Cycling North France Day 1: Off to the ferry!

After a busy weekend of work, getting final bits ready for our ride, and a long ride out to Faring, we counted down the final days.    On Wednesday my padded seat and padded pants arrived, with no days to spare!  The girls at work sent me home early, so I could finish packing, and we packed the last of our stuff, loaded our bikes, and wiggled on out the door. And I do mean wiggled:  with paniers on both sides of the bike, it was a tight fit out the narrow and bendy hallway of our flat.

Henri and Alastair met us outside, where we had final passport and ferry ticket checks.  A few final adjustments, and we were off!   It was getting dark, so lights were on.  The first thing we noticed was that the bikes were a whole pile heavier, what with moderately full panniers on the back.  Very hard to lift the bike, and if you were standing, it liked to try and roll out from  under you in awkward ways.


Dale's Bike, all ready to go
Dale’s Bike, all ready to go
All ready to leave. Dale, Myself, Henrietta, Alastair
All ready to leave.
Dale, Myself, Henrietta, Alastair

We took the waterfront trails, and then the bike route from Brighton along the coast to the east, to Newhaven, where the ferry was leaving from.  Check-in was supposed to start at 9pm, but didn’t actually start till 9.30, so we zoomed back up the road to the nearest pub, so we could have dinner.  Cue our first attempt at locking up the bikes and removing all the gear.  It seemed to take forever.  Putting it all back on again, seemed to take just as long.  We hoped we would get faster at it!

It felt super weird going through the ferry check in on our bikes, with passports in hand.  I have never done anything like that before, so it was quite exciting.  More stamps!  (for me anyway, not so much for Dale, with his British Passport).

Tying bikes up on the ferry
Tying bikes up on the ferry

Had to walk onto the ferry, as the ramp is apparently slippery for bikes, then we headed to the little alcove that they directed us to, where we unloaded the bikes (again!), and tied them up securely in a pile against the wall.  Picked up all our gear, and situated ourselves on the least uncomfortable seats we could find, for our 4 hour ferry trip.