Training with the Étoile Cycliste de Clermont-Ferrand club
Spending a Wednesday afternoon doing sports is a time-honored activity in France – kids up to the end of high school don’t have classes after Wednesday lunchtime. So as we arrive at the Gabriel Montpied Stadium, where the Étoile Cycliste de Clermont Ferrand has its basement store room, we get ready to dive back into the shared experiences of childhood.
Behind the car park gates, a kid is riding up and down, weaving between plastic markers. This space is what the coaches call the ‘plateau’, where the cycling school teaches the basics to the youngest riders: little games of skill, linking turns together, or exercises in riding with no hands, gaining confidence both in one’s self and one’s machine.