2016: May 14-17: Short "Fridays" Tour to France

The chance of a long weekend touring in northern France has come up so we’ve decided to grab it. It’ll be a very civilised tour with a couple of days of about 50 miles or so, and the easiest trip to France you could imagine. It’s an ideal first tour abroad. We’ll ride in the usual manner of The Fridays - an All-Upper, TECs, Waymarkers, you'll carry your own luggage on the bike), etc. No one left behind, etc.
You just need to pay for the coach, book rooms, and buy your food. The route is (kinda) sorted. If you live in London you can manage to do it with one Monday off work.
We have the chance of a cheap - £50 each - coach trip out. Reading CTC supremo Simon Bird (some of you may know him from the overnight ride from Reading to Lymington that Simon Legg was a fan of) has booked the coach to bring back from Paris a group that is riding out from Reading. This means the coach is travelling out empty! Would we turn down this chance of avoiding crowded trains, riding the lethal roads of Dover to the ferry, then dealing with the roads to Calais railway station etc etc? Pah!
By the way, we pass this:
Here’s the skinny: it’s all good. As with all tours with The Fridays, you book your own accommodation and we’ll meet at an agreed spot in the morning for a departure about 10am.
  • We meet at Clacket Lane services near Sevenoaks about 10.30am on Saturday May 14. (Clacket Lane services are 4 miles from Oxted Station (for Southern services) and 7 miles from Sevenoaks (for South-Eastern services) - so reasonably easy to get to. We’ll take off pedals and have bubble-wrap to protect bikes which will go underneath the coach in the luggage area. There’s space for 20 bikes, the coach company says. We go in the comfy seats with our luggage - there’ll be loads of space as we’re limited to 20 bikes and thus 20 riders.
  • The coach drops us just off the motorway near Chantilly (which has a chateau - see pic above), and we ride for a couple of hours - mostly through a forest on a  cycle track called “Le Rue Entre Les Deux Ponts” - we’ll go past the chateau at Chantilly but won’t have the time to spend wandering around inside.
  • This is an approximation of the 30k (about 20 miles) route https://goo.gl/maps/Qh8c5ATHDdu after we get off the coach on the Saturday afternoon. I guess we’ll ride from about 5pm to about 7pm.We’ll spend Saturday night in Creil-sur-Oise where there is an Ibis hotel where rooms are about £57. You can book any hotel you choose: we’ll try to eat together.
  • On Sunday we’ll ride along this route (possibly) about 80k or 50 miles to Gourney en Bray (lunch in Beauvais) and I shall book into this hotel http://en.hotellecygne.fr/ because someone on Trip Advisor said it was good for cyclists (locked garage etc). About €65 -ish plus grub. this might be a route: https://goo.gl/maps/63PyWRAZeSz
  • On Monday we could ride this: a dead easy 80k day https://goo.gl/maps/JhL4nxHa3Gx with lunch in Neufchatel and then the Voie Verte to Dieppe, along the old railway line which is perfect tarmac and dead straight. Some may wish to take the ferry on Monday at 6pm, cost is £28 single with a bike, arriving in Newhaven at 9pm.  The alternative is a ferry at 12.30pm on Tuesday afternoon.
  • There are loads of hotels in Dieppe: some of us have booked into The Hotel Windsor, which - appropriately - is right on the coast: http://www.hotelwindsor.fr/
  • It’ll be a 12.30pm ferry on Tuesday lunchtime.
We have 11 definites and a possible five spare places.
Cost: likely to be:
  • £50 for coach, about £35 per night maybe if you share a room and have breakfast so call that £100 for the three nights we are away, £28 for the ferry and train fare home from Newhaven. Lunches for the Saturday, Sunday and Monday might be say £15 each maybe more or maybe less. You’d be looking at starting with £250 and finishing up with some change out of that.
You have until March 31 so only a few days to think about this so expressions of interest to:
And I’d appreciate any thoughts on routes, things you’d like to do, etc etc. If you have friends who are not in The Fridays, they’ll be welcome to come along but if we fill the spaces on the coach, members get priority, obvs. You might have a bunch of mates who think this a good idea - chat to them. If you want to camp you can, no reason why not, it’s up to you.
It’ll be a laugh. So put your thinking caps on, and let me know your thoughts.
Martin (one of The Leaders)