It’s a different world a pro cycling bike race.
From the start where polite smiles are proffered in exchange for an autograph, or more often now a bloody selfie with a pro. The riders, ever patient as they go about their job, wait, pose, smile, then head off to the next smart phone. But it is refreshing, the patience, the understanding they have for us fans. The access they give us.
It has it’s own police force, to a degree. But, more, this world has an additional fascinating part to this oft seen aspect. It has a micro economy going on every stage, or every race.
The currency? Musettes and Bidons. I am not sure how many bidons make a musette, or vice versa (though I suspect it is bidons into musettes being…metaphorically and physically). At the feed stations, you see the Stock Exchange of the bike race currency.
The experienced trader has picked his or her spot in advance, locating the team cars, assessing the gradient to assess the speed of the riders and calculate where they may throw the used musettes. This is a gamble as many a rider will throw bidons before reaching the feedzone to make space for the fresh ones. Do you gamble on the musette at the risk of less bidons? Bidons will be thrown after the feedzone too, so it seems sensible. But is it…like anything, it takes time and experience to acquire the skills to trade this currency.
The wait is patient. Friendly. Fun. The riders arrive and the frenzy is in the traders, not the riders. They glide through collecting musettes and bidons and discarding empties with the grace of swans, mostly. Like a swan, beneath the surface, the legs of the traders thrash around, these legs chasing the discards. Their currency.
It’s over in a minute or two, the passing of the swans. It’s now that the Stock Market opens. A Quick Step bidon for Saxo? Sure, I have two of them anyway. How about your CCC musette? No way! Go on, I’ll buy it off you…? No man, not for sale!
Euros count for little here. The currency is bidons and musettes. It’s own micro economy.