Click on any of the stages of the route below for a description of it.
Day 1: Cambridge to Tournehem
Day 1 consisted of six parts:
- Cambridge to London King's Cross by WAGN railway
- Cycle from London King's Cross to London Bridge via the Millenium Bridge
- London Bridge to Dover Priory by Connex railway
- Cycle from Dover Priory to Dover Eastern Docks
- Dover Eastern Docks to Calais by Seafrance ferry
- Cycle from Calais to Tournehem
Cambridge to London King's Cross by WAGN
Trouble-free. I had to wait until after 9am to be allowed to take my bike. Cost £33.30 Cheap Day
Single to Dover (includes London Bridge to Dover Priory).
This bit was fun, if you like cycling in traffic, although the weight of the panniers led
to some scary moments at traffic lights. I stumbled across the Millenium Bridge by accident
because I was navigating without a map, so I decided to ride across it. It was only when I
got to the other side that I noticed the signs saying you aren't allowed to cycle on it.
Too late. Getting into London Bridge station was a bit of a pain: there's a steep carry
up to the platforms.
London Bridge to Dover Priory by Connex
Another trouble-free, on-time train journey. Not the fastest train in the world (it stopped at
all sorts of places on the way, including Ashford International where I could have transferred
to Eurostar instead of taking the ferry) but it was an old-fashioned slam-door one with a
proper guard's van to put the bike in. Very civilized. Cost £33.30 Cheap Day Single including
Cambridge to London.
Cycle from Dover Priory to Dover Eastern Docks
Mostly downhill, and easy to navigate, but also mostly on big scary dual carriageways. Entering the
docks was fun: there's a bike route marked with a red line which keeps disappearing, so I just
followed the cars and queued up at check-in with them. You get a boarding pass to hang on your
Dover Eastern Docks to Calais by Seafrance
A leisurely crossing, but also one of the cheapest. The ferry had fairly minimal facilities but
was very uncrowded and served food. Stowing the bike was no problem: there was a special area
at one side of the vehicle deck which had railings and a load of webbing straps to hold the bike in
place. Cost £17 single (same as the foot passenger fare, but you have to phone them up and tell
them you're bringing a bike). Apparently it's possible to get a cheaper 12-hour return ticket
on the day and only use one half of it, but I didn't want to get into trouble with the bike so
Cycle from Calais to Tournehem
I bluffed my way out of Calais on a compass bearing so as to avoid being funneled on to the
motorway. Then, once I'd figured out where I was,
I navigated with Michelin map 236. The route was along the D127 to Guînes, then the D231 to Ardres
(where I encountered the horizontal rain), then the N43 to Tournehem. The traffic was light because it
was early on Monday evening. It was quite noticeable that there were a lot of tourist facilities and
signs in English, presumably to cater for visitors from across the channel.
My overnight stop was at the Bal-Parc campsite in Tournehem.