Easy riders: COCC cyclists breeze into Monaco from St-Tropez

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As I write, I’ve just completed the Champagne and Oyster Cycle Club’s sixth edition of the Saint-Tropez to Monaco ride for charity.

Monies raised were donated to a first aid and CPR training complex in Loumbila, Burkina Faso, a joint project with the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, the Monaco Red Cross and the Burkinabe Red Cross.

Sitting on a hot water bottle, and with my face feeling the effect of a day’s exposure to the Mediterranean sun and cycling into light winds, I can’t help but relive the 140 kilometres travelled by a group of 90 that left St-Tropez at 8 am this morning.

If the event’s success could be measured solely by the quality of McLaren Property Services’ organisation and the kit supplied to riders – the Gel Intech Santini shorts – than I’d say it was outstanding, but there was so much more to the day than a pair of exceptionally comfortable riding shorts and an impressive list of sponsors that adorn every inch of the very cool jerseys.

COCC’s annual ride provides ample opportunity for cycling enthusiasts in and around Monaco to get to know each other over a good cause, from the “COCCtail” hosted by sponsor John Taylor Luxury Real Estate at the Café de Paris in St-Tropez on Saturday evening to the halfway-point cycle brunch at the penthouse apartment of a John Caudwell development, which included three masseuses on hand for SOS muscle repair, to the oysters reception at COCC sponsor Stars’n’Bars upon arrival in Monaco around 4:30 pm.

The festivities continued into the night with a street party at Slammers on rue Suffren Reymond (see photos below).

Yes, there’s a core group that do the cycle every year, like Maurizio Gazzola from John Taylor Luxury Real Estate, Gareth Whitstock, who represents his sister’s Foundation, and Didier Rubiolo from Stars’n’Bars.

But add to the mix the delightful Sarah Kavanagh, married to Riviera Radio’s Managing Director, Paul, who returned for her second year. Or newcomers, like Adam Sirkorksi, who works between Warsaw and Monaco, and Jodi Mainwaring, a sports massage therapist from California.

Veteran, new, young, old, fast and not so, we all rode as one, offering words of encouragement when necessary and heartfelt congratulations at the finish. The bond of sport and community cannot be underrated especially with this lot where no one takes themselves too seriously against the backdrop of the mind-blowing red-rock Esterel.

Cycling along the Croisette in Cannes this afternoon, I recall a French cycling club of around 20 pulled up and randomly one of the riders said he did the COCC St-Tropez-Monaco ride last year and it was one of his best cycling memories. Mine, too, fellow rider, mine, too.

Anyone interested in sponsorship can contact COCC. Article first published April 30, 2017.

Cyclists regroup in Cap d’Ail to complete final kilometre together

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Oyster reception at Stars’n’Bars

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Street party at Slammers

 

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