Who was André BACH ?
Born in 1888, he had lost his left arm in 1916, during the Great War.
On the advice of Doctor RUFFIER, an experienced cyclotourist, André BACH regained a taste for life by riding his bicycle.
Then, in 1936, he moved to Pau, where he worked as a journalist, as editor-in-chief of the Indépendant newspaper.
He was a member of the Cyclo Club Béarnais and was its president from 1937 to 1940. He used to periodically climb the Aubisque Pass, timing himself to see how he was doing. With only one arm, these climbs were not within the reach of the first comer.
During the Second World War, in 1943, he was deported to Germany, to the Buchenwald concentration camp. He died in May 1945 on his way back from captivity in the village of Boulay in Moselle.
Stele André BACH at the top of the Aubisque
Here is the history of the André BACH stele written by Henry DE LA TOMBELLE in November 1948:
"The idea of erecting a monument to their late president germinated among the cyclotourists of the Cyclo Club Béarnais immediately after his martyrdom in 1945. It took on an almost sacred character the day when ANGLADE, PUCHEUS, MALO, GUIMAUD and a few others went to Lorraine to pick up a few handfuls of the soil of the country where their president had breathed his last. They then chose an artist of great talent to fix in bronze the features of the deceased.
Then began the administrative steps, the trials and tribulations with the administration to obtain the authorization to raise the monument at the Aubisque pass. This long and tedious task took two years. Then it was necessary to collect the funds necessary for this realization, by calling upon the generosity of the cyclos but also with certain organizations and personalities. Finally, once the authorization was obtained and the funds collected, it was only a matter of building the monument. This required the transportation of stones and cement by truck. It was in abominable weather that these fervent disciples, transformed into masons, set to work and, under the enlightened orders of their fellow technician MALO, gave the small and humble monument of remembrance its definitive form.
As early as 1947, on September 14, while waiting for the stele to be erected, the Cyclo Club Béarnais cyclotouriste, had set up the first André BACH day. And as he liked to come to "test" himself in the Aubisque to know his form, it was proposed to the participants a timed ascent of 12 km, since the village of Eaux-Bonnes.
The inauguration took place the following year, on September 26, 1948, during the second André BACH day.
250 cyclotourists participated in this climb. Then the ceremony took place. In addition to this crowd of cyclists, there were personalities as well as several shepherds who had become friends with André BACH.
From this date on, every year in September, the cyclos meet to climb the Aubisque pass and to gather around the stele of André BACH.
Until 1975 this climb was timed. Since then, it is done without timing, in accordance with the rules of the FFCT.
This hike was organized in inter-club for many years.
However, at the club level, we remain very attached to this approach and we continue to perpetuate the memory each year, by going to collect ourselves around the stele of André BACH and by associating all the deceased of our club.
André Bach Memorial Day
André BACH Memorial Day
august 20th 2022
On Saturday, August 20, 2022 the CCB cyclos gathered, as every year, at the top of the Aubisque pass to honor the memory of André Bach
(76th edition of this memorial day).
The day continued with a snack at the restaurant "Les Crêtes Blanches".