In recent weeks, indeed since returning from my ‘Grand Tour’ of the continent early in September, I haven’t posted much to CyclingEurope.org. But I have been busy. Busy film editing… It was always my plan to make use of the significant amount of video footage – over 3,000 clips – in a film that retold the story of the epic cycle from The Hook of Holland to The Hook of Holland via much of France, Switzerland and the Rhinelands.
Later this year I will be releasing a film about my 5,500km journey by bicycle and train from the Hook of Holland, along the Dutch and Belgian coasts, anticlockwise around France, into Switzerland beside the Rhone and finally along the Rhine to Rotterdam. Editing takes time but, in anticipation of the full film being finished by the end of 2022, here’s a 10-minute segment of the film that tells the story of my cycle along La Véloscénie from Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel via Chartres, Nogent-le-Rotrou and Domfront. Wacth out for the Musée du Vélo! The music is from the skilled fingers of Rob Ainsley and the audio commentary is taken from episode 054 of The Cycling Europe Podcast.
Although during the trip I posted short daily videos recounting the tale of my cycle around Europe this summer, the main reason for filming what I did was to make a film about the cycle from the Hook of Holland to the Hook of Holland. It’s quite a daunting task editing 2,500 videos into one film of about an hour but over the next few weeks that’s the plan. To whet your appetite, I have started by creating an into. You can watch it below.
After over 3 years of virtual get-togethers, the Cycle Touring Festival returns to its regular home in Clitheroe this weekend for a paired-down gathering. There will be a range of speakers offering their thoughts on the noble art of travelling by bicycle, including a certain Andrew Sykes who will be talking for the first time about his 2022 5,500km quest from The Hook of Holland to The Hook of Holland. It should be a fun weekend…
It’s now two weeks since I arrived back in the UK after the summer’s jaunt around Europe with Wanda (the bike…). It’s been an interesting couple of weeks to say the least. On a personal level, I finally feel as though I’ve caught up with things. It was a rather sudden turnaround from being long-distance cyclist to secondary school teacher – about 18 hours to be precise – but after two weekends I’m finally in a position to say everything is ‘sorted’. Well, apart from that cupboard crammed full of my camping equipment but at least I can’t see it unless I make the effort to open the door.
So there it is. Finished. After 63 days, 55 cycling days, around 4,700km, 7 countries, 10 train journeys, lots of ferries (small and large), 45 nights in the tent, 11 nights in hotels, 4 with WarmShowers hosts, 1 with a friend and a night with a Vriendren op de Fiets host, 8 episodes of The Cycling Europe Podcast (the final part 8 episode should be published tomorrow morning upon arrival back in the UK), over 60 (almost) daily videos… and zero punctures, I arrived back at The Hook of Holland earlier today after the relatively short cycle from central Rotterdam and in doing so completed the ‘Grand Tour’ loop. It’s been fun.
The longest day of the trip but it needed to be.it’s now Saturday morning and I still have around 60km of cycling today: 30km from central Rotterdam to the Hook of Holland and then, back up and down the Rhine to the end of one of the other fingers of land to the ferry. Check-in closes at 7pm tonight so I have plenty of time to complete those 60km but if I had stopped yesterday east of Rotterdam that might not have been the case.
Today has been a real joy. Everything came together in a celestial meeting of cycle touring, travelling, people, places, weather… I loved it. Even the trains joined the party after an initial reluctance to play ball at Cologne station this morning. With only 48 hours of this continental odyssey remaining, I couldn’t wish to have spent a more enjoyable day in the saddle. Even that pesky wind which, for much of the past week, has been annoying me in a manner that usually only a tiresome Year 9 student can achieve came to the party and blew me along the banks of the Rhine willing me to get to Rotterdam on time. Fabulous. I only wish you could have been here.