The Ride

Calais to Montpellier, Day 1

Compared to last years trip, day one has been a huge success. I headed for Dover just before lunchtime, arriving in time for the delayed (left about 2.45) 1.55 sailing on P&O. The only issue I had really was the lack of sign postage for cyclists as you enter the ferry port, so I had a brief spell of dodge the juggernaut for a while, which always makes life interesting!
Heading out from Dover was cool

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– a very peaceful crossing until we got to within a couple of miles of Calais. At which point a family of Spaniards and a beefcake of a German chap decided to jump the queue for the stairs in front of a coach load of pensioners from Yorkshire…. Never a good idea…..Yorkshire 1 – 0 Europe.

The load on the bike has been completely re-engineered for this year’s trip. Gone is the 80 litre rucksack which nearly broke my back on the way to Land’s End. It has been replaced by a couple of 20 litre front panniers, making room for a hydration pack on my back. Such a cool idea. It’s basically a 3 litre rucksack which can be filled with water and a straw which reaches over your shoulder so you can drink as you go. Surely it’s only a matter of time before I fill it with wine, right?

So here’s how the bike looked on arrival at my first night’s campsite about 10 miles south of Calais….

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Makes so much more sense to use the bike to do what it’s designed for – carry heavy loads. The campsite is great. A lovely peaceful hideaway with a very welcoming receptionist who managed to book me in despite her not having a lot of English and my French being rubbish. …..tent, cauliflower, one night, rabbit…… I dare say when I left to pitch my tent there were mutterings of “goddamn English” ……but hey, I’m still close enough to Calais to call it home 🙂

So here’s my ‘room’ for the night;

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The new tent is particularly brilliant. It weighs in at 1.5 kilos and takes a retarded camper like me about 3 minutes to pitch…..

So as it cools down a little and I contemplate tomorrow’s ride down to Lens, there’s only one thing left to do…..

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Salut……

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