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Cycletrippin – The Lonely Cyclists Tour De France

This cycling story started in Amsterdam, I cycled through Netherlands, Belgium, France to Spain and back, the journey was similar to the one I did in 2014, Cycletrippin Amsterdam to Sant Hilari Sacalm in Spain. This time around I chooses to take a different route on my way down to Spain, my return trip back to Amsterdam I followed the route I took from Lyon to Spain back in 2014 just the opposite way.

The journeys I take on my bicycle, I occasionally due to weather or a time contain use the service of a train ride. I don’t camp out, it saves packing on my bicycle, I book a room in a hostel or hotel on the same day I of arrival in a location were I will stay the night, I do occasionally use AirBnB you have to book in advance so you will often get stuck on a schedule if booking with Airbnb, and I like the spontaneity of having the flexibility of change my route or go shorter one day when I don’t feel that great and cycle longer on days when I’m feeling great.

For finding hotels, hostels I use booking.com, I don’t always book through booking.com, sometimes I just use it as a reference of what is available near me, and then I just go to the hotel or hostel and book directly. This style of cycling touring I define as Cycletrippin having all the comfort after a day of cycling with a purpose, staying in people’s homes through Airbnb or at motels, hotels.

I do some planning, primarily a rough outline of the route that I will take, for this specific trip I planned to go straight down towards Paris, just passing on the outskirt of Paris and towards Toulouse, the distance of this route is longer than taking the route I took in 2014, Cycletrippin Amsterdam to Sant Hilari Sacalm in Spain

Amsterdam to Péronne-en-Mélantois France Day 1

My schedule was tight, I had to be in Sant Hilari Sacalm Spain by a June 6th, I left Amsterdam on May 27th, I had 10 days to get to my destination Sant Hilari Sacalm in Spain, a distance of 1,600 kilometres. My initial plan was to cycle about 180kilometerss a day, to compensate for any delays during the journey. That did not work out, I did not count on a massive rainstorm that flooded areas I was going to cycling trough.

Amsterdam

I left Amsterdam on the 27th, my goal for the day was to get to Lille France, to make that happen I jumped on the train down to Vlissingen in the south of Netherlands, I did not get further than Rotterdam as I was kicked off the by the train conductor as you can not take your bike on a train during the morning rush hour. I got off cycled down to Roosendaal, Netherlands and jumped on the train to Vlissingen. It was not the first time I was in Vlissingen, I have cycled several times in the past from Amsterdam to Vlissingen, it’s a beautiful cycling route that goes along the North Sea coast from Amsterdam.

Vlissingen

In Vlissingen next to the train station is a ferry terminal for Westerschelde Ferry, this ferry took me across to Breskens. The Westerschelde Ferry is a bicycle and pedestrian ferry, and do not take cars. From Breskens to my overnight destination in France the ride was 132 km and took me through the whole of Belgium to France.

Breskens

The ride over from Vlissingen was smooth, I was ready to put some real kilometres down, I got off the ferry and approach the bike lane that goes along the coast, that took me past some beautiful beaches. I said to myself that has to come back to this area again, just having a few days relaxing on a beach on a beautiful sunny day. I’m not all about just pushing me through a day of cycling, I do stop and explore a place a few minutes, I did stop at the Breskens Lighthouse to take in the sight of this cast-iron lighthouse built 1897.

Nieuwsluis

In Nieuwesluis I stopped for ice cream, it was a hot day and I needed to keep my internal and external temperature under control. I moved on from Nieuwesluis following the coast on the bike lane towards Cadzand. I did not stop for a swim, which could have helped me, this is who I am I just don’t give myself enough time for the fun stuff as a swim is.

Cadzand

I got to the beachside of Cadzand, from here I headed inland away from the beach on a very flat landscape towards the city of Sluis.

Sluis

The city of Sluis is close to the border to Belgium, it took me just minutes to bike through Sluis to enter Belgium.

Damse Vaart Oost

Now in Belgium I followed the canal Damse Vaart to Bruges, the canal is about 14 km long and provides a connection between the cities of Bruges and Sluis over Damme, Oostkerke, Hoeke and Lapscheure. Canal Damse Vaart is known as Damme Canal in English and was commissioned by Napolean.

Brugge

In Bruges, I cycled through the old town. I like Bruges, it gives away such a nice vibe, it seems there is a lot of tourists like myself that comes here every year, I did not stay too long as I had something else in mind for a longer stop.

Roselare

From Brugges I followed the N32 to Roeselare for a visit to the cycling museum in Roeselare, it was a Friday afternoon and while navigating through the street in Roeselare to the museum, I passed by a few bars with people standing outside, cheering me on, one guy shouted out Tom Boonen Tom Boonen, I knew then I was in a cycling country.

The cycling museum in Roeselare is a must-visit when you are in this part of Belgium, I spent an hour in the Museum before heading out on the road again. Here is my story about the visit to the cycling museum in Roeselare.

Péronne-en-Mélantois

My stop for the night was in Péronne-en-Mélantois in France, a small village outside of Lille France. This was an Airbnb booking, I did not arrive that late I think, it was 20:30 when I showed up in Péronne-en-Mélantois. After Roeselare, I crossed the border of Belgium to France, cycled pass Roubaix real traditional cycling territory and the finish line for the spring classic cycling race Paris to Roubaix.

I cycled past Lille and the Lille airport before reaching Péronne-en-Mélantois. I was offered a nice airy room, it was warm so I kept the window open, in the middle of the night I was woken up when the house cat returned through the window in the room I was in. Got a little scared waking up, when I got my bearings I calmed down quickly.

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