Channel Isles

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
coinneach
Posts: 38
Joined: 20 Jun 2008, 11:37am

Channel Isles

Postby coinneach » 22 Apr 2016, 8:52am

Any tips about cycletouring camping on the channel isles?
We are wondering about going there for a day or two as past of a longer trip down south.
Information about bikes on ferries, need to book, or can just turn up especially welcome, as seems to be missing from Condor website.
Recommended campsite?
Thanks!

hamster
Posts: 3225
Joined: 2 Feb 2007, 12:42pm

Re: Channel Isles

Postby hamster » 22 Apr 2016, 9:53am

I've used Condor for the Channel Islands as trips in themselves and also to France via the Channel Islands.
Definitely book! However even if you cannot get a bike space, phone them up - their ops people can look at the scheduled load and make a judgment.

Condor are incredibly helpful: when checking-in at Poole it was raining hard (and the port has no shelter) so they loaded us 30 minutes early to get us out of the rain.

coinneach
Posts: 38
Joined: 20 Jun 2008, 11:37am

Re: Channel Isles

Postby coinneach » 22 Apr 2016, 11:09am

Thanks!
Trouble is, we're coming do from Scotland, and it's hard to be definite about a date for a ferry......is there any way over to France where you can pretty sure of getting on it ha bike, without having booked?

hamster
Posts: 3225
Joined: 2 Feb 2007, 12:42pm

Re: Channel Isles

Postby hamster » 22 Apr 2016, 12:00pm

Condor have a good website, check your dates aren't close to the Tour de France etc when a whole load of people ride over. Book a day or two in advance and avoid disappointment. Poole and Purbeck are pretty good places for day rides anyway if you have to wait a little.

MrsHJ
Posts: 756
Joined: 19 Aug 2010, 1:03pm
Location: Dartmouth, Devon.

Re: Channel Isles

Postby MrsHJ » 22 Apr 2016, 1:55pm

Flybe might be another option for going to the channel isles. We use them but they won't book the bikes in advance. My advice for general ferry crossings is that they will be busy in the school hols, especially at the beginning of the summer holidays ie late July and early August.

simonhill
Posts: 2588
Joined: 13 Jan 2007, 11:28am
Location: Essex

Re: Channel Isles

Postby simonhill » 22 Apr 2016, 8:18pm

I live in S Essex and wanted to see a friend in Guernsey last year. I found it a bit of a challenge sorting out my transport.

Without doubt the ferry and getting there was the most expensive. Their fares are pretty expensive. Just to get from Jersey to Guernsey cost £25 each way.

I looked at flying from Gatwick direct to Guernsey which was a reasonable option.

In the end I flew Easyjet from Southend to Jersey, then took the ferry to Guernsey. The Easyjet flight was £17 one way £20 something the other. My bike was £35 each way.

I didn't have any problem booking a bike on the ferry, I think it was free. From memory you go to vehicle, it's under that menu.

I'm going back to Guernsey this summer and am taking my campervan. This won't cost that much more than train and ferry as a cyclist. Utter madness.

As for camping, there are a few sites, but the islands are that small you can just base yourself at one on each one.

ossie
Posts: 664
Joined: 15 Apr 2011, 7:52pm

Re: Channel Isles

Postby ossie » 22 Apr 2016, 8:36pm

Condor are massively effected by the weather so beware of cancellations...also subject to numerous breakdowns ...our nickname in Poole is the Vomit comet :D

That aside I stopped on Guernsey on the way back from a tour (due to another breakdown), the tourist information centre is a 2 minute ride from the terminal and worth a visit....I didnt use the bike much, I walked or bussed everywhere...the roads are manic in St Peters Port...many very frustrated motorists .

Des49
Posts: 632
Joined: 2 Dec 2014, 11:45am

Re: Channel Isles

Postby Des49 » 22 Apr 2016, 11:59pm

coinneach wrote:Any tips about cycletouring camping on the channel isles?
We are wondering about going there for a day or two as past of a longer trip down south.
Information about bikes on ferries, need to book, or can just turn up especially welcome, as seems to be missing from Condor website.
Recommended campsite?
Thanks!


The islands are well worth visiting. But do bear in mind they are relatively heavily populated with a lot of traffic that can make cycling in certain areas at peak times really unpleasant. Basically avoid St. Peter Port (aka Town) in Guernsey during rush hours, similarly the same applies to St. Helier in Jersey. But there are a real wealth of lovely lanes to explore and get lost in, lots of lovely beaches and nice cliff scenery. Guernsey also has the bonus of easy days trips to the nearby islands of Herm and Sark (without your bikes). Jersey has noticeably more countryside than Guernsey, but Guernsey probably a nicer coastline and far nicer Town. Lots to see, potter around on bikes, appreciate the scenery, stop for a swim etc.

You must book the ferry beforehand. Condor Ferries have had a rough time the last year. The new fast ferry, the Liberation, has proved very unreliable mechanically and also quite prone to weather delays when wave heights exceed their licenced height (3.5m). The slower conventional Clipper vessel that does a triangular route between Portsmouth - Guernsey - Jersey goes in virtually anything and is rarely disrupted, but takes all day but in my view a pleasant way to travel if you have the time.

Neither vessel has good facilities for tying up bikes on the car deck. I have given them feedback and given up as nothing changes, basically they have rather bigger issues! Bikes are free but I would prefer a small charge and safe areas/tying points for them. When you book online as a foot passanger there is an option to indicate you have a bike, this section comes after you have choosen the dates and seating options, but you check in with the vehicles when you actually travel.

In Guernsey the Fauxquets Valley campsite is situated in a really nice rural part of the island. Would be happy to show you around if I have the time or suggest a few places to see, depending when you visit as I can get a bit overrun with work in the summer months.

Can't recommend a campsite in Jersey, last time we stayed at one all the group got sick, think it was the water! Was a long time ago though.

coinneach
Posts: 38
Joined: 20 Jun 2008, 11:37am

Re: Channel Isles

Postby coinneach » 25 Apr 2016, 7:47am

Many thanks for all the excellent tips!
Hope to get to Guernsey just before the English school holidays :)
Thanks again!!

Des49
Posts: 632
Joined: 2 Dec 2014, 11:45am

Re: Channel Isles

Postby Des49 » 25 Apr 2016, 4:16pm

Another thing worth mentioning is that cycling away from Town off the ferry can be a pain due to traffic as there is no really quiet route out if you arrive at a peak time and main roads cannot really be avoided. But do not be put off as once away there are lots of quieter lanes to go on that avoid the main routes. A lot of our roads can be narrow so that often cars cannot overtake bikes due to on-coming traffic. Also our Filter in Turn junctions are unique, look like box junctions in the UK, but literally each vehicle filters out in turn from each entry point, with a bit of courtesy they work great once you know what they are.

The shipwreck museum at Fort Grey on the west coast is well worth a visit, small enough to keep one's attention and fascinating. Otherwise enjoy the natural scenery.

Do get in touch if you want anything or just to say hi when you are in Guernsey.

drossall
Posts: 4620
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 10:01pm
Location: North Hertfordshire

Re: Channel Isles

Postby drossall » 8 Jul 2017, 6:09pm

We're in Guernsey for a week's holiday soon. We will probably bring bikes for a day's ride. What are surfaces like on the green routes? Trying to work out how best to plan a ride, given that end to end won't take that long.

Des49
Posts: 632
Joined: 2 Dec 2014, 11:45am

Re: Channel Isles

Postby Des49 » 8 Jul 2017, 10:33pm

Not quite sure what you mean by green routes, are these the ones that are marked cycle routes in the lanes? If so then these are all on surfaced roads.

There are some green lanes, these vary in surface and are all pretty short. It is not permitted to cycle on the cliff paths, these run from just south of Town around the south coast to the western most point of the island at Pleinmont. The coastal paths from Grandes Rocques up the coast to the north are all hard stone dust apart from a couple sandy bits.

As for planning a ride, just go for a meander in the lanes and you will be surprised at what you find. But if you need any suggestions please do get in touch.

drossall
Posts: 4620
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 10:01pm
Location: North Hertfordshire

Re: Channel Isles

Postby drossall » 8 Jul 2017, 10:54pm

Did I get confused? I thought there were something like voies vertes, but maybe I muddled Guernsey and reading about somewhere else. This page says avoid them, but doesn't say whether that's because they are unsuitable or cycling is not actually allowed.

We've found this, which sounds encouraging, and we may try part or all of this route.

Des49
Posts: 632
Joined: 2 Dec 2014, 11:45am

Re: Channel Isles

Postby Des49 » 8 Jul 2017, 11:28pm

drossall wrote:Did I get confused? I thought there were something like voies vertes, but maybe I muddled Guernsey and reading about somewhere else. This page says avoid them, but doesn't say whether that's because they are unsuitable or cycling is not actually allowed.


There are a few short green lanes, cycling isn't prohibited on most of them. The main issue will be for you is finding them and linking them together, you need to know where they are!
They are generally all we used when I was training on the mtb.

We've found this, which sounds encouraging,


Yes, good write up. He mentions the coastal path going north on the west coast, this is recommended, keeps you off the road too and closer to the sea.

and we may try part or all of this route.


Yeah, that seems a decent enough route too. Again though finding your way is the issue, there are just so many little lanes. But you can't get too lost, you will reach the sea sooner or later then decide to go left or right!

Where are you based and how far do you intend to go?

ossie
Posts: 664
Joined: 15 Apr 2011, 7:52pm

Re: Channel Isles

Postby ossie » 9 Jul 2017, 9:26pm

drossall wrote:We're in Guernsey for a week's holiday soon. We will probably bring bikes for a day's ride. What are surfaces like on the green routes? Trying to work out how best to plan a ride, given that end to end won't take that long.


I cycled around Guernsey last week on a stop off from my French tour.

I went anti clockwise. From St Peter port there is a cycle path for a couple of mile to St Sampson and that takes care of alot of traffic. I continued with the sea to my right. North coast is stunning with light traffic . A slight hill at La Lague traffic then got busy past the airport back down to St Peter Port. It took me 3 hours with a stop for lunch.

I went on a few of the small lanes but its a bit of a mish mash, although traffic free within reason its like you are driving around an endless housing estate and quite uninspiring. That aside I was limited by time. If there for a week it would be mega slow time and not much cycling. You would probably see more walking.