Archive for June, 2009


Friday, June 12th, 2009

First full day heeeere in Hilland, I kicked off rather early (06H30) as my host had to go to work… towards Amsterdam, with an awful lots of people to ask along the way cause in this country which is designed to the PERFECTION for bicycle, I staill got damn easily lost as I’m not used to the pattern/design/system… but it was SO funny to ask, and a new idea showed up in my little brain..  considering the varity of different folks out there, and depending on the country; I thought it’d be funny to try to film some of them in order to make comparison between the way people answer toward a question for direction, from a foreigner on a bike….

So then, after crossing a bit of land to find a quiet  and unoccupied place (difficult there!) I stopped a couple of hours in a cool place, drying out the brittish wetness, reorganised my stuff and went to Amsterdam in the end of the afternoon, were I eventually met Eelco, and then its been great to chat with him and then go to a CS meeting..

first “warm shower!”

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

amazing! I landed up after a good ride in countryside from Lioncoln, through its shire (2 short “A” junctions, tough!) ; in Daniel’s Martin place, a completly crazy adventurer, I mean a genuine one, that have an idea and then just go for it… after having ridden his bike from London to cape town in south Africa on the east coast, he rode it again to Cape town, but from Seoul, Korea! and on the west coast of Africa! obviously the next trip is a lot more than this “warm up”… he aims to Swimm from New York across the Atlantic to Brest, France, then cycle the whole thing to easter Siberia to cross over to Alaska on the Bering straight, and from there to run to New York… interesting triathlon, isn’t it?

so I had the chance to spent an evening with him and be the ‘assisant’ for the slide during his talk to a village society, good fun..  after a short night (very short) I set off almost early to leave the area, but stayed longer to chat and manage to leave at about 11 towards Cambridge, stopped on the way at a country pub; couldn’t not-to-stop in Cambridge as a tourist.., and then it was late in the afternoon, and still had about 100km to go to Harwich… at that time I thought it was OK, but it happens to rain in England… even Heavy rain! or hail! so riding under these condtions definitely make is slower… I finaly had a sky clear up and a last feast in an other countrypub, and hit to road as fast as I could afterwards for the last hour of daylight… at half 10, it was to dark, I did complet about 145km, and still have 30… so stop in a wet field, for a cold and short night…

From Lincoln to Peterborough.. to find: Daniel Martin!

and further south..

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

From Bawtry to Lincoln
Bawtry was a really nice stay, strolling around the forest, passing along the pork farms, having some lunch in a proper country pub; I eventually managed to move on at about 4pm, taking the direction of Lincoln as it was too late to make it to Peterborough. As I had time I used only the small countryside back roads, except for the last 10 miles where its not possible due to a large river to cross, the from a A to a B road, leading to Lincoln’s decent cycle tracks. I discover a rather nice old city with a massive cathedral, but as it was rather late I decided not to stay much longer and set off to the south, looking for a spot to stay overnight. The road I choosed to leave Lincoln (B1188) were closed to the circulation due to roadworks, I managed to sneak in thanks to the pavements/verges and then found myself on a road for me alone! After a few miles its wasn’t true anymore though, but luckily I found a very nice corner between orchard and a field, facing east (good for the morning) and a forest across the field. Perfect for a good night!

The south of England…

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

from the north of the Moors, through the national Park, then through York (nice), and then on the rush towards Doncaster to reach Bawtry rather late at night…
My night in the north of the moors having been pretty cold, I didn’t get to sleep much, so in the morning I put more clothes on and get a few extra hours sleep, so that I eventually left my field at about 11am… I then climbed onto the Moors hills (north Yorkshire national park), good hills, good landscape. On the way down passing Helmsley I came across signs indicating a “cycle event” so I check, it was the “Grand Prix of Ryedale” having the finish in a massive park, but 2 hours later, so I made my way towards York, getting to see the race on the way! At the feeding point, I requested to get a bottle too, as my effort deserve on of those fancy “protein recovery” bottle, they first refused to give me one, being offended I shouted some more or less friendly words telling about my disappointment, up to a loud “Yir all a bunch of stingy bastards!” and just before the end a friendly old man gave me one! Woohoo! Success!
After that I came down to visit the nice city of York, did a bit the “tourist”, had a rest in a nice park, went to some cafés and pub to find a wifi connection to find out that my next host planned for the day after couldn’t anymore, but could host me the same day ! (a few hours later!) I checked the distance (about 60km) said OK, its rideable! Let’s go! Jumped on my bike, snapped the Clifford tower on the way on rushed the 60 km at a rather high speed average, head in the handlebar. After a sign “Bawtry 18” I accelerated, soon seing a sign “Bawtry 9”, making me believe it was so close, but actually I saw an other (the same Bawtry 9 something like 3-5 miles away! Further away, according to my bike computer I knew that I wasn’t far anymore (it was about 9pm, and I already covered 145km during the day) I thought “right, I’m almost there, nothing can stop me now, except a puncture” and guess what happened….? My first puncture over more than 2000km with this old cracked rear tyre… my tools and spare parts being deep inside the rear pannier (on purpose), I tried to fix the puncture with a patch, packed up during the drying time; it didn’t work. Pissed off, I grabbed my spare tube and spare tyre, fitted them and rushed as fast as possible the last 4 miles almost by night…

Leaving Newcastle

Saturday, June 6th, 2009
in the Free trade inn

in the Free trade inn

with dry weather…
after 2 nice nights visiting a few pubs and sampling plenty of pints, recovering, its time to leave, as my attempt to negotiate for a cheap ferry ticket without cabin didn’t worked out….

Some rain in northern England, but nothing heavy, it won’t put me off to move… So after Cris went back home and we finished chattingwith his flatmate, I eventually packed up in the middle of the afternoon, direction The South, cape to Durham which is a nice mediaval city with a big Cathedral, castle and plenty of cobblestone…

As the last news of my next host where a hosting possible where for 2 days+ later, I took a bit of a detour to go towards York through the national park of the Moors of North Yorkshire, aiming to pass over to Hull to try the same negociation for the ferry… So this day I made it almost up to the beginning of the Moors.

Third cycle day

Friday, June 5th, 2009

121km, from somewhere in the nature (corner of an orchard) about 12 miles north of Coldstream, down to Newcastle along the Northumberland national park. A good day cycling through rather cold areas, I didn’t expected i would need some gloves… so had freezing fingers, but considering the fact that all what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger; I’m just OK and stronger! Then I arrived well in this huge city of Newcastle upon (on?) Tyne, found my way through to land at Chris’s place, we set off again on bike about a few minutes after I arrived for a good tour west wards, picking up some documents for the election campaign and then went around some residential areas to ask people if they have had a chance to vote… It was good especially to that extent that I didn’t vote and felt a bit guilty for that, so I offset this fact by telling people to vote!
After that we deserved a well greasy Fish n’ chips and then some pints of great locals ales in some of the best pubs of the city, such as the Cumberland Arms and the Free trade Inn (among other..:) So a long day and therefore a deep sleep!

Day 3 (second of cycling)

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Day 3 (but second on the loaded bike) Leaving Edinburgh (after hesitation to buy sunscreen, and handlebar holder adjustment..) along the Portobello beach up to Mussellburgh, lovely and windy; then head off through the countryside over the B roads, quiet enough. Heading to the Lommermuir Hills (fairly steep! Some 17% and 14% bits!) passing the Whiteadder reservoir and going down towards the Northumberland area. An other very sunny day that cooked me over my burnt, when I stopped for my dinner in a place likely to host me for the night, I did hesitate to continue as it was quite early, but I just crashed and pitched the tent for the night, sun knackered!

Edinburgh, one day stay

Friday, June 5th, 2009

My second day “on trip” was active, but I stayed in Edinburgh. I met Manu an other CSer (friend since the Crammond Island camping) and then spent an hour as a tourist in Edinburgh… I bought some good stuff from a famous cheesemonger (I’m French after all!) then climbed up onto the Arthur’s Seat, with a great view this time! 2 crazy young ladies with their kids were trying to come down on a damn steep slope, I convinced them to come back up and use an alternative more gentle way… Then I took a bike run down to Bilston wood to visit the resist camp against the by pass extension over the wood. Was nice and peaceful as well as friendly, but I wouldn’t spend a year there as many do. Time ran late so I decided I was late to go home to do some shopping for the dinner with my host an other CSer, it took me almost 40 min to cycle back on full speed! I arrived just in time, got some organic groceries, then we had “oatcakes and cheese” as starter to wait during the cooking time, kinda stuffed but the food was good so we still ate it, and even finished everything! We then had a nice chill out evening, talking about bikes in general and adventures, my host showed me some pictures from a cycling tour in Ecuador which looks almost unreal…. Stunning!

Step one: Dundee-Edinburgh

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

TaybridgeFirst of June 2009, that was me eventually on the road again! Yeah, like every trip, its been a bit difficult in the last few days before leaving, good bye to many people, many stuff to pack up and check (and re-check), come up with the whole idea of leaving a part of my life; but once on the road its been great!!
So basically my trip out of Dundee started by crossing the 2200m long Tay bridge, gateway to Fife, a nice hilly piece of country… I made my road to Cupar and then Glenrothe, switching from tiny backroads to bigger “straight lines” roads, it was nice and sunny, so sunny that I got damn sunburnt!!! My first British sunburn!
Then I went down to the Forth bridge but before crossing it I gave a go to the haggling in Rosyth port, trying to purchase a ferry ticket “on deck” cause the cabin top up the crossing fare of about 100£; but that was closed, so I just had to head off to Edinburgh…
After the bridge, cyclist HAVE to follow a single cycle track which is fairly well sign posted, but with a surfacing in a really poor condition… so that at some point my tent sticked out of my package and fell off, I dragged it the time necessary to stop (surprisingly the backpack that was on top of the tent didn’t fell!) . Seeing that a nice young lady called Mel stopped to check if I was all right and started a friendly chat, then showed me the way up to the city center. Her explanation to get to Portobello confused my, but it didn’t matter as I just made an extra bit of city visit.. In the end of the day I just arrived fine at my hosts place who was watching through the window with an other couchsurfer; it was just time to get the dinner! Nice and tasty, with a second round, then followed bye a nice chat until late. The night wasn’t as good as expected because of my burning arms and legs. But its OK!