Thursday, 9 May 2019

22nd Old School Swap Meet Mecrin/France

Freezing Old School Meet # 22 on the Meuse River - Mecrin 2019

Sometimes it’s good to take a hard ride:
May 4th & 5th 2019, 22nd Old School Swap Meet Mecrin/France 

In some cases the way you travel is much more important than the target you are riding to, but the fun and exitement for most participants riding the scenic landscapes of the Vosges mountains or coming from the Netherlands via Luxembourg and the Meuse Valley was somewhat limited, thanks to the freezing weather conditions in this part of Europe. Snow is nothing uncommon on the tips of the Vosges mountains in May, but not really in the Netherlands and Luxembourg. So arrival of the visiting "Old School" bikers that travel to Mecrin and party there was somewhat delayed by many de-freezing stops en route. Fortunately, the thermometer climbed above the freezing point on sunday morning and the party got started as usual.

Tekst & photo's Horst "Motographer" Roesler

There is a great sentence that explains the difference between "weather" and "climate". Quote: "While we can't predict the weather for a straight five days, the scientists and politicians are dead-sure how the climate will be in 50 and 100 years". Well, you can discuss the new religion, its belivers and computer programs to calculate doomsdays, but in the last 22 years one ...

More after the jump-break!
calculation always paid off: The first Sunday of May is "Old School time" at Mecrin/France. And the chance for good weather was and is fifty/fifty – just about.


For most of its time a one-day (Sunday) event only, the concept was expanded after the 20th Anniversary two years ago, as many riders already arrived for the weekend on friday or Saturday anyway. The neccessity to supply them with food and drinks asked for the change – and there are – given fine and fair weather – some great roads to ride along the Meuse river and into Argonne Forest, Nancy or the Battlefields of World War 1, which blasted away the landscape in the hilltops just above Mecrin. 

As the weather was not living up to the usual charme of the first weekend in May, the rainy Saturday saw very little visitors and even the swap meet participants kept their booths closed for the morning and half of the afternoon. Riders from South Germany, traversing snow-covered Vosges passes and even Holland, where the rare snow usually means total traffic collapse arrived with frozen hands and feet, arrived wet to the bone. Fortunately, the fires were already burning to welcome the riders and warm them up! Only after 2 pm, saturday afternoon, the rain cleared and even the sun made occassional appearances. 

The team of School Bar Atelier and the Boozefighter Chapter had again organised a great meet, as the workshop of Jean Claude Passetemps offers a second "base" for visitors outside the eventsite, with JC's "Old School" creations also forming a bike show of its own. With the weather remaining unsecure the first day, JC's new Shovel-Bobber would have to wait for the next day to be taken out for a photoshoot – if the Boozefighters would let him survive the night!
White frost crystals on the plants signalled a freezing night, at least for those who bothered to sleep at all, if not partying into the early hours around the campfires or in the Boozefighter clubhouse. 

Under these conditions, swap business did not start until late morning – and hot coffee sales topped everything else. Sunday afternoon, Mecrin was back on track: Chopper's and Bobbers rolling in from all directions, the "Chopperfreakers" from Pont á Mousson paying a visit, their own event coming up 22nd/23rd of June, always a great parade of Swedenstyle Choppers riding into town. 

While the old "spirit" was there, crowds of years past did not arrive this time. Having a weather forecast at the tip of your finger on the cellphone is obviously more damaging to any event than the outlook to clean the bike after a long ride. Not that "Red Baron" Charlie Gregoire would care about that: He had come from the snowflaked Ardennes with his group of riders to party – and did just that. Still one of the top Belgian Old School customizers, he only returned monday, as the party in Mecrin usually lasts until late sunday afternoon when the trophies are handed out for the best bikes and the stripshow marks the "Grande Finale". 

Despite the weather hazles there was time to take CCE's "Bolt On And Ride" bike "Cross Bob" out for some touring on and off the roads around Saint Mihiel and JC's new "Bobber" was also worth the photoshoot. Not that there was any doubt on that. The Old School meet at Mecrin has never dissapointed – you've got to ride what shines our pours down from above – because you can't change it. No matter if its the "weather" or the "climate"...

Text & Fotos: Horst Roesler

Best Chopper

Best Youngtimer

Best of Show

Best Oldies

Best Rat Bike

Best Chopper

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