2 weeks tour from Dunkirk and back - where to go?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
newbieWheels
Posts: 4
Joined: 7 Jun 2018, 10:46am

2 weeks tour from Dunkirk and back - where to go?

Postby newbieWheels » 7 Jun 2018, 11:00am

Hi there,

Total newbie with regards to touring, having done a few trips in and around London with a bit of camping.

This will be my first long distance tour (2 weeks)- starting in Dunkirk and in desperate need of ideas for routes, camping suggestions etc.

Was thinking about Bruges and Amsterdam so anything that includes that would be great but bearing in mind I will have to return to Dunkirk to get the ferry back to the UK. I guess getting on a train back to Dunkirk from wherever is also a possibility. Some ocean views would be good but equally happy to explore canals as well.
Maybe go as far a Germany and get the train back?

Any and all ideas, suggestions welcome!

Thanks in advance!

Wes

User avatar
foxyrider
Posts: 3804
Joined: 29 Aug 2011, 10:25am
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Re: 2 weeks tour from Dunkirk and back - where to go?

Postby foxyrider » 7 Jun 2018, 12:27pm

You can easily follow the coast up through Belgium and into Holland. There are several threads on visiting Belgium and Holland with ideas of places to stay and visit.

You must have some thoughts about what you'd like to see and do?
Convention? what's that then?

Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 10181
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: 2 weeks tour from Dunkirk and back - where to go?

Postby mjr » 7 Jun 2018, 12:35pm

I think there's also a thread about the Vennbahn (Belgian/German border area) which should be possible to reach in 2 weeks. It wasn't quite possible in one week without too much train travel and too little cycling.

If you consider getting trains back to Dunkerque, check the times: bikes are carried most easily on the non-high-speed services, but the Belgian system has few cross-border lines since electrification.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

newbieWheels
Posts: 4
Joined: 7 Jun 2018, 10:46am

Re: 2 weeks tour from Dunkirk and back - where to go?

Postby newbieWheels » 7 Jun 2018, 12:39pm

Yep I have read various threads, seems like a good option is along the coast to Ostend and then follow the canal to Bruges? Not really sure of scenic and interesting (preferably traffic free) routes from there onwards into Holland and eventually Amsterdam. Basically looking for good scenery, nice places to visit, good food, bike friendly and good camping. Aside from that, not really sure and open to suggestions.

newbieWheels
Posts: 4
Joined: 7 Jun 2018, 10:46am

Re: 2 weeks tour from Dunkirk and back - where to go?

Postby newbieWheels » 7 Jun 2018, 12:46pm

mjr wrote:I think there's also a thread about the Vennbahn (Belgian/German border area) which should be possible to reach in 2 weeks. It wasn't quite possible in one week without too much train travel and too little cycling.

If you consider getting trains back to Dunkerque, check the times: bikes are carried most easily on the non-high-speed services, but the Belgian system has few cross-border lines since electrification.


Thanks for this, will have a look at the trains.

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 10181
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: 2 weeks tour from Dunkirk and back - where to go?

Postby mjr » 7 Jun 2018, 1:06pm

newbieWheels wrote:Yep I have read various threads, seems like a good option is along the coast to Ostend and then follow the canal to Bruges? Not really sure of scenic and interesting (preferably traffic free) routes from there onwards into Holland and eventually Amsterdam. Basically looking for good scenery, nice places to visit, good food, bike friendly and good camping. Aside from that, not really sure and open to suggestions.

Well, the route from Bruges to Sluis was beautiful, along a canal, with a windmill and two picturesque towns (Damme and Sluis). The routes I've done are more or less http://cycle.travel/map/journey/31542 (last year) and http://cycle.travel/map/journey/31123 (the year before) but it doesn't quite go to Amsterdam (go to Haarlem and turn east) and they may need updating to reflect recent changes (especially through Dunkirk, which is a building site).
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

simonhill
Posts: 1927
Joined: 13 Jan 2007, 11:28am
Location: Essex

Re: 2 weeks tour from Dunkirk and back - where to go?

Postby simonhill » 7 Jun 2018, 1:06pm

I'm off shortly on a trip you could consider.

I am following the WW1 front from Swiss border to near Nieuport, near Ostende. Its about 850 kms, so should be do-able in a fortnight.

You need to get to near Basel, I'm flying Easyjet then cycling back. You could probably get a train, but beware the ongoing French railway strikes.

At the end, I will ride down the coast to Dunkirk for a ferry back to Blighty.

Just a thought.

Ron
Posts: 1156
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 9:07pm

Re: 2 weeks tour from Dunkirk and back - where to go?

Postby Ron » 10 Jun 2018, 12:33am

newbieWheels wrote: Amsterdam so anything that includes that would be great but bearing in mind I will have to return to Dunkirk to get the ferry back to the UK.

Do you really have to go back to Dunkirk for the return ferry? Why not catch the ferry from Hook of Holland to Harwich. There is a train service from the ferry terminal at Harwich into London.
The port of Hook of Holland is in the town and therefore more cycle friendly than Dunkirk IMO, also the round tour is more interesting than having to retrace your steps to your tour start point.
Last edited by Ron on 22 Jun 2018, 10:50pm, edited 1 time in total.

eileithyia
Posts: 7534
Joined: 31 Jan 2007, 6:46pm
Location: Horwich Which is Lancs :-)

Re: 2 weeks tour from Dunkirk and back - where to go?

Postby eileithyia » 10 Jun 2018, 8:46am

I have done quite a few out and back tours where I use the same arrival / departure point... You do not need to retrace same route as you can do a circular route. I often have a vague idea of where I am going to head for.... but leave it up to time, weather and circumstances to dictate some of my routes.
When I went on a CTC tour where the accommodation and so roughly the route had been 'chosen' I got a tourist guide out and looked up what there was to see on the route or at the overnight stops... it sometimes meant I said to the group 'carry on will catch you up' as I side tripped into a village to check out a church or similar.
Likewise when planning rides I look for green highlighted roads on maps, these usually are deemed scenic routes....

So look up some tourist guides of the towns / villages in the area to search places / buildings of interest. Many people would visit WW1 sites because that is their interest etc for others it might be churches....
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

MrsHJ
Posts: 533
Joined: 19 Aug 2010, 1:03pm
Location: Dartmouth, Devon.

Re: 2 weeks tour from Dunkirk and back - where to go?

Postby MrsHJ » 10 Jun 2018, 3:01pm

newbieWheels wrote:Hi there,

Total newbie with regards to touring, having done a few trips in and around London with a bit of camping.

This will be my first long distance tour (2 weeks)- starting in Dunkirk and in desperate need of ideas for routes, camping suggestions etc.

Was thinking about Bruges and Amsterdam so anything that includes that would be great but bearing in mind I will have to return to Dunkirk to get the ferry back to the UK. I guess getting on a train back to Dunkirk from wherever is also a possibility. Some ocean views would be good but equally happy to explore canals as well.
Maybe go as far a Germany and get the train back?

Any and all ideas, suggestions welcome!

Thanks in advance!

Wes


Another vote for Belgium /Netherlands here. Only downside about that area is it can get a bit wind blown. Dutch campsites very nice, widely available and capacity (check Archie's for locations). I haven't camped in Belgium.the whole of the Netherlands is super bike friendly and my experience was pretty good in Belgium too but just for family day trips. There is a website, let me find it for you, with long distance routes.

MrsHJ
Posts: 533
Joined: 19 Aug 2010, 1:03pm
Location: Dartmouth, Devon.

Re: 2 weeks tour from Dunkirk and back - where to go?

Postby MrsHJ » 10 Jun 2018, 3:06pm

Here is the website with the routes.

https://www.hollandcyclingroutes.com/lo ... cle-routes

I haven't used the Belgium system for long distance but this looks promising and likely low traffic or traffic free (cycling in these areas is a total revelation and you'll never want to use the uk system again!)

http://www.fietsroute.org/Long-Distanceroutes-LF.php

There is also a website for staying overnight in like cycle B&Bs called fiets something. Friends of the fiets? But be warned-I think it's all in Dutch. There's a book we used to have. Looks like now an English portal on the website.

https://www.vriendenopdefiets.nl/en

You may wish to sign up for warm showers too. We are hosts in the uk and welcome the occasionally cyclist. http://Www.warmshowers.org

And they have nature campsites too.

https://www.natuurkampeerterreinen.nl/en/

Please note that some journeys in the Netherlands can be a bit slow as you work from cycle punt to the next punt rather than in a nice straight line along a road. It really does depend-outside the urban areas you are often on quiet roads or super long dike paths.

HobbesOnTour
Posts: 97
Joined: 20 Feb 2017, 5:12pm

Re: 2 weeks tour from Dunkirk and back - where to go?

Postby HobbesOnTour » 10 Jun 2018, 4:35pm

That’s a very open question, Wes, :D 3 countries, 2 weeks.... advise me....

I’ve no idea how far you want to travel and the advice you’ve had so far is all valid.

Camping is not an issue in NL, campsites everywhere. Still lots in Belgium, but not as many. Along the coast it’s not an issue at all. Minicampings or Camping bij de Boer (farm campsites) can be very cosy, friendly & cheap.

Cycling paths everywhere, if you are on the road it’s on very quiet roads and traffic is very respectful, in the main.

If you want to catch a train, I suggest you do it in NL. Your ticket and Euro 6 for your bike anywhere.

You specifically mention Bruges (never been on a bike) but expect a very busy place. Amsterdam has an interesting campsite outside the centre. I’ve stayed there and thought it was great – but that was in the winter. I imagine in summer time it is party central.

Based on your time, 2 locations and nothing else, I’d suggest a trip up the coast all the way to Amsterdam (passing thru The Hague, Leiden), on to the Markemeer (old sea towns eg Hoorn) and up over the afsluitdijk, down the other side to Zwolle, then either Arnhem/Nijmegen & on to Antwerp or Utrecht to Antwerp via the Biesbosch natural park, Ghent, Bruges and back to Dunkirk.

You’ll see everything Holland has to offer.... lots of dams, dykes & engineering, big cities, little villages, rural areas, forests, WWI and WWII sites. And some interesting places in Belgium.

That route could be anything from 850 to 1400 km depending on your interests, options & detours. And all pretty flat, but wind can be an issue.

If you want hills, head west. The Vennbahn was mentioned, through the Eiffel area. Very nice riding around there, but frankly difficult to get there from Dunkirk.

newbieWheels
Posts: 4
Joined: 7 Jun 2018, 10:46am

Re: 2 weeks tour from Dunkirk and back - where to go?

Postby newbieWheels » 21 Jun 2018, 9:27pm

Hey everyone :)

Thanks so much all for the ideas/ advice etc! One more week to go and have taken everything on board. Lots to see and do, can't wait.
Still not completely decided on route but have a few plans and will see how we get on.

You've all been a massive help so thanks again!

Cheers
Wes

JJF
Posts: 288
Joined: 17 Feb 2007, 9:14pm

Re: 2 weeks tour from Dunkirk and back - where to go?

Postby JJF » 22 Jun 2018, 10:14pm

There is a posting in this thread (10 June) which suggests the possibility of returning from Ijmuiden to Harwich. I'm afraid this is not possible. The ferry from Ijmuiden goes to Newcastle. The only ferry to Harwich is from Hoek van Holland.

On another point, I have been told by a Belgian Friend that the Belgian Railways will be on strike on 27 and 28 June. I don't know how comprehensive these strikes will be. It would be prudent to enquire.

Ron
Posts: 1156
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 9:07pm

Re: 2 weeks tour from Dunkirk and back - where to go?

Postby Ron » 22 Jun 2018, 10:54pm

JJF wrote:There is a posting in this thread (10 June) which suggests the possibility of returning from Ijmuiden to Harwich. I'm afraid this is not possible. The ferry from Ijmuiden goes to Newcastle. The only ferry to Harwich is from Hoek van Holland.

Thanks for pointing out my error, original post now corrected :) .