Thursday, 1 August 2013

FNRttC Newhaven - Dieppe

I had a first on this ride, which was to use the lift at Gatwick airport.  It makes the experience even more surreal.  One minute you're riding in the countryside, the next minute you're elevated into a, you wouldn't know it was the middle of the night, airport concourse.

Susie reads the graffiti on the lift walls
That first moment of mingling with travellers always brings a smile to my face.  It is such a bizarre feeling to be at an airport and not to have to catch a plane nor wait for arrivals.  Another bizarre moment was captured in the photo below:

I had a glowing feeling of homecoming when the Costa Coffee man reminded me of Mr Exit.  Maybe it was him?  Maybe he's been able to keep his job after much training?  His performance has improved so much.  He might even have gone the other way, a little ocd perhaps.  He kept wiping the table top in front of him, although there was nothing to wipe.  But what gave it away was his eyes wondering all around the hall instead of looking at me.  He's still searching for the Exit sign, his guiding light, since the Olympic 2012 refurbishments.

'Double espresso macchiato please', I said.   'Macchiato?', he asked.  'Double espresso macchiato', I repeated.  'Espresso?', he asked.  It's him!  It's got to be him!  I repeated again, 'Double espresso macchiato'.  You can't say yes to his questions, otherwise you'd get three drinks coming your way.  I overpaid, not waiting for the receipt nor the change, as I wanted to get back, as quickly as I could, to listen to Jim and Stuart's hilarious Friday Touring stories.

Entertainment over, and off we went, to the coast.  It was a wonderful night ride, quick moving, warm (another first was to wear short sleeves all night!), early sunrise ... The breakfast in Newhaven was top class, with whitebait and chips on the menu.

I had a good kip on the ferry and on waking up was surprised that there wasn't a beer fest going on.  Adrian finally gave in and got himself a pint.  That one glass stood out so much, that Mice took a picture of it (Mice's write up with photos).

The large number of riders disembarking meant we got a little split up, so my goodbyes were a little random.  I needed to go left at the roundabout, whereas everybody else was going Centre Ville.  My plan was to cycle 60km north (turned out to be a good move!), stay at Camping Chateau De Tilleuls near Abbeville, and then continue my journey to Belgium on the Saturday.

How wonderful!
The headwind!!  Not helped by being in touring mode with double panniers, the headwind was playing havoc with my progress.   What could I do but stop at every boulangerie on my way, to restock on energy.   I had tarte aux framboise, croissants, chaussons aux pommes, frangipane aux poires and more.  If Mice didn't get to a boulangerie because Titus thought that was just wasted Mice faffing time, then at least I made up for it.

This ride was such a battle against the forces.  My legs were fine, but my upper body was suffering from me trying to hold the 'Cavendish position'.  Then there were several routes barrées with deviations, I was too law abiding when I saw 'Uitgezonder plaatselijk verkeer' which were only signs ready for Sunday's kermesse, and I could have saved miles and time by going west instead of east when the grounds of Haverkerque were a no-go area.  Still, I still arrived home at 5PM.

I enjoyed breakfast at Hesdin, a place I'm getting fond of in association with the FNRttC Newhaven - Dieppe ride.

It was an absolutely fabulous weekend.  Loved every  moment.  I've come full circle since my Russian trip which started at my parents' place.  I picked up the car which was left there.  I drove back to the UK in lots of Sunday traffic, and with a seized clutch.  During the week, a car mechanic had a look at the sticky clutch pedal, barely touched it, then the cable snapped.

Big thank you to the Friday Leggends!
Photos are here: MyPhotos.

Another thought:
  • Well done to LD Ferry Lines for a most efficient bicycle check in service.   The bikes almost outnumbered the cars, and there was a dedicated bike check in kiosk.  It was a pleasure to be treated as VIPs, compared with other years when bikes and riders are seen as a nuisance.  They should make a big deal of this, they could turn this into a good marketing/PR story.  
More bikes than cars
  • The fact that a new Belgian king was crowned was hardly visible in Belgium, no bunting, no street parties.  But the fact that Belgium was without a king for a few hours was much bigger news.  Most talked about, though, was Jan Bekelants' stage winning efforts on Le Tour de France 2013. 
  • Russian ride report to follow! 


Kris said...

Waw, I enjoyed reading this report, I was part off it a few moments: to wave at you, leaving or coming home, on bike , with car ... and each time you brought a small present.You are amazing thougthful and a super longdistanceriderorganisator!!x

Anonymous said...

Deed zo'n deugd je te zien Bengske! Je rapport leest weer zo vlot en je foto's zijn een perfecte illustratie van je belevenissen.
Wat Filou betreft: je zou ze de absolutie geven zonder biechten... Als je haar niet kent!
Dank voor de cadeaux die je van zoooover meebracht! So appreciated !
Fondest love!
Meim en Peip xxx xxx