Author Topic: ACME goes European  (Read 3446 times)

ACME goes European
« on: March 26, 2019, 02:47:22 pm »
In a nutshell
For the last couple of years we've had a gaggle of riders partake in the delights of the Netherlands for a weekend / long weekend / week. The Strangler made an excellent suggestion that this should be an annual event  :facepalm: and so here we are planning the next instalment.

Due to popular demand, riding distances will be kept much shorter this year. Circa 100km per day. That'll surely please a lot of folk, and provide time for more sightseeing, or sampling the local gastronomical delights (by the way, gastronomy covers both food and drink ... you learn something new every day!).

Proposed date
Historically this has been a mid-September event, so I am proposing getting across the channel late on Thursday 12th Sept, and a return late on Sunday 15th Sept (back in Harwich at 6:30am Monday morning). If that is suitable for the majority, then those who wish to make a longer trip can either extend at the start, or at the end.

Proposed route
Now this is where it gets interesting. You see, a ferry from Dover to Dunkirk with bicycle costs just £15. Bargain! Plus there are lots of sailings to choose from.

So the thinking was to do a circuitous route from Dunkirk up to Hook, which is 300km approx. In Belgium there is a network of long distance cycle paths, which would be a good resource to start with. Details are at https://www.groteroutepaden.be/en/pagina/213-256/route-overzicht.html.

Getting to Dover
For those with time on their hands, cycling down to Dover would be an option. With a bit of meandering, a 200km route would be possible from mid-Essex. Then a Thursday evening sailing and lodging somewhere close to Dunkirk for the night.

For those with less time, you can cycle quicker to Dover, or perhaps take the train. A Thursday evening sailing might appeal, but there's also scope to get an early Friday morning crossing and meet up in Dunkirk ... or if you miss the departure of the peloton from Dunkirk, then meet up a bit later in the day.

Thoughts?
Nothing is yet cast in stone, so please do advise if any of these arrangements can be improved upon.

tedshred

  • ACME photographer in residence
Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2019, 02:56:05 pm »
It seems there is a train from Stratford International to Dover.  A 6.30am departure from Witham shows arrival at Dover at 8.39.

The pleasure of pain endured
To purify our misfit ways

Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2019, 03:07:28 pm »
It seems there is a train from Stratford International to Dover.  A 6.30am departure from Witham shows arrival at Dover at 8.39.

On the Friday morning there are sailings at 9:10 and 10:00. I would expect the 10:00 crossing to be the feasible one for a 6:30am start from Witham. The crossing takes about 2 hours, plus the hour difference, so in Dunkirk at around 1pm.

If a number of people opt for that, then we might end up with 2 pelotons on the Friday, but we can keep the distances shorter on the first day to help everybody get together a bit later in the day. Or those staying in Dunkirk on the Thursday night could do a longer but more circuitous route to the Friday night destination.

tedshred

  • ACME photographer in residence
Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2019, 03:27:32 pm »
Yes, and there you have the big difference between the Dover and Harwich crossings. 

Mind you, the ferry plus a night near Dunkirk must still be cheaper than the Harwich crossing.

If I can swing the time for the trip, I will probably aim for a leisurely ride to Dover on the Thursday (not necessarily a 200) and then a return on the Monday or Tuesday overnight from Hoek.

I will rely on yours and Jiber's organisational skills to herd the ACME cats once more  :thumbsup:
The pleasure of pain endured
To purify our misfit ways

Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2019, 03:33:44 pm »
Mind you, the ferry plus a night near Dunkirk must still be cheaper than the Harwich crossing.

Currently £80 for 1 person with cabin on the return from Hoek on the Sunday night. So not a huge difference if you factor in a cheap hotel in Dunkirk on top of the £15 ferry.

One crazy alternative plan would be to cycle to Dover overnight and get a very early ferry in time for breakfast at the Dunkirk hotel.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2019, 04:10:03 pm »
Last time I used that route (2017?) there was an overnight sailing - worked pretty well for the last train out of London (err ... brain fade ... Charing Cross??) and getting a couple of hours kip in the "lounge" before breakfast in Dunkirk (we had to go to the centre to get our Brevet cards stamped!)

Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

tedshred

  • ACME photographer in residence
Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2019, 04:28:00 pm »
Yes, there seem to be ferries every couple of hours overnight.

I am not sure some of the more venerable members would appreciate that sort of timing though.  Their old bones don't cope well with the night.
The pleasure of pain endured
To purify our misfit ways

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2019, 04:29:31 pm »
Just be advised that the ride from the Ferry north predominantly sucks, at least for the first 20k or so.

The first 5-10k is through the harbour area, which is a dump, as well as all the trucks trying to kill you, you may have the joys of the literal French wanker by the side of the road.

You're then going into Belgium. I'm probably biased after being on the receiving end of far to many close passes at the weekend, but ugh, don't want to go back that way any time soon.

When you make it to NL, I can come say hello (assuming I want to get back on a bike so soon after the TCR), if you want some semi local company...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Deano_44

  • Enjoy the Ride!
Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2019, 04:34:12 pm »
Would just like to register my interest in joining this adventure.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2019, 04:39:01 pm »
Just be advised that the ride from the Ferry north predominantly sucks, at least for the first 20k or so.

Seconded, though I vaguely recall nikki OTP coming up with some sort of cunning canal-based route that neatly avoided the worst of it.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2019, 04:40:27 pm »
I'm interested.

I like the idea of a 200 before we get to the other side :thumbsup:

Mind you, last year a 60k-100k wasn't enough to keep the pounds off, maybe I'll have to eat less???

Proving ambition is undone by ability since 1958...


Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2019, 04:51:01 pm »
Just be advised that the ride from the Ferry north predominantly sucks, at least for the first 20k or so.

Thanks for the heads up. Looks like we'll need to be creative in finding a quiet route once outside the harbour area.

Quote
When you make it to NL, I can come say hello (assuming I want to get back on a bike so soon after the TCR), if you want some semi local company...

J

That would be great. We'll have our route published long in advance of the ride, so we can work out a suitable rendez-vous assuming you've still got the love of cycling in September.

Would just like to register my interest in joining this adventure.

 :thumbsup:

... I vaguely recall nikki OTP coming up with some sort of cunning canal-based route that neatly avoided the worst of it.

Sounds promising, thank you for mentioning this potential option.

I'm interested.

I like the idea of a 200 before we get to the other side :thumbsup:

Glad you approve and have registered your interest  :)


jiberjaber

  • ... Fancy Pants \o/ ...
  • ACME S&M^2
Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2019, 06:40:06 pm »
Just be advised that the ride from the Ferry north predominantly sucks, at least for the first 20k or so.

The first 5-10k is through the harbour area, which is a dump, as well as all the trucks trying to kill you, you may have the joys of the literal French wanker by the side of the road.

You're then going into Belgium. I'm probably biased after being on the receiving end of far to many close passes at the weekend, but ugh, don't want to go back that way any time soon.

When you make it to NL, I can come say hello (assuming I want to get back on a bike so soon after the TCR), if you want some semi local company...

J

I have a TheFridays route to Dunkirk which we used on the 2017 tours last time - worked really well :)

Ibis in Dunkirk iirc (I'll have to look back to check - actually I stayed in B&B Hôtel Dunkerque Centre Gare iirc £44 + £5 for breakfast)

ETA (in case anyone wants it) https://ridewithgps.com/routes/27774528
Regards,

Joergen

Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2019, 07:53:16 pm »
Just be advised that the ride from the Ferry north predominantly sucks, at least for the first 20k or so.

Seconded, though I vaguely recall nikki OTP coming up with some sort of cunning canal-based route that neatly avoided the worst of it.

Aye: http://www.gpxeditor.co.uk/routes2/users/nikki/Dunkirk-Veurne
IIRC it's quiet roads as soon as you hang a right off the Route des Dunes. From Veurne you can link up with the LF routes and be on cycle paths in the dunes.


Kim

  • Timelord
Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2019, 09:49:34 pm »
You're then going into Belgium. I'm probably biased after being on the receiving end of far to many close passes at the weekend, but ugh, don't want to go back that way any time soon.

Belated thought:  These guys are coming from Essex, so bad driving shouldn't be a problem.  (And if it is, there's always dynamite.)
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Tomsk

  • Fueled by cake since 1957
    • tomsk.co.uk
Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2019, 07:39:11 am »
I'm up for this  :thumbsup:

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2019, 09:22:15 am »
Yes, there seem to be ferries every couple of hours overnight.

I am not sure some of the more venerable members would appreciate that sort of timing though.  Their old bones don't cope well with the night.
I did see mention of an overnight ride to the ferry by psyclist!

(The other benefit of a dawn arrival was the nice empty roads on which to get the hell out of Dunkirk.  I remember cycling in from Belgium on a July afternoon, and the last few miles were indeed pretty horrendous. )
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

jiberjaber

  • ... Fancy Pants \o/ ...
  • ACME S&M^2
Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2019, 09:36:01 am »
Absolutely empty that route I rode....


Regards,

Joergen

tedshred

  • ACME photographer in residence
Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2019, 09:44:44 am »
Ok, so we're out of Dunkirk.  Is it mainly Belgium thereafter with a quick scamper up the coast to reach Hoek ?

Psyclist mentioned hills (he likes hills).  I assume that means heading east ?
The pleasure of pain endured
To purify our misfit ways

jiberjaber

  • ... Fancy Pants \o/ ...
  • ACME S&M^2
Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2019, 09:55:07 am »
Ok, so we're out of Dunkirk.  Is it mainly Belgium thereafter with a quick scamper up the coast to reach Hoek ?

Psyclist mentioned hills (he likes hills).  I assume that means heading east ?

Depends - there may be an option for an extended break or not... I'm not sure what I'm doing yet, but was thinking of heading inland then back out... perhaps involving trappist breweries

(Small print - this is not an organised tour, last year wasn't supposed to be either... I am just going to ride my bike in foreign lands between beers....)
Regards,

Joergen

Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #20 on: March 27, 2019, 10:22:33 am »
Ok, so we're out of Dunkirk.  Is it mainly Belgium thereafter with a quick scamper up the coast to reach Hoek ?

Psyclist mentioned hills (he likes hills).  I assume that means heading east ?

What I will be plotting is a route and schedule that appeals for the majority. Without looking at the terrain, I noted that a semi-circle that goes inland from Dunkirk, up and round to Hoek was about 300km. That's just a starting point, but gives a rough indication before detailed route planning starts (with the aim to include as many things of interest along the way, with as much use of cycle paths and quiet roads as possible).

Given that some people like to carry a lot on their bikes, I wouldn't be aiming for a hilly route. Mind you, the hills are in the east of Belgium, so it would require an extended trip to feature those delights.

I'm expecting one or two riders like jiberjaber to extend on their own agenda, which is fine. I'll just be focussing on putting a plan together for the majority. Ultimately everybody will be on their own individual excursion (ie its not an organised ride per se), but as in previous years I'll provide a route and suggested eating / drinking / sleeping places, so all the individual excursions can occur simultaneously. I might do a bit of cat herding, but if people want to deviate that is fine. It'll just help if people keep me informed of their plans.

As the dates seem to be agreeable, I'll start to look at accommodation options, places of interest and route options. I'd like to be in a position to confirm enough detail for people to be able to book travel and accommodation options by the middle of April.

huggy

  • ACME GCFO +&+ Mr RRtY
    • ACME
Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #21 on: March 27, 2019, 10:41:14 am »
Unfortunately for me the date clashes with the back end of 10 days being out of the country :'(
Never knowingly underfed on an Audax

tedshred

  • ACME photographer in residence
Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #22 on: March 27, 2019, 10:57:03 am »

(Small print - this is not an organised tour, last year wasn't supposed to be either... I am just going to ride my bike in foreign lands between beers....)

Does that mean no spreadsheet ?

If I can go I demand the full Joergen experience; scheduled stops, obscure places of interest en route, grumpy lunches - the works !

Trappist brewery tour sounds interesting...
The pleasure of pain endured
To purify our misfit ways

tedshred

  • ACME photographer in residence
Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #23 on: March 27, 2019, 11:35:52 am »
Unfortunately for me the date clashes with the back end of 10 days being out of the country :'(

Huggy, PBP is during the week beginning the 19th.  Have you miscalculated your dates ?
The pleasure of pain endured
To purify our misfit ways

huggy

  • ACME GCFO +&+ Mr RRtY
    • ACME
Re: ACME goes European
« Reply #24 on: March 27, 2019, 12:48:25 pm »
Unfortunately for me the date clashes with the back end of 10 days being out of the country :'(
Huggy, PBP is during the week beginning the 19th.  Have you miscalculated your dates ?
Nope.  I did have the irrational thought that as many would be toddling off to France in August that another ACME assault on Europe in September would be unlikely, hence arranging other things in early September.
However, if it takes YOU 10 days to complete PBP then something has gone horribly wrong, hope it doesn't!  It will not take me 10 days to complete PBP on account of not starting it in the first place.
Never knowingly underfed on an Audax