French Cycling Saunter – July 2022 (Last Blog)

Ulvenhout to Europoort 59 miles & 256 metres climbing

Hull to Acaster Malbis 57 miles & 265 metres climbing

Day 10

It was all about getting to the ferry in good time today and progress was complicated through urban areas.

There were few things of interest along the way but do I find all these references or monuments to WW2 fascinating given the closeness of all the members of the EU to the Germans nowadays. This tank was donated by the Polish.

They had entered Breda first of the Allies to evict the Nazis. I got chatting with another younger guy who was attempting to stop his young boys falling off the tank as they clambered on it and raised this point. He commented that the invasion of the Nazis still ‘runs deep’. The Germans, when their retreat was inevitable, were terrible to the local population.

Wacky baccy’s legal in Holland

Nearer the coast the land becomes flatter and the winds stronger. Here I met a scouser on a bike with a Dutch accent (think Steve McLaren). As I’m peering into my handle bar bag he’d kindly stopped to ask me if I needed help? No, not really I was just finishing off some sausage rolls.

The ramp

It’s an endless search for the non signposted Europoort. Europoort is simply the name for the ferry docks in a large complex of other docks and industrial units. However I get there in good time, check in and then get on board up the steep ramp. The arrangement is that on the car decks you tie your bicycle to the wall with a rope. From there it was find my cabin, have a shower and get out for a Guinness. I’d asked Anna if there were any Duty Frees she wanted but the answer was negative.

Given the recent move by P&O to unload their British workers you might expect some negativity about the operation. As it appears to be mainly Continental Europeans on the ship, who possibly know little of recent events, there is no issue. Back in my cabin I eat the sandwiches I’d bought prior to boarding and I suddenly find myself looking at the inside of my eyelids. Over and out.

Day 11

The day starts with a Full English with the hoards. Off the ship I (foolishly) decide to follow the Trans Pennine Trail 65. It was a nightmare. Hull was difficult to get through in rush hour with cycle paths shut due to construction work. The essence of Sustrans 65 is a detour through the East Yorkshire countryside very close to the Humber. I pass unexpectedly through the premises of a company called Wienerberger where I went, unsuccessfully, for a Sales Director job in 2008. They make clay roof tiles. Meanwhile this bike ride is against a persistent westerly. To add insult to injury the route even deteriorates into a grass path at one stage. Weary I eventually get to Acaster Malbis at past 1pm.

In summary, I love riding in France, it was all I hoped for – countryside, campsites, space, food and vistas. The weather behaved all the way nearly. Cycling up the Meuse is a doddle (and enjoyable.) The last couple of days were a chore and next time, from somewhere in Belgium or Holland, I’ll catch a train from a certain point to the ferry to eliminate those pointless miles. In the past the mileage was less through Belgium. You could choose Zeebrugge over Rotterdam but the former has now closed as a ferry route back to Hull.

If you’ve followed my blog then thank you. I appreciate your time and support.

As a heads up then I think it’s back to Australia next for a bike ride, I have unfinished business.

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