Category: Cycling

Le Grand Tour: Day 2 – Ouddorp To Vlissingen (64km)

I’m coming to the conclusion that The Netherland is one big engineering project. Today was dominated by the dams and dykes of the west coast. I was told yesterday- I think it was Professor Matthias – that a dam is a barrier between water and water and a dyke is a barrier between water and land. I couldn’t quite work out if the barriers upon which I cycled were dams or dykes as although most separated the sea from the land, the land itself was fully of large lakes. Answers on a postcard. (Or in a comment…)

Le Grand Tour: Day 1 – The Hook Of Holland To Ouddorp (32km + 41km)

Today could have just the 41km, or thereabouts, and it nearly was. My journey will, hopefully, end at The Hook of Holland, which is just opposite where the P&O ferry berthed this morning. A circular journey should really start and finish at the same iconic spot. The P&O ferry terminal probably isn’t that place so I decided to head to the Hook of Holland. Easier said than done as, although very close to ferry terminal as the crow flies, no where near if you need to cycle there. Hence the extra 32km, but I’m glad I did it.

Le Grand Tour: Day 0 – Halifax To Hull (17km)

Welcome to Le Grand Tour! I can’t decide whether the cycle officially started in Halifax when I shut my front door behind me or whether it will start when I get to the Hook of Holland tomorrow. I’ve compromised and called this ‘first’ day, ‘Day 0’. Now I think about it, that’s not a compromise is it? Oh well…

Le Grand Tour: T-1 Day – Packed!

I am packed! I can thoroughly recommend gradually gathering your kit together in your living room in the ​weeks before the off. The packing process is much easier and all those ‘have I remembered…?’ questions have (hopefully) been answered well before the off. As for the clichéd ‘kit pic’ I’ve taken a slightly different approach, as you can see below. I set off tomorrow lunchtime; train from Halifax to Hull and then the overnight ferry to Rotterdam…

Le Grand Tour: T-2 Days

Just a couple of days to go to the off. I’m almost there, I think, with the preparation. The bike has been returned from its service, the kit assembled (if not packed), the last-minute purchases (nuts…) made, the train ticket to Hull booked, accommodation for the first three nights (four including the overnight ferry) sorted… All that remains is two days of procrastination (and a bit mor Wimbledon and wine). I finish work for the summer later today.

Northern France: Julian Ralph (2022) And His Grandfather (1940)

A few weeks ago I chatted to Julian Ralph for The Cycling Europe Podcast. He had plans to cycle in the footsteps of his grandfather who, in 1940, had been evacuated from northern France at the start of the Second World War. This was planned as a ‘before’ and ‘after’ conversation. The ‘after’ conversation will be published as part of episode 052 of The Cycling Europe Podcast that will be recorded and edited on the ferry from Hull to Rotterdam next weekend. But in anticipation of that podcast – which will include my pre-trip thoughts about cycling around France, Switzerland and Germany during July and August – here is Julian talking about his plans for his four-day trip around northern trip…

Le Grand Tour: T – 1 Week – The Calm Before The Sun, Hopefully

Now getting to the pointy end of the planning. Just a week to go before I set off on the ferry from Hull, destination Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Germany and a return to The Netherlands and Rotterdam in early September. My mind has been on other things in recent days as I’ve been away for a few days, not on the bike, but with 120 12-year-old pupils on a school trip to the YHA hostel near Ambleside on the shores of Lake Windermere. An idyllic location. Well, it was before we arrived in our two coaches. The peace was somewhat disturbed by the inevitable noise but everything went to plan, including the weather which was sublime (until Thursday evening when it decided to chuck it down…)