Extracts from letters
I want to thank you all (organisers and helpers) for this wonderful experience. It was my first PBP, and I discovered a world full of people committed to serving the needs of riders, who need do nothing but pedal !
This helpfulness and the welcome in the various towns and villages made this first PBP a wonderful sporting and above all human adventure for me. Thanks again—I’m already looking forward to 2007.
Olivier Monatte, N°. 5172
I’d like to say how much I appreciated your courage, patience, kindness and helpfulness over the whole route from Guyancourt to Brest and back, and this goes for both the central organisation and the controls: the inspectors who checked the machines, the motorcyclists, the people directing traffic at the controls, the people looking after the dormitories, the helpers and others in the restaurants, and the others I’m certainly forgetting...
I’d like to say something to the young girl who was handing out her excellent Paris-Brest cake at the finish at 4.15 on Friday morning. The cake was so good I ventured to ask for seconds. Afterwards I thought I ought to have given her a tip as a reward, but when I went back for the third time she had vanished into the night...
Zivko Brajdic, N°. 310
...Around 300 km from the finish, I had the pleasure of riding with someone called François, from France. He was injured but gutsy. We decided to ride together to Paris without sleeping in order to finish in under 70 hours.
A spectator at a control asked me: «Are you riding with him?» I said: «Yes.» The spectator added: «But he’s sick.» I explained: «Yes, he’s sick, but we’re riding together so we can finish.» We did indeed finish in under 70 hours.
This was my most memorable experience, and I’d like to think that for this short section of the route I at least helped François to achieve his goal.
Dennis Richard Schaw, N°. 4578
...The American I helped before Villaines was the president of the Rocky Mountain Bike Club. His frame had broken before Mortagne on the way out (breaking a frame—unbelievable)... He was unable to find a bike shop in Mortagne to buy a bike, and an official at the control lent him his own carbon-framed bike. He made it to Brest okay on it, but the gearing was too low for him, and before Villaines he could no longer maintain his balance on this bike.
Not wanting to damage this carbon bike if he took a tumble, he packed!...
Jean-Philippe Battu, N°. 2875
N.B. Bravo to M. Beaudouin for helping out this American president by lending him a carbon bike ! That was quite something, when you bear in mind cyclists’ attachment to their bikes!
I am writing to you to thank you for the organisation of the event.
But during the randonnee I was a bit disgusted with the attitude of some of our randonneur "friends". Some did not understand what Paris-Brest really means and the atmosphere that it is the duty of participants to maintain. The fact that certain people were riding on the left-hand side of the road virtually as far as Mortagne au Perche shows a profound lack of respect for you organisers, and also for other participants.
The risks they take are reckless and endanger the existence of Paris-Brest-Paris. It would be a pity if there was an accident and the event was not run any more. I think that in future there will have to be a more radical approach towards penalties for these reckless individuals.
I also found that there was less talk among the bunch. On a randonnee like Paris-Brest-Paris it’s essential to talk, especially at night, so you can make good progress. Moreover, it means you get to know other people and thus other cultures and other approaches to things and you simply make friends.
Fortunately there were plenty of good things along the way, the welcome from people at the controls, at the roadside, and in the villages; a special thank you to the people of Gorron, the president of the local club, and the woman doctor...
Marc Lecuyer, N°. 103
Thank you for organising this event which allowed me to have a wonderful time together with my son, the YOUNGEST participant in the event.
He was the one who dragged me into this, but I’m happy to have been dragged in!
Eric Hamonic, N°. 2091
...My challenge was to take part in Paris-Brest-Paris in 2003, the year of my 50th birthday!
I had an amazing event. I rode with Russians, British, Americans, Japanese, and Italians, among many other nationalities. I encountered some bizarre bikes. I saw wonderful countryside and climbed 365 hills, with a total climb of 11,000 metres.
At the moment I don’t know whether I will take part in PBP again, but perhaps I will!!!
The only thing I know today is that Paris-Brest-Paris is no cakewalk.
Reynald Roche, N°. 2670
...I owe these memories, both beautiful and harsh and in every case of exceptional quality, to YOU, you who prepared our PBP, you who stayed awake with us and watched over us, who spared no effort throughout the event just as we did.
As a woman who set off alone and without assistance, I always found somebody ready to help me, a well-filled plate, a comforting word, a smile. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
I would also like to thank all the riders I met along the way—it was thanks to them that from time to time I was able to take the shelter of a wheel for a spell... If they ever read these lines and remember a blonde girl on a yellow bike with a bar bag, that was me. Thank you and bravo!
Long live PBP.
Sophie Matter, N°. 146,
Cyclo Club Vallee de Chevreuse (2nd PBP)
Those are just a few extracts from the many letters received from participants. We cannot publish them all, but you can be sure that we read your letters with great pleasure and take note of all your suggestions for further improvements in this legendary randonnee.