FORTY-FIVE Evesham Wheelers have recently returned from a unique and thought-provoking trip to Dieppe in Normandy, France.
The Wheelers became aware the annual Tour des Trois Vallees – a series of Audax rides organised by the Cyclo Club Dieppois – would be celebrating its 45th anniversary in June 2016.
Known locally as the Dieppe Raid, the event was started in 1972 by former Wheelers president Neville Chanin in commemoration of the original Dieppe Raid in 1942, when Canadian Allies suffered devastating losses.
Neville passed away in 2010, but members decided to celebrate the 45th anniversary as 45 Wheelers attended the event over the final weekend of June.
Upon arrival via the Newhaven ferry, everyone was welcomed to Dieppe by the mayor, director of sport for Dieppe and the president of the Cyclo Club Dieppois, before retiring to their hotel on the seafront ready for an early morning start.
The main event on Sunday featured rides ranging from 30km to 200km and saw cyclists from France, Germany, Holland, England, Wales and Scotland congregate at the local sportshall to start their adventure.
Eight Wheelers set off for the 200km, three for the 140km and 34 for the 100km and the routes were marked out on the roads and lanes of the countryside around Dieppe and included stunning hills and vales.
Everyone met at Saint-Aubin-le-Cauf for lunch – a stop perfectly situated on a cycle track which had been derived from an old steam railway line.
The finish at the sportshall was filled with those who had completed their rides, together with their supporters, whilst the mayor of Dieppe was presented with a commemorative 45-year Evesham club jersey by club chairman Steve Bullen.
The Wheelers received a prize for entering the greatest number of riders from one club and also another for having the youngest female to complete the 200km event.
After refreshments the members set out on the town of Dieppe to complete their weekend before travelling home a little tired but with a sense of huge achievement and plans are already afoot to attend again next year.