Posts Tagged ‘England’

A pleasant day with no stress. No concrete deadlines saw us meander our way to Dover. Yes. Let’s pass through Sandwich and Deal. A late afternoon boat brought me back to the mainland.

No super early rise. I first left the tent at 7 and left by 10:30 or so. After about 3 km we were in Canterbury, and stopped at the cathedral. We were befriended by a ginger cat. Just something for me.

The cat in Canterbury cathedral

The cat in Canterbury cathedral

My souvenir from Canterbury is a beefeater cigarette lighter (for lighting my new stove). Before arriving, Chris warned how all the tourist shops are full of souvenir paraphernalia – from London. Now, every time I cook on my summer trip I will remember the long weekend trip in England. With souvenir shopping and grocery shopping (my snack bag needed continuous filling up), we didn’t leave Canterbury before 12. You could tell we were not in a hurry. But that is OK.

Following a more or less straight route to Dover, we passed a signpost – Sandwich 6 miles. My, that was close. We decided to go there. The first time we had a real tailwind – and it was lovely. Cruising uphill at 25-30 km/h. Downhill much faster. Sandwich was soon upon us. Then along the coast to Deal, where we had lunch is a cosy little place overlooking the sea. Despite not cycling much, we were both hungry. After bubble and squeak I ordered a chocolate cake. Chris did too.

The cake is mine!

The cake is mine!

The coast turned, and our final leg from Deal to Dover was not only up and up, but against a crushing headwind. The same wind that would blow me home tomorrow.

On reaching the top of the white cliffs of Dover, we saw a boat coming in. That could be my boat. Taking the shortcut down to the harbour (carrying our bikes) I made it to board that same boat.

My boat arrives in Dover

My boat arrives in Dover

I booked a hotel in Calais, and slogged against the now gale force winds from the harbour to the city to take my refuge for the night.

An early train from London to Chelmsford to join Chris on the second day of my England cycle trip. The weather got better and better and a side/tail wind soared our spirits.

A breakfast of porridge at Chris’ and I got to meet Val, after having heard so much about her. It rained during breakfast, but Val ordered nice weather for our trip, and it came to pass.

It was a very varied trip. We stated crossing with the horses.

A little ferry trip across the Thames brought us into Kent.

Then an interesting path through the docks.


The weather really became lovely as we meandered through the fields.

And then we stopped for a late lunch at Rochester. Lovely.


Kent also has its fair share of mud flats. We followed a windy road around the coast, passing lots of ship wrecks.


The cycle got nicer and nicer in the evening light. The route 1 twisted and turned through fields, over dikes, and over rolling hills.


Light was running out, and we left route 1 to make some speed to get to a camping ground at Canterbury.

I used my new whisperlight cooker, new pots and new tent for the first time. All passed the test. My test is now approved wind and rain resistant. Yes. It rained at night. 🙂

Up bright and early, rising from my spaceous cabin on the Hoek van Holland – Harwich ferry, I battled into the wind across the pleasant English fields to London.

Travelling on the ferry – a massive ship full of shopping and entertainment possibilities – sweeps you away into the holiday spirit. Excited families wander around the multiple decks passing away the time on the overnight voyage. I had a wonderful cabin with shower all to myself. I got an early night for the 5:30 breakfast.

It was sunny in the early morning as I rode off the ferry and turned off onto national cycle path one that took me into Harwich centre along a lovely wooded path.

I was accompanied with a gale force headwind. In Norway I learned a kind of zen acceptance of this. The scenery is beautiful and the wind just means you enjoy it longer. A lot longer.

I followed national cycle route 1 through lots of fields yellow with rape seed.

Route 1 is rather circuitous as it meanders through the countryside. At times I thought it can’t be right as it lead me miles off track. My Google maps route took me to a dual carriageway. In this era of GPS, asking can still be the best way forward.

Lunch became a late lunch as it was such slow going to get to Chelmsford where Chris lives. He came especially from work to welcome me.

Then on to London to visit Leigh. Chris gave me a pleasant and not too long route into London. My plans of cycling past all the tourist attractions before going to Leigh’s were dashed by the wind. Traffic lights were shaking in its force and a double decker bus swayed. The wind made me somewhat later than planned. 🙂

It was good to see Leigh again.

Eindhoven – Dover – Oostende

Hi all. Here is my complete trip on the ascension day long weekend bike trip. It looks more impressive I think with each day’s trip concatenated together.. 🙂


Dover – Calais – Oostende

The weather had changed completely when I got up this morning. Thick cloud and a gale was blowing damp cold air from the north-east. Like in Calais I did a few circuits of the bitumen harbour passing passport and ticket checks, and lining with the cars. I stayed inside the boat this time. Too chilly outside.

I found the way out from the harbour easily and started my slow slog to the north-east. In the open fields without protection from the wind I travelled at 13-14 km/h. With a few trees for protection I made 15. Villages were a blessing. I made 17-18 km/h. The constant push forward is more wearing than the varied pushes uphill and rolling downhill of the earlier days. Also, going uphill, you know you will be cycling down. I knew the wind would be blowing in my face all day today..



Also, roads were again an issue. Near Dunkirk everything was almost freeway. I took a detour south and made my way through some much more pleasant villages. It was time for a late lunch at the Belgian border. A wacky brasserie playing a mixture of 80s, schlagers and 60s and frequented by the local elders was my stop for lasagne.

It became clear to me that Oostende will be my final destination and not Vlissingen. The wind, if anything, seemed to get stronger. I was reduced to 11 km/h at times. The wall to wall high rise apartment blocks of almost all of the Belgian coast were a blessing. Near them I made 18 km/h.


I arrived at Oostende ready for a lazy sit in the train. I feel satisfied having seen some new country out in nature.

Heuvelland -Dover

It didn’t rain overnight and the skies were surprisingly clear when I emerged early from my tent. The birds were already up proclaiming their deafening chorus. It was 5am. I packed up, ate my few remaining snacks (they didn’t have anything much to buy at the camping ground the evening before), and left.

Again, cycling early in the morning is the best time. The air is cold and crisp and there is a magic light. I took the back roads to Loker and the nipped across the border to Bailleau – a very quaint town, and so peaceful so early.

I nourished myself on wares from the boulangerie today at various stops. Lots of naughty pastries. It is France, after all. There was little else. They were very good.. 😉 Anyway, I’m sure the calories are burnt off..

The wind was predominately a head wind and the hills seemed more up than down. I had a slow pace, but it was nice, cool, cycling weather, the sun poking through the clouds from time to time.

Finding a road not impossibly busy with cars and trucks rocketing along is quite a challenge. At times such roads were unavoidable and rather unpleasant. The side roads were all the more rewarding. Narrow, meandering roads, flanked by fields and cows.



The uphill rolling hills unexpectedly dipped precipitously into the town of Licques. It is a beautiful village at the bottom of a bowl of circling steep hills. What was it doing here? Lovely. Lunch at Licques, and then a short slog until the pass, from which I rocketed down all the way to Calais.

The harbour and all the infrastructure for the ferries is very impressive. After lining up with the cars, I had a restful trip across the channel before admiring the white cliffs on the way in to Dover.


My plans of doing the cycle trip on the cliff top to Deal didn’t happen. I circled around and around in Dover before slogging my way up and immensely steep road to the castle on the hill. The road was so steep the front wheel almost reared up, nearly flipping the bike. I cycled briefly along the top before chatting with a guy sunning himself on a grassy area at the top. I realised Deal was way too far and steep. In fact, I decided to sleep in a hotel in Dover. Much more convenient than the planned camping ground at Folkestone. A good English roast for dinner and then off to bed. Early boat back to Calais and the up the coast as far as I can get.