Jon Allison

Apr 042017

Recently, I told you a short story about my encounter with a little French boy during my participation in Paris-Brest-Paris 1995. I consider it to be my favorite of all of my experiences of the three PBP events I’ve participated in. Now, I want to tell you about what I think to be the most important. It happened during my first participation of Paris-Brest-Paris in 1991.

I arrived, with my friends, at the start of PBP in St. Quentin En Yvelines about 7:00p.m. Monday night. Our ride did not begin until 10:00 p.m. but we wanted to get there early to see the fastest riders in the 80 hour start. Already, there were hundreds of people along the route wanting to do the same. We had heard it was like the beginning of the Tour De France where the group takes off racing at speeds of 24m.p.h., or more,  through the outskirts of Paris. Their goal is to be the fastest finisher. We were not disappointed.

The ride started immediately at 8:00 p.m. consisting of about seven hundred of the best endurance riders in the world. The gun sounded and the peloton seemed slow to pick up speed. Then, all of a sudden, they took off. They circled around a rondpont, made a right turn, and were off like a rocket. I had never seen riders ride so fast! This was all happening among cheers of “Bonne Route!”, “Bon Chance!”,  “Bon Courage!” and “Allez à Brest!”

In no time they were out of sight.

My friend, Charlie Martin from Berea, Ohio (a PBP ancien) looked at me and wisely said, “You know, our start will be exactly the same.” Continue reading »

Apr 042017

Jill/ Randy,

We have talked about the gracious French people and their kindness. This is especially true for Paris-Brest-Paris. Hundreds of family, friends, and fans line the street at the start of PBP to cheer the riders on to Brest. There are many words of encouragement. You hear a lot of “Bon chance!”, “Bonne route!”, and “Bon courage!” at the start and all along the way. You’ll also hear “Allez Allez!” (Go! Go!).

This is about an incident at Paris-Brest-Paris 1995 concerning my encounter with a little French boy. I had ridden Paris-Brest-Paris in 1991 but I consider this happening my most memorable of the three PBPs I’ve experienced.

Paris-Brest-Paris is a long distance race/tour covering 1200 kilometers (750 miles) in less than 90 hours. It goes from the outskirts of Paris, across the hilly French countryside, to the coastal town of Brest on the Atlantic and back. There are contrôles every 80 to 100 kilometers that you have to check into and have your brevet card stamped. They stamp your time of arrival and initial it to verify you are on the route and following the rules. There are secret contrôles on the route to make sure you aren’t cheating. There are time windows for each contrôle and you must arrive within that window. If you are too early you wait until the contrôle opens. If you are too late, you are disqualified and must find your own way back to Paris. Continue reading »