Spotted the advert (in the CTC members magazine) Liked it. Did it. Loved it. The end…
OK to elaborate a bit more thirty one of us cycled through six countries in 10 days, Holland, Belgium, Luxemburg, France, Germany and Switzerland, as usual it was an organised camping trip with back up vehicle that transported your luggage, the route was pre-planned with detailed instructions as well as two mechanics who also rode with the group to help anyone with road side repairs.
We then spent another couple of days cycling down through Holland, where there is easy cycling alongside the vast network of canals before going through the deep forests and more hilly terrain of the Ardennes in Belgium, as usual many of the campsites were set in picturesque locations with showers as well as washing and drying facilities for our kit. Many of the riders were new to cycling and good facilities are always appreciated, although some ‘CTC’ regular riders are minimalistic ‘hardy’ types who revel in hand washing their kit every night and then putting the whole lot back on still damp every morning, many newcomers would be horrified at the thought and as such the well equipped camp sites came as a welcome relief; as far as I am concerned anything that contributes to attracting more people to cycle touring gets my vote.
The Black Forest
I personally preferred these hills to the higher Cols, as you are not climbing for hours on end up and up forever and a day right through the snow line and into the colder altitudes. Once on the Col Du Galibier (one of the higher Alpine passes at 2646m) I was so cold on the descent I wore every item of clothing that I had in my panniers… my spare shorts on my head and everything… I looked drop dead gorgeous. My favourite part has always been the wooded sections and the climbs in the Black Forest were just that.
From the Black Forest we crossed the River Rhine again as we headed south to Frick in Switzerland for transfer to Zurich for the flight home as yet another tour was over. Apart from one slightly ticklelish day in Holland the weather was superb, I had a red nose that contrasted magnificently with all the normal cyclist white bits to prove it! I met some wonderful new people who really helped to make this holiday much more than just about the cycling, plus I felt much fitter after 611 miles of great cycling, would I do it all again? NOT ARF… and I can’t say more than that can I.