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VIDEO. How Roissy Airport became a cyclists’ dream destination

A pack of cyclists in colorful lycra climbs to the top of a smooth asphalt ramp. In the distance, gleaming Air France buses wait patiently to take off again.

“It’s still so magical. In my opinion, this is still something we won’t do much of in our entire lives,” enthuses Romain Beauvillard, his clear gaze fixed on the vessel of raw concrete erected a few meters away from him. The tall blond mounts his racing bike before allowing the thick arches of the building to engulf him.

Faced with the cyclists’ escape, Terminal 1 of Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport fell into an unusual silence. The world’s tenth airport has been inactive since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic due to health restrictions. Terminals 1 and 3 are completely closed, while Terminal 2 is only partially operational. In May, only 6,000 travelers flocked there per day, compared with an average of 200,000 in normal times.

“We had to find roads”

Around the airport, expressways have been freed from the constant ballet of shuttles, taxis and public utilities. The violation was discovered. Bitumen was offered to whoever wanted to warm it up first. Romain Beauvillard rushed there almost by accident, although he had already tried it long before his imprisonment. “Basically, we just wanted to get to the end of the trail and got lost.”

No problem, barely out of captivity, this enthusiast gathers around a few friends, confident that the path to the asphalt must be hidden somewhere: “I knew that we could access it through the cargo compartment. So after that we had to find roads.”

Photo session in front of Concorde

A lover of circuitous routes and inventor of original maps, Romain Beauvillard is accustomed to revealing circuitous routes to his friends. In cycling lingo, we call these land clearers “cartographers.”

This enthusiast ends up plotting a route that leads to this milefeuille of highways and ramps. Against all odds, he makes his way to terminals that are usually inaccessible to bicycles. His discovery was not lost on LaMap, a cycling newsletter widely followed every Sunday by the cycling community (and recommended by “Biclou”!), which relays the information.

Thanks to the Strava app, the route is modeled within the cycling community. In a few weeks, the unusual trip to Roissy will look like an important part of the exit from quarantine.

The groups take turns almost daily to complete important milestones, such as handing over the Relic of Concord. “This is a photograph that proves that you were in Roissy,” says Romain. That evening, the dozen enthusiasts who left the Parc de la Villette in Paris were no exception to this tradition. This is Adrienne Estrada, another regular at Roissy, improvising as platoon photographer a few meters from a retired supersonic engine.

“There’s almost a sad side”

The fugitives take another break at the top of Terminal 1. The landing site for several minutes becomes an unexpected observation point, illuminated by the last rays of twilight.

“Fox, fox,” Max shouts in his fluorescent suit. A few more meters down, the mammal slowly moves forward, pursued by a group of noisy magpies. Just behind him were several parked Air France planes and several luggage carts. “We are all alone. We are alone in the world. It’s like in zombie films,” philosopher Romain.

“It’s funny at first, [on se dit] : “Hey, there’s no one there.” And then “we are comfortable on bicycles, they infuriate us with their planes, their cars,” on the other hand, after a while an almost upsetting side appears,” the nuance of Pierre Malherbet, road partner from the very beginning.

But this surreal bracket could well close within weeks. The entrances to Terminal 2 are becoming increasingly dangerously crowded with buses traveling at high speeds. Soon cyclists will no longer have a place in this temple of the heat engine.

“We feel that the activity is starting again and that now is the right time to take advantage of it and have fun before it picks up again, its crazy speed and where we find cars and planes everywhere in chaos,” admits Romain. .

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Source: Le Parisien

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