Saturday, 1 May 2010

Cycling from Huddersfield to Gibraltar Day 3.

Nice stop over in Ashford B&B now lets get to Folkestone for this shuttle ......

I'm on the road and its another sunny day. I'm headed on the A20 to Folkestone and there's a Headwind ! Oh no.... This is going to be hard just what I don't need when I'm rushing to catch a shuttle bus :-( Wow.. there's a Racecourse! nice one and a John Smiths emblem.. I could just have one of those now - my Favourite :-)

Well before you know it I'm here in Folkestone now lets find this Express Hotel. Its 7.30am at the minute and I'm well on time, I see the signs for the hotel. Bingo!

I arrive at the reception area and asked the guy on the front desk "Excuse me, do you know if the shuttle will be arriving soon to take me and my bike to the terminal" he replied "Have you booked sir?" I replied "I did book for yesterday for 3.30pm shuttle but there was no way I could have made it, so I thought I would just catch this mornings instead" :-)

Well he did say he would try this guy's mobile to check if he was on his way...... Not good! his mobile is switched off! An indication hes not coming I was told.. What will I do now ? I know I will get the hotel to call me a cab to take me where the mini bus would have taken me.. Great idea Andy or so I thought......

When the taxi arrived I asked "How much to the terminal my friend ?" he replied "which terminal?" I explained to him the score with the shuttle bus.. "Passengers board at Ashford mate" he said. I was confused... I replied "I have just cycled about 20miles from there, this morning I'm not going back there". He said "you do have alternative and that was Dover and go on Ferry". After a check on my map it looked around 10miles to Dover, I said to the taxi guy "Thanks, I will make my way to Dover then"

After a manic cycle I'm in Dover phew!! I seem to be getting somewhere now :-) Booked onto the ferry, and while I'm waiting the 45mins to board. I treat myself to Coffee and some cakes and take a well earned rest in the ferry terminal lounge. Before I know it, its boarding time, great its onto the ferry with the cars, park up on ferry and everyone makes there way upstairs to the decks of the ferry (Very nice ferry too) think it was SeaFrance.

The crossing was very windy, but sunny again so can't complain. I was checking out the decks from front to back, looking back at the white cliffs of Dover watching them get further away as we make our way over the channel to the French coastline. My signal on phone soon changes over network. Now I have to be careful with how much I use it (It could be very costly)..

Were here in Calais.. Brilliant! I'm ready to go.. cars are all ready... and were off the ferry, now where do we go? I'm just following the traffic on the other side of the road now (Strange). I was amazed at how many people were on the outside of the high fences of the ferry terminal at Calais...think they were looking to come over to England I suppose..

Well I'm well and truly in Calais centre now and looking for the road number/sign that will take me on my way/direction to St Omer firstly. I have the road in sight and I'm off (This feels great) although I have my first strong headwind! Damn. I crack on for the rest of the afternoon battling against this strong headwind. Somehow I end up on a motorway going in the direction of St omer !! Oh no not again. I speed up its only about 2 miles that I'm on it, don't know how I got onto it but I got off shortly afterwards with no Police assistance.

From St Omer I decided then that Abbeville would be a distance to cover for the rest of the afternoon/early evening. As I was going through the centre in St Omer I was coming up to a shop it had a sign (Coiffeur) think that's how its spelt.... I though Great! I need a brew, so I pulled up only to be disappointed that it was a Hairdressers :-( (No Brew!).

The afternoon went on and by now I had a light tail wind to push me along (Yes) great news, does make it that bit easier. I was approaching Abbeville the place I was going to stay on my first night in France. I managed to find a hotel right in the centre. It was a little difficult to understand the language barrier but after a while but the lady of the hotel did speak a little English which was Great. She asked where I was cycling too.. I said Gibraltar, she turned around to several people in the foyer and told them.. they all looked amazed !

I was booked in, got all my kit emptied out in the room to sort out (phone to charge etc) had a shower, after that switched on the telly just to see what was on the box, knowing full well I would not be able to understand a thing that anyone was saying, and the first person I saw in France on the telly was Eric Cantona ! :-) then after a quick change of clothes I went out for a little strole around the town, it was very nice and quiet. I eventually went into a cafe and had something to eat and a few beers.. That was me for that night, I made my way back to the hotel for some sleep and ready for a 8am start the following morning.

Total distance today = 101miles.

Average speed = 13.4mph.

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