Mercier Social Ride I - Barn Express

It never feels normal to wake up at 6.30am on a Sunday morning. It is rather abnormal. You need a pretty good reason to get out of bed when the alarm goes off.

The first Mercier social ride was organised for 7.30am this September. The idea was simple: to bring together friends of the brand and experienced cyclists to get to know one another and share in the pleasure of cycling. On this occasion, a dozen members of the Hitters Social Club joined us also. At Mercier, we’re always thrilled to meet them but also slightly intimidated as we know we’re going to go hard.

So, as the sun was rising on the outskirts of the Longchamps hippodrome, we found ourselves in a little group of thirty cyclists. When cycling as a group, you have to accept the element of the unknown that comes with the number of people. After only the first few kilometres, having just crossed the Seine, we had our first flat tyre. This provided an opportunity to chat, of course, although we were all keen to keep moving. Once the puncture was repaired, the group continued, heading in the direction of the south of Paris: Versailles and then on to la Chevreuse, a valley well-known to Parisian cyclists.

The landscape gradually became less dense and after an hour we arrived in the countryside. The kilometres sped by, 10, 20, 30 kilometres. The sun began to warm up and the route was bathed in autumnal light. The morning’s objective was to get to the Barn Hotel, an old stud farm - still functioning - that has been converted into a hotel. The hotel’s terrace would be the perfect spot to enjoy the September sunshine. It was also a wonderful opportunity for Mercier to come together and share in a moment of conviviality and a substantial breakfast.

But back to the cycle. Just as a horse speeds up as they near the stable, as we approached our destination, the Hitters riders accelerated and the group began to disperse as they led the way up the incline. The effort was sustained and then intense. A quick glance at the speedometer confirmed what we were feeling, it registered over 45 km/h. Fortunately, we soon turned off the road to enter the Barn grounds. We left our bikes and sat down on the terrace to warm up and dry off in the sun.

Croissants, coffee, eggs, sandwiches, sausages… we stopped for a good half hour. Enough time to talk about the ride, admire each other's bikes…

And then get back in the saddle, savouring the simple pleasure of being together on a Sunday morning to enjoy the view and the camaraderie. The conversation, continuing from breakfast, came easier as the pace was slower on the route back to Paris. As we arrived in the city, the group gradually separated and eventually there were only four of us left heading towards the east of Paris. We were happy after this perfect morning and so decided to treat ourselves to a little luxury, a few extra kilometres, to take a photo at Trocadero with the Eiffel Tower in the background. A souvenir seller willingly took the photo and seemed amused by our little group. It was a wink towards the Tour de France which would arrive in Paris a few hours later.

Finally, it was time to go our separate ways, almost on time for Sunday lunch. The day was a success. Thank you Mercier.