Pedalling Pipey

Joined April 2016
  • Day71

    Day 71 - Maidstone to Home, 49 miles

    June 25, 2016 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 64 °F

    So that's a wrap. 10 weeks, 9 countries, 2726 miles riden, 3 Tour de France climbs conquered, 1 Monaco GP yacht party, 1 puncture, 1 broken pannier and many new friends and memories made that will last a lifetime.

    So that's it. Incredible trip that will take a while for it all to really sink in. So many highlights and don't get me wrong there were tough days but they were few and far between.

    Fitting that today's ride was in sun, rain and wind and felt strange rolling back into Putney knowing that there'll be no riding tomorrow. Secretly though I can't wait to have a lazy Sunday in the pub and think a full English to start followed by a good old Sunday roast will be in order.

    This tour may have ended but this is only the beginning of my touring career!!
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  • Day70

    Day 70 - Calais to Maidstone, 48 miles

    June 24, 2016 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 68 °F

    So after an amazing and diverse 10 weeks of beautiful scenery, cultures and people and many new friends made its time to leave Europe and sadly as it turns out in more ways than one today. Many things may change after today's vote but hopefully we will all never loose the freedom to travel to and learn from different cultures all over the world.

    I may be heading home but there's still some miles to cover and after not seeing a hill for about 2 weeks following the Rhine the steep climb to the top of the White Cliffs of Dover were a bit of shock to the system! After taking in the amazing views along the coast from the top it was time to head in land through Kent 'the garden of England' to visit family in Maidstone.

    Felt a little surreal to be back riding in England and adjusting to riding on the left again! After only a few miles you realise that even though cycling is exploding in the UK we still have a long way to match the quality of road surfaces , cycling networks and maybe most importantly the relationship between cyclist and traffic. On the continent the cyclist is soo respected. In the 40 or so miles I rode in England today I probably had as many cars pass me too close and in dangerous spots as I did in the list 10 weeks in Europe.

    Despite the above it was still a good ride today in the sunshine (who'd have thought coming back to England would give me sun!) and was great seeing family and catching up on everything.

    Last ride tomorrow!
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  • Day69

    Day 69 - Bruges to Calais, 76 miles

    June 23, 2016 in France ⋅ ⛅ 68 °F

    Last ride on the continent today and was not looking good to start as I awoke to the sound of heavy rain and thunder however forecast said it would clear. Didn't feel the greatest either after last night so hanging around until 11ish waiting for the rain to stop wasn't a bad thing.

    Once heading off in drizzle I didn't expect the weather in ended up going. By the time I reached the Belgium coast there wasn't a cloud in the sky and I even needed to get the sunscreen out for the first time in over two weeks.

    Beautiful wide beaches but not the most characteristic of coasts with the towns lacking a any real culture. As you cross over the border into France heavy industry takes over around Dunkirk and the coastal route heads inland slightly.

    Heading into the evening sunshine and riding along small country lanes through barley fields it was a nice moment to look back on the trip and try and start to take it all in.

    With the ferry booked for tomorrow morning it was time for a relaxed evening in a hotel by the beach in Calais and after an evening walk got to watch an incredible storm cross the chanel as the sun set. Dramatic end to an amazing trip.

    Two more days on the bike back to London to come but first is the ferry in the morning.
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  • Day68

    Day 68 - Vlissingen to Bruges, 38 miles

    June 22, 2016 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 70 °F

    Long day today and mostly dry!

    Day started with the short ferry ride across the estuary from Vlissingen to Breskens then a nice ride along the Dutch coast. Plenty of fellow day trippers out on their bikes as well. At the border with Belgium it was time to head in land towards Bruges following the canals and pleased for a calmer day as legs were feeling tired after yesterday.

    Was in Bruges by mid afternoon and didn't take long to cycle round the old town as very small centre. Beautiful city and would be a great place to visit for a weekend with another half.

    Stayed in a hostel today just out the centre which was nice and was in a more locals area rather than the very touristy centre. After checking in headed to a local bar and got talking to a Belgium guy and his Argentinian girlfriend who were have a few match beers before Belgiums euro game against Sweden. After a few 8.5 percenters we all then headed up to the fan zone in central Bruges were the atmosphere was buzzing. Great evening partying with a few thousand very happy Belgium fans where even a huge thunderstorm couldn't dampen the atmosphere. Great fun but got a feeling I'm going pay for it tomorrow!
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  • Day67

    Day 67-Rotterdam to Vlissingen, 74 miles

    June 21, 2016 in the Netherlands ⋅ ☁️ 64 °F

    Don't let the first photo deceive you as today was a brutal ride. There's more of clue in the 4th photo and unfortunately it wasn't in my favour. After all the climbs and mountains of the Pyrenees and Alps the flattest country on my trip delivered possibly the hardest ride especially mentally.

    After leaving Rotterdam you are immediately exposed to the elements as with a completely flat country there is no hiding place. Riding down the coastline across the flood defences that connect the headlands and protect the country it is very beautiful scenery with huge sky's and on a good day would be massively rewarding for a cyclist. Today though I guess the reward was just getting through it.

    A constant drizzle all morning and with a brutal head wind it was tough going. A much needed break was had in the very cool Natural High beach bar and re-energised I cracked on with the last 30 miles trying to enjoy the ride. Then with only 5 miles left the weather broke the clouds cleared and the sun came out and I was rewarded with a beautiful ride along the canal into Vlissingen and along the coast. Like getting a birdie down the last after playing terrible for the first 17 holes, the love was back and fingers crossed I get a dry sunny ride to Brugge tomorrow!
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  • Day66

    Day 66 - Brakel to Rotterdam, 37 miles

    June 20, 2016 in the Netherlands ⋅ 🌧 59 °F

    So the good weather was short lived as today was pretty much non stop rain. After starting in drizzle to soon changed to heavy rain and was just a case of getting to Rotterdam. I could have taken a more scenic route but the shortest possible was option for the day with a large section alongside a motorway into Rotterdam being most direct.

    My hostel (King Kong Hostel) located on the very cool Witte de Withstraat street in Rotterdam was a very welcome site and a beer and coffee was quickly ordered. Really nice area where the locals drink and had a real East London feel. Good evening and less said about the England game the better!
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  • Day65

    Day 65 - Emmerich to Brakel, 78 miles

    June 19, 2016 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    New country and eventually a curve in the weather with no train today and even glimpses of the sun.

    One thing that's amazed me on this trip is that after a crossing a border even though you're on the same road and scenery the same you can instantly feel a different culture.

    You hear about it but first thing that strikes you about Holland is how cycle friendly it is. I covered nearly 80 miles today and it was all on cycle paths even through a couple of big towns. Even their bins next to the paths are tilted and like huge nets so you can throw your rubbish in without stopping.

    Always nice to have a bit of company on the ride and got talking to a Dutch guy called Rob a triathlete who was heading in the same direction and was happy to cruise at my touring pace until we reached his home town of Nijmegen. Really nice guy and great chatting about places we'd both riden in Europe, our bikes (very jealous of his five!), Holland and triathlons. Definitely reignited my interest in getting into doing one when I get back.

    After leaving Rob in Nijmegen it was head down along the river heading West towards Rotterdam. After a nice pint in a riverside pub I rode into the evening and checked into a really nice B&B owned by a lovely couple Ans and Hans. On walking into their home they asked if I loved dogs and said that I love them. The relaxed response of 'oh great we have three' and no warning I was a little shocked when they opened the door to be greeted by three huge alsatians that seemed to be in competition to see who could jump highest on me. Just love the reflaxed attitude of the Dutch as Ans calmly said I thought you said you loved dogs after Id clearly shat myself when they jumped on me.

    After the initial shock Billy, Rex and (never caught the third name, was Dutch) they turned out to be big softies and nice evening was spent chatting to my hosts.
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  • Day64

    Day 64-Dusseldorf to Emmerich,63 miles

    June 18, 2016 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 63 °F

    Made a mistake today and decided to ride rather than chill in Dusseldorf and watch the sport. After a very groggy start in more ways than one after last night the weather seemed to break up at midday and I decided to get a few miles in. Big mistake as less than 2 hours later the heavens opened again. Not great riding either to be honest with not much to see in Duisburg and the rest of the ride post dull. Only highlight came in Xanten where after another downpour then was a dry spell and had the chance to have a quick look the historic town and also very randomly watch a Scottish festival teaching place in the town!

    Heading into Holland tomorrow and Askrigg grey it looks line it should be dry. Fingers crossed!!
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  • Day63

    Day 63 - Cologne to Dusseldorf, 27 miles

    June 17, 2016 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    Short ride upto Dusseldorf today for a number of reasons.

    One the morning was spent doing a bit of maintenance ton the bike including a new rear tyre which will see was in a bad way! Two weather was terrible again with good hour spent chilling under a bridge at one point as I let a huge thunderstorm pass. Three as I arrived in Dusseldorf the weather cleared up and I simply fancied a beer in the sun and as you will see Dusseldorf is a cracking night out.Read more

  • Day62

    Day 62 - Koblenz to Cologne, 67 miles

    June 16, 2016 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 66 °F

    All about navigation today as due to all the recent rain a lot of the cycle route along the river was closed. Normally wouldn't mind a bit of re-navifation but in a valley with limited options apart from a busy road it wasn't great but more importantly I needed to find a bar by 3pm for the England Wales game!

    After a short stint on the road I went back the river path and things had improved so headed to Bonn and managed to find a trusty Irish bar to watch the game with randomly a group of Germans who were supporting England.

    After the game it was best part of the day and had a really nice evening ride upto Cologne. Very vibrant city and while place was buzzing for the German game against Poland. Great atmosphere in town and good to watch the game with local fans.
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