This event was devised by Pierre Molinier who was chairman of ACP at the
time. He adopted the idea of Paul de Vivie [Velocio] who at Easter cycled
to Pernes Les Fontaines [his birthplace] on his own or with some friends.
He loved this area which is beautiful at that time of the year: nature
with all its lovely scents is re-awakening. In order to remember and honor
this great cycle-tourist, the FFCT scheduled an Easter ride in its calendar.
Then Pierre Molinier proposed organizing Fleches Velocio, the destination
of which being the Easter Rally location. Each year a town is chosen and
the club in that area is made responsible for organizing the rally. He
devised these Arrows in 1947, the start being outside the cathedral of
Notre Dame de Paris.
Teams of 5 cyclists were required to get as close as possible to the destination,
covering the distance in 24 hours. Then on Sunday everyone met up and still
today it is really enjoyable to see friends from different parts of France,
whether they are Fleche participants or simply those having a leisurely
ride. To help riders the rules have been changed: they can set off from
anywhere but it must be at Easter and they must be at the Sunday Rally
to hand in their brevet cards.
When the Randonneur 5000 award was introduced, many foreign cyclists asked
us how they could obtain it. They had all the other qualifying rides but
could not get to France to achieve the missing one. [some riders from nearer
countries did make the journey]. So we in ACP decided that Arrows could
be run elsewhere provided that the Fleche Velocio regulations were adhered
to. but an exception was made for those countries which had snow at Easter,
the latest date for the rides being Whitsun. And a week either side of
Easter is also allowed. In some countries it is possible to have a fairly
central Rally to maximize the number of Arrows: Great Britain, Germany,
Spain and Bulgaria. the Nordic countries organize the ride every two years
to a specific destination, each one taking turns to be in charge. These
are the National Arrows and this is how they should be organized. Arrows
must not be run independently.
Among the larger countries such as Australia [they were the first to begin],
and Canada and the USA, each of the states run their own Arrow, choosing
a location which is more or less central where teams can meet up. This
is exactly as the Fleche Velocio rules stipulate. In some areas the gathering
of cyclists on Sunday is followed by a picnic or lunch in celebration.