Last week in August, 1998: riding my new CBR600F to Provence for the GLME Summercamp 98 in Provence, organised by the French club AMA.
Rides to the summit of Mt. Ventoux, the Grand Canyon of the Verdon, the red ochre mines of Roussillon, the olive groves around the Alpilles and the vineyards of the Lubéron, including the ruin of the Chateau of the Marquis de Sade at Lacoste. This was the summercamp where I discovered the pleasures of motorbike riding in Provence are fully worth the long ride down from the English Channel and carrying desert kit for the heat of Provence as well as riding down in leathers.
The French club AMA hosted the GLME 1998 Summercamp in wooden holiday huts in the village of La Roque d’Anthéron, near Aix-en-Provence. At the time it was a marvel to gather together more than a hundred gay bikers, meaning actual riders; we rode in from France, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands and 28 of us from GBMCC in the UK.
I (and several others...) slept many enjoyable nights out in the cool of the forest, away from the noise of the dormitories.
New that spring, this was the first continental trip for my CBR600F, the sports touring version of Honda’s CBR600RR.
Several of the AMA tour leaders on that 1998 camp have also been tour leaders for many of the subsequent summercamps organised by AMA, including my good friend Pascal F of Marseille, you can see his yellow TDM at the head of the group in one of these pictures.
I wrote to a friend as follows:
Just back from a gay bikers reunion in the South of France. More than 100 bikers on about 85 bikes from France (the hosts) Holland, Italy and Germany as well as 28 from England. We were out every day riding in groups of about 20 bikes in the wonderful Provence countryside. There are mountains, a spectacular gorge as well as pretty villages, orchards and vineyards. All eating together in the evening in a big dining room, I was mostly associating with the French from Paris or Marseille and had a good time practising my French words.
Now back in London with 3000 miles more on the clock of the bike. Rain all the way from Bonn in Germany on Tuesday but I’d borrowed a neoprene over-suit so was protected, though a bit sweaty inside. The summer is over, now it’s time to go back to work!
JH, 4 September 1998
New scans (Epson 4990) of my Reala 35 mm negatives; Canon AE-1 Program 35mm SLR camera with FD 50mm f/1.8 manual focus lens.