Blasting the past

Sometimes your view of the past can be greatly distorted, most of the time you only remember the good things and ignore the rest. At the weekend we rode in the 'La Retro 1903' historic bike ride organised by Anjou Velo Vintage. Starting from Angers via Brissac to Saumur covering a distance of 82 km. The route was created to celebrate the 100th edition of the Tour de France.

The ride was graced with the presence of several tour legends, notably Raymond Poulidor, Jean-Marie Leblanc, both pictured, Bernard Thévenet and Joop Zoetemelk. Part of the condition of the ride was that cycles only up to 1987 could be used; strictly no cleats or brake lever style gear shifters were allowed. We were supplied a bike for the ride from a pool of vintage cycles. It was a total lottery but in true Simpson style we landed a late 70's Peugeot, which turned out to be a gem of a bike. However good the bike, the use of down tube mounted gear shifters brought back many memories but did make you realise just how far bike technology has progressed.