The French Trips

Three Day Trips to France in 2008

This year Bob Burden organised three trips to Calais and around twelve members took part each time. The riders, of the Tuesday group standard, met at Dover in the early hours and caught the dawn sailing. Bikes were stowed in the vehicle hold and the riders retired up to the top deck where they breakfasted in style. Arriving at Calais they were soon out of the town and into a maze of country lanes, led by Bob, who has been visiting the area on a regular basis for many years.

He seems to know the roads in the area like the back of his hand. The miles soon flow under the wheels as the unspoiled countryside and farms, reminiscent of Kent in the 1950’s, are explored from the commanding seat of a bicycle. Bob points out landmarks, especially any to do with railways, and takes on a greater and greater supply of surplus coats, food, drinks and even a pair of slippers, in his seemingly bottomless saddlebag. Soon it is time for elevenses. A stop is made at a taverna and here the first glass of French wine is tasted.

The Wheelers in Ardres with their host at the Restaurant
The Wheelers in Ardres with their host at the Restaurant

Then it is on again to Ardres, where lunch has been ordered. Lunch! It is a fine French meal, starting with an aperitif then its more bottles of wine, snails etc., and other fine French delicacies (Jim has gammon and chips!) sherry trifle and then its on to the serious stuff. A selection of liqueurs are forthcoming and so are the stories of pole dancing and chimney sweeping. It must have come to an end at some point because everyone rode back safely to the ferry, though few remember the journey, and found a good spot in the forward bar to watch out for the White Cliffs. The bar was open but all that seemed to be downed on the homeward journey was hot chocolate. In all 50 miles were covered through delightful countryside with very agreeable companions.

Wheelers Year Book 2008

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