The Boozy Bike Riders from London

Eiffel tower & champs de mars
On a beautiful day a couple of weeks ago on the Champ de Mars opposite the Eiffel Tower, I came across …
The London to Paris Bike Ride
A bunch of cyclists (I hope they are better at pedalling than French spelling and grammar) as they arrived from London. The race is a charity race named Londontoparisbikeride. It takes place several times a year.
The London to Paris Bike Ride
What’s striking is that, although most of them are racing for charity, sometimes in order to prevent strokes and other health-related problems, a lot of them were grossly overweight (it doesn’t show so much in my pictures, for some reason, I only kept the slimmer cyclists) and they seem to like their booze too. I used to be a serious mountain biking addict (I still cycle up and down very very very steep dirt tracks in the Pyrenees every Summer) and it would never have crossed my mind to down a dose of whisky after Paris-Roubaix. The last thing you want to do after sport, I find, is drink booze. Besides, God knows that alcohol is a great way of keeping in shape and avoiding strokes, isn’t it? My friends, I think that Britain has a real problem with food and (mostly) drink (25% of Britons are classed as obese, in what is known to be one of the “most obese nations of the world”)! I know, this isn’t new, mostly regarding alcohol abuse, as beautifully depicted and engraved by Hogarth in 1751 (and here). Hogarth was working with Henry Fielding (the man who wrote Tom Jones, one of my favourite novels) in order to ban gin. These 2 prints were, in fact, propaganda, aimed at pointing the finger at the “lower class of people” in Britain. Yet, the fat gentlemen drinking the “mild national drink” were, by no way, leading a healthy life either. True, in those days, water wasn’t drinkable, most of the time. Hence beer.
The London to Paris Bike Ride
All bikers had this funny way of lifting their bikes in front of the Tower, in Weight-lifting style …
The London to Paris Bike Ride
And again… I like the finger-pointing gesture …
The London to Paris Bike Ride
A group photo, I liked the mixture of blue and red jerseys.

Yann Gourvennec
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