Friday 21 September 2018
Whilst on holiday in Northern France two members from the club, Alyson Nye and Bob Burden were invited by Les Amis Cyclos de L’ardresis to join them on a club ride from their headquarters at Le Vivier, Bois-en-Ardres.
The day was extremely breezy with winds up to force 8 or 9, and it was a great feeling when the riders from the local club arrived despite the inclement weather. Jean informed us that on this ride we would only speak in French, he soon realised that it would be a very quiet ride as in 42 years of regularly visiting the area I have still only learnt “two beers please”, “the same again” and “the bill please”. Having allowed us to speak English it was great for Bob to discover that Jean had also spent much of his working life on the railway and how involved he had been in the Eurostar services.
Ghislain suggested a ride to Sangette and led us there on a very pretty and quiet route via Les Attaques, Frethun, Coquelles. We had tried to warn them that we were the two slowest riders in the club, and they all accepted this and were very patient with us both, with Marcel and Ghislain battling the wind and giving us a wheel all day. The local knowledge passed on to us was exceptional, including visiting the entrance to the channel tunnel and the machine that dug it out. One of the highlights for us was riding a new stretch of costal defence that has a cycle way along it. Then there was the most welcome break along the seafront at Calais for coffee or beer.
From there the route took us via the Calais town hall and the statue of The Burghers of Calais, where Jean allowed us to stop for a photo call, before heading back via Coulogne, Nielles-les-Ardres, Louches to the Cafe De La Mairie in Tournehem-su-la-hem, where both Mrs Morreels and Mrs Thorez were waiting patiently for us (we did warn that we were slow) to arrive for a first class meal served to us by Nicole.
Marcel decided to take us the “short route” back via Zuterque and Nortkerque to all finish the day with a final drink at Le Vivier and a last chat before departing our separate ways.
This was an excellent day’s ride of just over 52 miles covering many roads that were new to us, with great company both on the ride and at the meal, good riding, and plenty of laughing. What a great day.
Pictures courtesy of Jean Nivoit