If I do not despair when I see an adult on a bicycle is an uplifting thought then the annual parade at the Velo-city conferences is the an evening for having your despair blown away for months to come.
Host city Nantes threw of its indifferent weather of the last few days, brought out the sunshine and showed itself off in style, in particular the old city with its wonderful buildings.
I don’t know if it was a record, but it even felt bigger than the 5000 riders reported in Vienna two years ago. I will guess it was one of the slowest parade rides because we packed those narrow streets and cycle paths along the Loire. We stopped, we started, we waved we smiled and we rang our bells in a celebration of wheels in motion.
The other great news was a return to an evening ride and a family occasion. The rush hour Bike Brekkie in Adelaide last year certainly got us noticed by the commuters and morning radio phone ins, but I enjoyed the fun and diversity of the people of Nantes blending with the international cycling community.
And mercifully it was almost lycra free, the brightness and colour came from the bikes, the cycle chic and of course a significant peloton in orange.
If L’Alpe D’Huez has an annual Dutch corner for the Tour de France then the Velo-city parade definitely has one too.
For a great finish we ended up in Nantes playground, the parkland and attractions of the Isle de Nantes, an island sitting in the middle of the Loire. A line of riverbank bars facing the sunset in one direction and the city skyline in the other was so great an attraction I am not sure how many participants actually made the final few hundred metres to the end of the ride. We didn’t.
Updated – Over 7000 participants were counted. Another Velo-city record!