I’m home for now so I take advantage and write a bit more extensively today.
I headed out to collect my bike and start riding quite promptly after finishing my studies, we had moved and there had been too much to do for too long. While I am an experienced rider and know very well the healing and relaxing feeling that riding gives me, my relation to camping is not as solid. However, I have to say that it grows on me. After last year’s good experience during the Emigration Tour I had decided to camp this year as well. June can be cold the best of years, and this is not a good year, at least not weather-wise. To prepare, I bought woollen thermals, to ride and sleep in, and yes they were needed, I slept with them all nights and with another layer of thermals on top of them. My sleep was good, very good and I am grateful for the lack of rain throughout this leg of the trip.
My major problem on this trip was that my phone cable kept losing contact so the phone failed to charge. Therefore, I could only occasionally use the GPS. I had maps so I would always find my way, but when I have got used to riding roads like this with TomTom it is sad to not be able to.
Christopher and I did some backroad riding around Bruges and some roads ran straight through farms while others crossed forests. We found Damme, an absolute pearl, riding along one of the many waterways around Bruges. In Damme we had coffee and pancakes, our aim was actually to cross into The Netherlands to experience some roads marked as scenic on the map but due to extensive roadworks we did not manage. We were pleased with what we got still, including the pancakes.
We did a photo shoot by the canal in Damme and Christopher took some good images of me riding.
When entering Bruges, we did another photo shoot to capture the amazing entrance through which the traffic passes after crossing the bridge over the circular canal. While we were preparing for the photo a lady passed on a bicycle and asked, in Spanish, if I could take a photo of her 🙂
Although Bruges is very touristic and expensive, it is also very pretty. We did what everyone else did, photographed ourselves by the mirror sculpture on the square, then we realised that one can enter and see people posing from the inside, one mirror is see-through. Great fun.
No visit is complete without a run and Bruges proved to be a good location for running. The park along the outer canal was excellent for a midday run, despite the heat the trees provided enough shade to still make it bearable.
The final day of this leg was the crossing of the English Channel. Christopher by bus and me with Lazy Cat. It was a very windy day and I arrived early for the ferry. Despite seeing many bikes before Calais none headed for the ferry, my guess is that they opted for the tunnel (which, btw, was double the price when I booked). This was my first time taking the ferry from Calais and I have now seen with my own eyes the immigrants trying to get lucky and get a ride with someone. A scary sight indeed. Life is very unfair, few people think of that when being on the lucky side. I was indeed very lucky, not only had I a passport and ticket, I also had a thermos with coffee and a chocolate bar.
The staff on the ferry where thrilled that their only biker was female. My bike was tied for me and when I left the ferry they took every measure to help, they were even impressed that I had untied the bike myself and put the straps back. While riding towards Calais and during the crossing to Dover I had my own theme music, in my head. It was a Swedish pop song from the 80s called Dover Calais by Style. I’ll link to it for those who like to freshen up their memories of the 80s. They have powerful hair, that alone is worth seeing.
England welcomed, grey and drizzly, but apart from the weather I had a smooth ride. I am home for now, washing and repacking. This upcoming weekend we head to Great Missenden for the Overland Event, hopefully it will not rain and we will have lots of fun. I have also sorted out a zillion things and gotten a new front tyre. It was no problem to make an appointment at Zenith Motorcycles and I got a warm welcome. It is the first motorcycle business I have come across which is run by a woman, for that alone I am glad to have found it. Apart from getting a new tyre, I also learned something new, locking the back wheel is better than front, at least it makes it harder for the thieves to carry the bike away.
That is all for now, time to step into my running shoes and get some fresh air, relatively speaking. Thank you for reading!