Thierry Crouzet

Réponse de la Fédération Française de Cyclisme

Automatic translation from French

Following my open letter to the FFC , Yannick Pouey, his secretary general called me to answer me formally and at the same time personally, unregistered conversation, so my memory may be distorted. I apologize in advance.

Of course, my letter displeased Yannick, especially by his vindictive tone. I told him that I had made Leon Bloy's watchword my own: "You can only see evil in this world if you exaggerate it. "Yannick swore to me that he or one of his colleagues would have answered me even if my letter had been more moderate, that they were trying to answer everyone, which I imagine must be a gigantic task by the times running. He reminded me that he was a volunteer. I take my hat off for her dedication.

He asked me to summarize my point for him. I told him that my main complaint was that the federation had spoken on behalf of all the cyclists and not only its members. We wouldn't be there if this clarification had been introduced.

Yannick explained to me that the federation is not really independent: the government has an influence on it (not to say a hold). Basically, if I understood nuances and innuendo, the federation said what the government told it to say, a government which did not dare to ban recreational / sports bikes by decree, but which asked the highest cycling authority in the country to do it for them, even if they are legally incompetent in this area.

We must place ourselves in the context of mid-March. It’s panic on the government side. After denying the severity of the health crisis for weeks , Macron on March 6 declaring at the exit of the theater: "Life goes on. There is no reason, apart from the vulnerable, to change our outing habits. "Suddenly, this is the fight. We wake up, we realize that we don't have masks, gowns, respirators, that the hospitals are under tension, we are at war overnight and the good people must line up as one man behind our warlords. There is no question of a cyclist going to clutter up the emergency services that have already been damaged. Yannick gave me a nice analogy. “If we had been in 14 or 40, we would once again have had a good beating. "

I hear the martial argument, even if I consider it inappropriate, even if I think it was unsuitable, which the countries which have been more moderate show us like Germany or Switzerland and who are doing better than us in the face of the pandemic . But why go after the cyclists? Why not also ban scooters, rollerblades, jogging? Why not better regulate markets, supermarkets, public transport? Why take it out on us? Yannick confessed to me in half words that we had paid for everyone as if we were to serve as an example.

Nothing from the point of view of managing the epidemic justified the ban on individual sports practicable from home. The few possible benefits, fewer accidents, being far less than the health benefits. Again, the choice of Germany and Switzerland shows this to us.

I now understand the reaction of the federation, but do not apologize any less. A loud-mouthed fort could have opposed the government, made it change its mind or at least made it wear the hat, rather than assuming in its place. Better still, this mouthful could have sought sports doctors to argue alongside him, for the sake of public health. This is the root of the problem. The decision did not serve the French, a quarter of us play individual sports . This decision was short-sighted, a way of warding off the most urgent, without the slightest overview.

With Yannick, we then talked about the future, the most important now. He swore to me that the federation was doing everything for the bike be at the center of the deconfinement strategy , even be encouraged, as soon as possible. Perhaps after two months of wandering we will end up imitating the Germans and the Swiss.

I suggested that the federation should write guidelines for cyclists during a pandemic. List the simple gestures and habits to take to avoid spreading the virus through our travels. I even offered to help her and submit these guidelines to the world's top infection control and prevention specialists with whom I work. Yannick noted my idea, without swearing that the federation would follow it up.

The more we talked, the more we realized that our points of view converged more than diverged. After all, we both love cycling. We left good friends, but I will remain attentive. I do not want cyclists to be taken as scapegoats, which has been the case since the start of confinement, cyclists sometimes being treated as thugs. During my daily walk around my kilometer circle, I saw gendarmes looking at me suspiciously, to say the least, unpleasant looks. I was on a bike, I was guilty of some crime ... while cars passed me with impunity. We have a job in France.