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 image – 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 It has been replaced by a couple of 20 litre front panniers, making room for a hydration pack on my back.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…. image 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; image 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….. image Salut……

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