to his Harley Davidson bike, he made it. Everyone who watched his film left it moved by the experience.
|The Harley (with skis) that rode the Arctic sea ice|
They came back with the most amazing, stunning photos, and films shot while riding or from drones. Some showed scenery that stretched as far as the eye could see across the steppes, others showed problems encountered along the way - bikes that had fallen down, or broken down, terrible traffic, an accident... One of the most important things about adventure biking is how to deal with issues and problems, especially when on a tight budget!
During the weekend, some bikers were taken through their paces on the campsite on a little course among the trees that included a large sand pit that they had to navigate with the help of a professional trainer. That was great fun to watch. I did not join in as I'm hardly experienced enough, and don't even have my biker's licence.
|Gently does it over the (Saharan) sand...|
Funnily enough, on the way up, I was riding along the road about 150 km from Loupiac when a biker who had been taking a break took to the road in front of me. I wondered if he was going to the meeting, and I suppose he did too, because we ended up riding the rest of the way together. He very kindly held back because I respect the speed limit and go up hills with difficulty. We got to say hello once at the campsite where I introduced myself. I thought that typical of the esprit de biker of the meeting.
The journey back home was very similar to the one there, but I went via Severac le Chateau and stopped for coffee in Millau. Lunch was taken next to the dinkiest little single track bridge along the road.
|Dinky bridge for a perfect picnic spot|
|The view across the dinky bridge|
|My bike with its tank bag and Rok Straps, and the menhir de Bélinac|
The temperature was very different in Hérault and I was very happy to arrive home and shed my leather jacket and trousers, and grab a cool beer from the fridge.
It was a fab weekend, with some great people, new friends, lots of ideas and even more dreams. Certainly a birthday weekend to remember!