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anyone know a good route from calais/dunkerque?

explosifpeteexplosifpete Posts: 1,327
edited March 2009 in Tour & expedition
In the summer I am thinking about taking the ferry over to france, going for a ride then ferry back in the evening (bit like a booze cruise with bikes) but Idon't know of any routes to do.
Anyone got any ideas? Around 60/70 miles would be good and as scenic as possible or and i needs to have a coffee stop half way round :D
I'm guessing dunkerque would be a better place to start as its a bit more in the country, but I'm open to any ideas


  • dilemnadilemna Posts: 2,277
    Must be about 12 year ago now me and a mate took a £5 return fare as foot passengers from London to Calais for the day. We took the earliest and latest train boat combos we could make work. Arriving at Calais about 08:30/09:00 we cycled from the ferry terminal off into the countryside in a generally southerly direction as far as I remember. Within 20 mins we were in lovely rural france albeit, northern france, rolling along empty and pretty minor D roads with lots of cherry blossom and birds chattering (April/May time really quite pleasant 17/18C). We stopped frequently, although we hadn’t planned to, numerous boulangers in small villages kept beckoning to us to fill up on their croissants and pain au chocolates as well as the odd chocolat chaud. I think we cycled about 60 miles that day. Got home to London about 1.30am the next morning. Well worth it. It was in the days when trains still had guards vans so carrying our bikes was no problem. Before we got on the boat we had a slap up meal for about £5 in a typically Gallic unpretentious non touristy restaurant. Did I mention lunch? That was great as well in small cafe restaurant in the middle of nowhere that appeared totally out of the blue, well red white and blue actually.

    I'd pick up an IGN French map of the Calais area. You don't have to cycle far before the town and traffic are left far behind. I think I used my Michelin road map or copies from the relevent pages of mine at the time. We had a rough route but nothing fixed. We were pretty flexible and the ride went well. The French people we met were very friendly.

    Hope this has helped or inspired you.

    Bonne route....
    Life is like a roll of toilet paper; long and useful, but always ends at the wrong moment. Anon.
    Think how stupid the average person is.......
    half of them are even more stupid than you first thought.
  • explosifpeteexplosifpete Posts: 1,327
    Sounds like just what I'm wanting, I've been having a look at google earth a have seen what looks like a nice roads.
  • dilemnadilemna Posts: 2,277
    Mind you I've just thought of the legions of illegals now living in the Pays de Calais in the woods and disused buildings plotting their breakins to Blighty. I would avoid Sangatte. Be careful if you ride your bike onto the ferry as some of the ramps and loading platforms can hide treacherous crevices and gaps to get your wheels caught in. Always a nice feeling though cycling on and off a ferry. Not sure if they let you do it any more H&S may be just wheel your bike on or off now. Also take a few bungies to secure your bike so it doesn't fall over during the crossing as well as a lock if you feel that is necessary.
    Life is like a roll of toilet paper; long and useful, but always ends at the wrong moment. Anon.
    Think how stupid the average person is.......
    half of them are even more stupid than you first thought.
  • BodhbhBodhbh Posts: 117
    I've only been over a couple of times, so no expert - once each to Dunkirk and Calais. Once option is to take the coast road down from Calais to Boulogne, then head across to Saint Omer on minor roads and back up to Calais. From Dunkirk, whatever, you’d want to head down south past Loon Plage to avoid all the sprawl. I carried on into Belgium and made a weekend of it, but I guess it would be pleasant to take in some loop including Bergues, Cassel and perhaps Ieper and Veurne on the Belgian side. Dunno, the area is very flat, nice countryside quite pleasant just to bimble about just leave enough time to get back. Other option might be pick up the cycle paths to coast, ride over to Ostende, canal down to Brugge and take the train back. If get the prevailing wind at the coast at your back it’s a very fast ride.

    Hope to go again for weekends over summer, so be interested in whatever else peeps say. Nice area just to explore anyhow.
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