Ride UK Classics: Issue 130 - Proper UK en Francais - Ride UK BMX

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Ride UK Classics

Ride UK Classics: Issue 130 – Proper UK en Francais

Intro and photos by Nathan Beddows

Like most ‘Brits’ I’ve been to France a load of times – and like most brits I never really paid that much attention to it. Our closest foreign neighbour, whoop-dee-doo, not exactly The Bahamas is it? They speak different, they eat different and they ‘aint exactly that fond of us either, I’m often led to believe.

I got an email a while ago saying that a small English contingent of Proper Bike Co’s rather large team were planning a ‘trails’ trip through France on the lead-up to the annual FISE competition in Montpellier. The trip was to be hosted by none other than French BMX legend, David Lombard, and that we would be driving down in his Volkswagon ‘Sharon’ people carrier after getting the overnight ferry across from Portsmouth. Proper’s crew was going to consist of Gav Shortall,

Max Wood and Mike Miller. Sounded pretty good I thought. From my previous experience you always get a much better feel for a place when you’ve got a native tour-guide to show you the best bits and save you having to do any awkward translations, so that was cool too.

There are only a few things that can really ruin any well-planned roadtrip. Rain and vehicle breakdown are definitely on that list, and rain and vehicle breakdown is what we got straight off the bat. The rain, which I’m sure we must of brought over with us, was the first f@ck up and forced us to drive further south missing off a few destinations that were flooded. The extra driving pushed poor Sharon over the edge and she gave up just a few days in with a busted wheel bearing. As a symbol of our destitute frustration I pumped this news out onto the rideukbmx website and I think everyone thought that the was a lost cause from there on in…

That was not to be the case though. The warmth of hospitality we received from the locals of our first proper destination, Cahors trails, could only be mirrored by the sun, which had finally emerged to dry them all out. This set the tone for the rest of the trip and once again we were all reminded of how amazing BMX can be in that complete strangers would welcome you into their homes with open arms simply because you shared a common bond and interest with them. This was the same at the rest of the other spots we visited. Having David with us meant that all local customs were respected and adhered to, most notably being at the dinner table. Respecting everything from the cheese to the wine to the coffee to the bread was of vital importance; especially the bread… and “Respect the pan” soon became the catchphrase of our trip.

Like I started in saying, it’s odd that you can visit somewhere a lotof times but never really know what it’s like until you get an in-depth tour from a local. The French are a proud nation and I think we often misinterpret that wrongly in our cynical and very typically British way of thinking.

I know that next time I swing over the channel I will look upon France with a completely different set of eyes – the most obvious being just how much BMX-related stuff is going on over there and how many amazing and varied sets of trails they have! Read on to see what I mean…

Barbeques and beers everyday at the trails, couldn’t really have asked for more!

Okay my hair sponsors insist I bring three cans with me

We were taken to this rather bizarre 6ft high 30ft odd wide quarter in a park next to a lake. Everyone blasted it and Max clicked this baby in. Good times.

Max Wood:
He’s scatty, ratty and looks a bit tatty – it’s Max Wood ladies and gentlemen! Goes higher than most through the trails with some big moves to boot, he’s definitely got the boost-button built in somewhere. A qualified Tree Surgeon during the day definitely with a heart of gold, Max certainly likes a drink and a laugh – the cheeky chappy tried his hardest to wind up David Lombard throughout the whole trip, at one point declaring: “I may be a prick Dave, but you’ll always be French!”

What did you think of going to France as a riding destination?
Amazing!!! The people were rad and have so many good trails, and pubs with 130 different types of beer!

What did you think of French bowl riding legend, Mr David Lombard, acting as tour-guide, team-coach and driver?
He’s a dude!!! Knows how to take a joke if you can respect the bread haha. You can take the David out of France but you can’t take France out of David, even if I am a prick haha!

What did you think of the trails we visited?
Real nice. Bit diverse, from in the woods with lines all over the place, to huge straight dirt jumps in a field.

And the locals?
Everyone was amazing. They put us up and showed us a real good time.

Any spots you wanna go back to and ride some more?
Really want to visit La Source again when all lines are going.

What about the food? What does ‘respect the pan’ mean to you?
David lombard!

What happened at FISE? How many French-Turks did you manage to fend off in one night?
Me and Alex Platt did pretty well at not getting stabbed, beaten and run over to death. But I think three is the magic number mate.

If you’re so hard how come you brought so much hairspray with you?
Hahaha I wouldn’t go as far to say I’m hard. But the hairspray…erm er it’s my girlfriends… Don’t know how that got there? Okay my hair sponsors insist I bring three cans with me LOL!!!

How nuts was Alex Platt’s street gap in Montpellier?
Big big big! What a loon!

As the only person remotely playing… what did you think of the ‘circle game’?
You owe me a few now as I keep looking at the pics from my phone – that game’s gay haha!

La Machines trails… Big dirt contest style jumps everywhere with a picturesque river running alongside it, complete with a ropeswing and bridge jump. Just perfect for cooling off Max Wood after boostin’ a tyregrab 3.

We stayed at The Garden Park one night on the way down to Toulouse and rode into the wee hours of the night. Gav backwall wallride.

Tuck

Gav Shortall:
Gav Shortall, this mega-shredder is going places and he doesn’t even realize it yet! In complete control of his bike the whole time whether he was blasting trails, cruising the streets or flowing through the park. Gav was always up for a laugh but still maintained a thoughtful demeanor throughout the trip. Observant, polite and considerate, Gav was always the first person to offer to split the bill or wash-up. Gav definitely has a passion for all things ‘velo’ and openly admitted to being a race-geek (look out Lance Armstrong!).

What did you think of going to France as a riding destination?
France has never let me down in the past as a riding destination. I’ve been there four times now and ridden something interesting each time, so in terms of BMX I’d say it’s quite the place. Go now!

What did you think of French bowl riding legend, Mr David Lombard, acting as tour-guide, team-coach and driver?
Considering David had a lot on his mind; from start to finish he managed to keep a level head, which is admirable… He didn’t mind having his balls broken on a daily basis either, so I think he did well.

What did you think of the trails we visited?
Although we only visited three sets of trails on a ten day trail trip, the spots we went to were really good and quite different from each other, which was cool. Good weather, nice people and banquet style barbeques really made up for the lack of trails we went to.

And the locals?
The locals we met were quite possibly the icing on the cake of our trip. Two people who were more than hospitable and treated us like kings were Lionel from Flenac trails (Cahors) and Jeremy from La Source (Toulouse). The French may have a reputation for being slighty arrogant and maybe even rude at times, but with regards to these chaps that reputation couldn’t be further from the truth. Both guys made our stay an absolute pleasure. Thanks guys!

Any spots you wanna go back to and ride some more?
Definately La Source! Unfortunately I’ve been having some heavy dental issues recently, which just so happened to flare up in a big way minutes after we arrived at the trails and I didn’t end up riding for very long. Kindly Jeremy has invited us back for their annual jam at the end of summer.

What about the food? What does ‘respect the pan’ mean to you?
What kind of tweaker drinks coffee out of a bowl?
Bread was for eating last time I looked…

What was FISE like?
FISE was definitely something… I don’t have much experience riding at huge events like FISE so sitting on a roll-in with the likes Rob Darden and TJ Ellis is quite surreal, but pretty fun regardless. What’s the deal with everyone having their own elaborate fight story?

How hard is Max Wood?
You can crack diamonds on the boy!

Gav went flipping nuts at La Machines trails and was doing all kinds of crazy sh*t straight out of the ‘97 DK Dirt Circuit. Boom!

I did a lookback and both hands slipped off the grips… I think it must have looked like some barspin thing and I came down on my shoulder.

Mike Miller no handed twist avec la style.


Mike Miller:
This young man perhaps didn’t have quite as much luck on the trip as the others did, painfully tearing the ligaments in his shoulder only a few days in. He took it like a man though and I don’t think I heard him whinge about it once after he crashed. Mike definitely can’t help but make riding a bike look good when he was fit and well though. Goes massive and does every trick super clicked, but then you should all know that by now. Mike Miller lives up to the hype…

What did you think of going to France as a riding destination?
France is amazing; there are so many good spots and so many cool people. Every time I go to France on a trip or whatever I have a really good time.

What did you think of French bowl riding legend, Mr David Lombard, acting as tour-guide, team-coach and driver?
It was cool having David as the man in charge. I’ve known him for a little while, but it was really cool to get to know him much better. Respect the bread!

What did you think of the trails we visited?
I kind of missed out on getting to ride any trails other than Cahors, but they were so much fun. Wish I could have got to ride at La Source… Place looked amazing!

And the locals?
The locals were too good… Everyone was really fun to hang out with and ride with. Letting us all stay at their houses and making food for us each day was way more than I expected we would get, it was amazing. Barbeques and beers everyday at the trails, couldn’t really have asked for more!

Any spots you wanna go back to and ride some more?
I would definitely like to go back to Cahors just because of how much of a good time I had there already. I would really like to go back to La Source too, just because they looked amazing and I didn’t get to ride them.

What about the food? What does ‘respect the pan’ mean to you?
The food was good everyday I think. Other than eating so much bread that I could have blown up! David’s cabbage concoction in Cahors was a bit wild, but it was good. I think Max was told to respect everything that was French!

You got pretty badly hurt halfway through, what happened?
We went to some random spot near Carmoux that was just a really wide concrete quaterpipe in the middle of some park near a lake. I did a lookback and both hands slipped off the grips… I think it must have looked like some barspin thing and I came down on my shoulder. Went to the hospital and they said I had torn the ligaments in my shoulder. No riding for a month and an early plane home!

And obviously it made sense to fly home early, did it suck missing FISE?
Yeah man I was pretty gutted I had to fly home early… I was really looking forward to FISE as it’s always the first contest of summer and a ton of cool people I don’t really get to see too often go. It’s just a really good chance to hang out with everyone. I’ve been to FISE a few years before and had a sick time; I missed it last year too though because some kid landed on my head haha. Banging luck yeah?

Where did you get your red hat from? It’s pretty darn dashing!
Haha the red hat is the best man. I got it for £1.00 from a charity shop, fucking bargain.

How come you didn’t get into the ‘circle game’?
It’s pretty dangerous man… Haha I don’t know, I don’t think it had really kicked off too much while I was still on the trip. Either that or I was just completely oblivious to it (Editors note: yes, very oblivious).

Jeremy was quite simply the most perfect host in Toulouse. He’s not shy of clicking in a big turndown over a wild step-up hip either!

The warmth of hospitality we received from the locals of our first proper destination, Cahors trails, could only be mirrored by the sun, which had finally emerged to dry them all out.

Mike Miller, up there and holding it. Now this is what it’s all about!

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