Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pushing Pedals into the Past; Keeley Bolger Dons Vintage Fashion, Gorges on Fine Food and Admires the Glamorous Festivalgoers during a Memorable Twowheeled Adventure in Gorgeous Anjou in the Lower Loire Valley

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pushing Pedals into the Past; Keeley Bolger Dons Vintage Fashion, Gorges on Fine Food and Admires the Glamorous Festivalgoers during a Memorable Twowheeled Adventure in Gorgeous Anjou in the Lower Loire Valley

Article excerpt

Byline: Keeley Bolger

Afamily of four are taking turns to draw thick black moustaches on their upper lips with eyeliner. One dungaree-clad man perilously balances on his penny-farthing, as a nearby gramophone aptly cranks out the Gershwins's I Got Rhythm.

I could quite easily be on a film set but instead I'm at Anjou Velo Vintage, a twoday festival, which attracts fans of cycling and vintage fashion. More than 2,500 people have signed up to take part in different bike rides, with a crowd of 20,000 supporters cheering them on.

While I'm an enthusiastic cyclist, I give the more athletic 87km and 46km jaunts a wide berth and instead opt for the more gentle 35km pootle through the Loire, Montsoreau and back to the festival site in the pretty town of Saumur. Once I've found a suitable bike from the racks, which are heaving with vintage models, I join the starting line where a brass band bids bon voyage to the hundreds of cyclists. With no cars on the roads and gourmet pit stops dotted along the route, it's more Tour de fun than Tour de France. I regularly stop off for glasses of wine and nibbles from the wine caves of Souzay-Champigny and at every stop, feel a growing sense of relief that I've avoided the longer routes and can instead indulge myself.

I pedal through quaint farmland, whizz past windmills and wind peacefully through sleepy villages. But better than all of this is the company I keep on route. I'm now pedalling with new found friends of all ages, wearing all kinds of period dress. Some men boast oiled moustaches and Breton tops, while women brave perilously long dresses which threaten to - and on two occasions do - get caught in the bike wheels.

At Chateau de Montsoreau, a 15th-century castle on the river Loire, we stop for a lengthy picnic break. Flush-faced cyclists rest their limbs on the grassy mounds while refuelling with wedges of cheese and slices of lemon tart and gazing across the river Loire. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.