The 5 Country 3 Week Tour on 3 Wheels!

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HobbesOnTour

HobbesOnTour

Über Member
Location
The Netherlands
September 26 Ripon to Pocklington 84km

By now the hills were over and it was very pleasant riding, if a bit cold. The only variation in the route that Cycle.route had generated was today. I had rerouted through York. Not sure why, it’s just one of those places that I wanted to visit. The approach to York was pleasant and it was easy to get around York. A lot of tourists. Because I had been making such good timing, I thought I might make a run for Hull and catch the overnight ferry tonight. Ha! After York, the road conditions changed drastically, so did my speed. At one stage I was rolling through a field! Lovely cycling, though.

I headed for Pocklington where I had seen a farmsite campsite. I like these places. They’re typically simple, but good. And this was no exception. A bit exposed, but the facilities were modern and hot water was freely available. A large field for campers and caravans, a smaller field seemed to be for tents. There were a couple of hikers already there and another tent with no-one around.

The two hikers went off to town while I cooked my dinner and had an early night.

Sometime after midnight, the chap from the other tent ripped open my tent and shone his big torch on me yelling at me. I was snoring and he didn’t like that. After yelling at me and threatening me he stomped off. I’ve never experienced anything like that before. It took a while for me to calm down and get back to sleep. Sometime about 6 I must have started snoring again because he was yelling again. He woke me up, so problem solved. By the time I got up he was gone in his car, but he’d talked to the two hikers as well expressing his pleasure that they were moving on. Bizarre behaviour, I thought.

Before I moved on, I had a chat with the owner, just to let him know what had happened. The guy was working locally and staying for a week. He’ll open up the wrong tent some night and regret it.

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HobbesOnTour

HobbesOnTour

Über Member
Location
The Netherlands
September 27 Pocklington to Hull 54km

Since today was a short day, I had a leisurely breakfast and set off. The sun was shining. In fact, it was the warmest day so far - at one point my gizmo was showing a temperature of 24! The approach to the port was a bit confusing, but I got there and was pleasantly surprised to learn I could board early! So off I went to join the queue and sit in the sun.

Once on board, I had a shower and a lie down. For some reason I was a little tired. Then I got up for the departure from port, had a pint and went to bed. I wasn’t that hungry and decided to wait for breakfast.

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HobbesOnTour

HobbesOnTour

Über Member
Location
The Netherlands
September 28 Rotterdam to Home 117 km

Fully charged up on a big, big, buffet breakfast, I joined the many, many motorbike riders (heading to TT races). Once out of the port I thought I’d follow the reverse of the route that brought me here, bypassing Rotterdam. After about an hour I remembered that I needed a non-existent ferry, so I changed to go through Rotterdam. Even though there was plenty of roadworks, there was no problem getting to the city centre. I cheated and caught a waterbus to Dordrecht (the options from Rotterdam to Dordrecht are boring) and cycled home, stopping off for frites and a gehaktbal en route.

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HobbesOnTour

HobbesOnTour

Über Member
Location
The Netherlands
Roundup;

I’m home in one piece, so that’s a successful trip! I enjoyed myself immensely.

I can understand why so many UK cyclists enjoy cycling in NL and Belgium. There really is a difference in infrastructure. Cycle paths can start and end suddenly, swap sides of the road with no warning. On road marked cycle paths can be filled with drains and debris. But cycle.travel selects excellent routes, if a little long. It really minimises the distance needed on main roads. Generally, the traffic on the smaller roads were far more patient leading to a very pleasant experience.
I have a distanciador (an extendable, plastic pipe) to encourage drivers to keep their distance. I didn’t have time to fit it to the bike and there were times I regretted it. I had fitted a mirror to my handlebar and when it wasn’t being knocked off by the barriers on the bridle paths, it was very useful to have - especially during the high winds.
A truck’s backdraft forced me off the road in Monaghan, and a motor-cyclist brushed against me as he overtook me in Scotland, and other than a few ignorant roadies who passed too close there were no issues. I’d have no hesitation in going again.

One thing I noticed immediately was the amount of litter on the side of the roads and paths. I found it to be such a shame. Collections of wrappers and drink cans concentrated in areas, but also sometimes up to 15 big, black bags of domestic rubbish just dumped somewhere quiet. This was the case the whole trip, although noticeably less in Scotland. At one point in Yorkshire, there was an entire bathroom suite dumped on the side of the road-sink, toilet and shower base.

Campsites I found a little confusing. My accommodation research consisted of checking on cycle.route every 20 km and seeing how many campsites were close to my route, than taking a note eg 50km *2 meant that 50 km into the route there were 2 campsites reasonably close. The reality was that a lot of these were caravan parks and did not accept tents. Some of them were reservation only. It was also interesting how many did not answer their phones. I’d call and it would go to voicemail. Not once did any site answer their phones. Neither did any ring me back. Frustrating, when you try to make contact, fail, cycle the 10 km to the site and then discover that they won’t take you.
What I also found a little strange was the lack of signposting for campsites.

Navigation was fine, using a wahoo Elemnt following routes created in cycle.travel. I made long routes, eg Hull to Holyhead and followed it until I went off course to a campsite. Then next day, rejoined the route and repeated the process.
A couple of times, I plotted a supplemental route on OsmAnd and sent that to the Elemnt, for example, to a campsite.
(I’ve lost a couple of days data syncing to Strava - don’t know why - the info is on the Elemnt, but not the app.)
Even though I was mainly following designated Sustrans routes, I can’t comment on the quality of the signage for the simple reason I had a gps. I wasn’t depending on the signs.

Power & charging
I have a Son dynohub connected to a cycle2charge usb connector. I also carried 2 powerbanks. My plan was to be fully self contained for power for the trip.
I would be charging:
Phone
Tablet
Kindle
Batteries (for headlamp/camera/rear light on bike)
Normally, I connect the powerbank to the usb connector and charge that from the dynohub.
This time, I tried something different. With the power off my phone, I’d charge that up in the morning, then plug in the Wahoo for the second half of the day. That way, my phone remained pretty full and the Elemnt was full at the start of every day.
This worked fine the whole way. A couple of charges from the powerbank for the kindle and to top up the phone on short/slow days. Never needed to recharge the batteries.

ExtraWheel Trailer;
This was my first long trip with the ExtraWheel trailer. My rationale for this purchase was to make off-road cycling easier. I found with 2 panniers on the front that the steering was heavy and difficult, especially when going slow on loose surfaces.
I wasn’t expecting to be cycling the TransPenine trail, so I was glad I had the trailer for some of the descents!
It’s a very nifty trailer, so long as it is well packed. The only problem I had was when I needed to tighten a nut on the mudguard and made a balls of the quick release, leaving it loose. A rear wobble quickly pointed me in the right direction.
Downhills I was hitting 40 kph with no trailer issues. Ascending slowly caused no problems either. Even pushing uphill it was fine.
A few times, mainly in Ireland, it had to be removed to get through gates at cycling paths, and of course it’s more difficult to manoeuvre the bike backwards.
I use it to transport my food and stove and things needed during the day as the bags are always accessible.

Ferries
Other than the first Rotterdam to Hull ferry (booked the night before), I just rolled up and bought a ticket. Booking a landbridge deal would have been cheaper, but I wasn’t sure just when I’d be arriving at ports and didn’t want the added pressure of having to be in a place by a time.
P&O (Rotterdam/Hull) treated me as a car. Stena (Holyhead/Dublin/Belfast/Cairnryan) treated me as a foot passenger, although in both cases I rode onto the ferry, and deposited the bike in a secure room.
I had no issues with security anywhere - no questions about knives or fuel etc.
The Rotterdam/Hull ferry would make a very nice overnight trip on its own!
 
Nice one Hobbes.
 
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