Author Topic: PBP considered as a project.  (Read 905 times)

PBP considered as a project.
« on: August 28, 2019, 11:38:02 am »
PBP is a magnificent example of French Committee work. It's only matched in my experience by Semaine Federale. There were a number of changes in the way it's run, largely the change from St Quentin to Rambouillet. I thought the venue worked well, and can foresee that the park could become a perfect site if the experience of Sem Fed could be applied.

The problem in a critical appraisal of events such as PBP is what I call 'amateur dramatic syndrome'. PBP gets close enough to a purely professional experience for some to forget that it's voluntary, and forget to make allowances. By the time you've had the medal placed over your head, you tend to have forgotten and forgiven any glitches on the way. If you're out of time, you dwell on the problems more.

The danger is that specific bottlenecks get under-reported, and you can be left over-time and wondering why you were never told about what would seem to be obvious pitfalls.

In filming this time we tended to avoid controls. There are two reasons for that. There are too many potential subjects to focus properly on what is happening, so we'd just go for people we know. Control restaurants are also very noisy. So we couldn't tell if 2015's problems had been solved.

The state of the £ made it inevitable that the Brits found control food expensive. Other English-speaking riders didn't report that. I had a few reports of payment problems, with one rider reporting 25 minutes in a queue while a till glitch was rectified. There were inevitable contrasts with LEL, where food payment was upfront. I have broached this subject in the past with controllers and French riders. The problem is that with so many French clubs supporting their own riders, it would be unfair to tie them in to using controls.

The controls are also run by local clubs, so they aren't completely consistent. The same is true of LEL, as controllers have a lot of leeway. There seems to be a problem in re-purposing the cafeteria tills to PBP, I have seen a reversion to manual systems in the past. As we largely avoided controls this time, I'd be interested to know what the experience was.

I sampled the food at the end. That followed the pre-payment model, and was served promptly, and I enjoyed it, although the marquee was getting a bit hot. That didn't seem to stop people hanging around, and it was good to see Danial performing his duty in shooing the stragglers out.

Others reported that the course changes increased the amount of climbing, and that late diversions were on poor roads. There was a feeling that group riding had declined, but there were also reports of sidewinds, which would have favoured small groups forming echelons.

Re: PBP considered as a project.
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2019, 12:14:48 pm »
I spent around 200 euros for the entire time in France.  I ate mostly in the controls and some were good value but others weren't.
But in the middle of the night, e.g Dreux , there is little choice. I mention Dreux because the hot option when I arrived was corned beef hash and for a stingy portion of that, some juice ,coffee and a banana , they relieved me of 13 euros.
 That was the only place that really registered as bad value. Some of the other food was superb and plentiful so I wouldn't mark the event as expensive overall.
Balanced against that was free drink, soup and cake at Mamers (a lifesaver for me ) and multiple locations along the route.
 PBP is what you make it. I could have spent less by looking for local shops etc. but I chose not to, except for a few beers.
I was also,I believe, ahead of the bulge and didn't encounter any long queues for food. If you're up against the limit, then it's a different game altogether.
The food choices and cost would not deter me from recommending PBP as an adventure project.

 

Re: PBP considered as a project.
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2019, 12:35:04 pm »
I was thinking of you when I was writing the above Madcow. Partly because of the sheep connection, but mainly due to our shared Sem Fed experience.

There was plenty of ad-hoc camping going on at Rambouillet, and that reminded me of Sem Fed. FF Velo had seconded a member of staff to help with PBP, so it's not too much of a stretch to think of a combination of PBP and SF. That would strike me as a win/win. The opportunity for families to camp in the park, and explore Yvelines, Chartres, Paris etc. while family members complete PBP would strike me as ideal. I'd jump at an opportunity like that. The Bergerie might have enough land to make that work, as most of the stock was indoors.

Re: PBP considered as a project.
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2019, 12:56:50 pm »
A couple that I know were staying in their campervan alongside the driveway at Rambouillet.
There were no facilities provided for them at all. I presume that they had to go up to the Sheepfold for water and toilets.
I think that the organisers will need to do more to address basic needs if they are going to recreate a "Village Federale".
Given the expanse of parkland available there is potential  and it could be self financing.
However, it is also obvious from other comments that motor vehicles need to be kept away from the finishing straight wherever possible.

All the start/finish locations in recent editions have their good points and bad ones. The good point for Rambouillet was that we rolled straight out into countryside.
No suburbs, no street furniture or kerbs and fewer of those nasty little downs and ups. However, that meant fewer spectators.
The bad points were exposed on Saturday in the rain. Some of my images of people queueing to sign on look like an army in retreat.

Re: PBP considered as a project.
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2019, 01:40:19 pm »
The separate teams running each control as a separate entity is interesting, although they all had similar facilities and menus.

What is interesting is that literally only Villaines worked out that 6,000 riders would be going to the toilet a lot.  Being shepherded into the control past a load of portaloos and urinals was really useful and properly thought out.  At Carhaix there was one male sit down toilet by the restaurant - I think there were others by the sleeping facilities but didn't walk over there this time.

Re: PBP considered as a project.
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2019, 06:06:55 pm »
I took 150 Euros & it worked out OK, I had a surprise the first night in my hotel when I ordered a pint of lager & it cost 8 euros, I nearly choked & fell over with shock, after all I am a Yorkshireman (Damon knows who I am), the rest went on food at controls & a supermarket visit, I blew my last 11 Euros on a fish n chip dinner on the ferry, the Baxter's bus stopped at the motorway services in Kent & I was back in pound land, it couldn't have worked out better.

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: PBP considered as a project.
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2019, 06:16:46 pm »
I had taken 200 Euros in cash, and had to take out 60 more.
I paid by card at several controls too.
I'm clearly a spendthrift.

That included spend on beer etc at the hotel before and after.

But I was down to my last 10 Euro when the Baxters Charabanc finally got to the ferry.
My Fish and Chips went on the card.

Re: PBP considered as a project.
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2019, 06:47:47 pm »
I took 150 Euros & it worked out OK, I had a surprise the first night in my hotel when I ordered a pint of lager & it cost 8 euros, I nearly choked & fell over with shock, after all I am a Yorkshireman (Damon knows who I am), the rest went on food at controls & a supermarket visit, I blew my last 11 Euros on a fish n chip dinner on the ferry, the Baxter's bus stopped at the motorway services in Kent & I was back in pound land, it couldn't have worked out better.

Remember I told you about our cracking three course meal in a truckstop for €11 each. That wasn't a Relais Routier, but this article tells all. Unfortunately the nearest one to the course, the Lion d'Or in Le Ribay, gets poor reviews.
http://www.weareneverfull.com/cafes-routiers-oh-to-be-a-trucker-in-france/#sthash.SzEhuaO5.dpbs

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small just Far Away at the back
Re: PBP considered as a project.
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2019, 07:47:52 pm »
I had 750 euro on my card before travelling, I have 45 euro on it now, but I accidentally paid for someone else's hotel so am 130 down.
That included all but the hotel in Evreux, because by that point the mastercard rate for the pound had popped above the rate I'd bought euros for on my currency card and 45 euros wasn't enough left to cover it.

Re: PBP considered as a project.
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2019, 09:08:36 pm »
Thanks Damon for the article on French Truck stops, I retired from Long distance trucking in 2012 after 17 years living in Truck stops, I chose to pocket my tax free night out money & lived on Corn Flakes & peanuts, 11 Euros for a 3 course meal is absolutely fantastic, I'd have weighed 18 stone driving in France, lol.

Redlight

  • Enjoying life in the slow lane
Re: PBP considered as a project.
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2019, 09:52:16 pm »
Best meal I had on PBP2011 was a three course lunch with a carafe of wine for 14 Euros at a restaurant somewhere just east of Fougeres, on my way back.
Between the Disney abattoir and the chemical refinery

Re: PBP considered as a project.
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2019, 11:44:54 pm »
Thanks Damon for the article on French Truck stops, I retired from Long distance trucking in 2012 after 17 years living in Truck stops, I chose to pocket my tax free night out money & lived on Corn Flakes & peanuts, 11 Euros for a 3 course meal is absolutely fantastic, I'd have weighed 18 stone driving in France, lol.

Brittany's a good place for Relais Routiers. The N12 is very much like the A1 circa 1990, with upgraded sections and bits of single carriageway, as at Le Ribay. LEL has a lot in common with PBP on that score.

It makes following PBP a relatively pleasant experience. Supporters essentially follow the route that PBP did in the early 70s. Many sections still have the Plane trees lining the road, and the odd faded sign for Renault motor oil. I did spot an 'Adult Store' on the N10 near Rambouillet, which reminded me of the A1.