Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Madonnas and Motorbikes
Had a bit of rest from alpaca duties this weekend to indulge myself in my other favourite pastime and got the motorbike out for the Porcaro ride out.
The story goes that the Curé (parish priest) of Porcaro and keen biker held a special service some twenty years ago whereby he blessed his bike and a few others within his congregation with the old holy water and the 'Madonne du Motards' was born. Every year on August the 15th he is available to 'baptise' your bike and bestow upon you the blessing and protection of the Moto Madonna before the ride out. How cool is that?
The Madonne du Motards starts on the Saturday evening when bikers from all over France converge on the sleepy village of Porcaro, set up camp and do what bikers worldwide do. Rev their engines all night and drink alot mainly.
We found the Priests home complete with club house in the converted barn and even saw the main man himself sat astride a huge trike in his leathers complete with dog collar and chomping on a cigar. Very surreal!
We visited the chapel. A sombre place and reminder of the dangers of motorcycling. All the walls were adorned with plaques of remembrance and photographs of hundreds killed on a bike.
I questioned whether the Moto Madonna was perhaps failing in her duties.
Anyway, the old priest has really started something. I don't know exactly how many showed up for the weekend but opinions varied between four and ten thousand bikers set off on the Sunday afternoon. It was a seventy kilometre run through various villages and finishing at Josselin. Because of the sheer volume of bikes, the trip took around two hours and bikes were still leaving the start as the first batch arrived at Josselin. A couple of times along the smaller country lanes the traffic ground to a halt in complete overload!
It was a great day though and it seemed the world and his wife were lining the roadside to cheer on the procession.Lots of hand slapping as you ride by and Jayne was throwing sweets to the children from the big pocket in the back of my coat.
A splendid weekend. Roll on next year.