I'd long been meaning to do this, but it took me a couple of years to get around to organising it. The plan was a 65-ish mile day on the UK side to get from London to Newhaven, then three days in France at a relaxed 40-50 miles a day. I put it up as a ride on a couple of cycling forums to see who fancied joining me, and Andy Duncan from the London Cycle Meetup raised his hand.


Trip planning sometimes feels like part of the fun, and sometimes a necessary chore. In this case, it was most definitely the latter!

In theory, navigation should have been simple as there is an Avenue Verte cycle route all the way from Trafalgar Square to the Eiffel Tower, and there are GPX tracks online which you can download. A website put together by Donald Hirsch together with GPX files from Martin Collett proved especially helpful.

Converting GPS tracks to routes was, however, another matter ...

For those unfamiliar with Garmin terminology, a track is a record of a journey completed; a route is a planned journey. Routes provide turn-by-turn guidance, tracks are just dotted lines on the screen. A track can have anything up to 1000 points in it; a route can have no more than 50.

There are utilities to turn tracks into routes, but of course they have to greatly simplify (potentially removing up to 950 points), and they do this with varying degrees of intelligence. For cycling routes, this method is generally pretty hopeless.

My usual approach, then, is to display the track on-screen in Basecamp, then manually draw a route over the top of it by plonking waypoints down at junctions. This was not proving overly successful with the Avenue Verte, which comprises a mix of minor roads, unmarked roads and paths. Basecamp just joins the dots as best it can, but even with cycle routing selected it kept taking me onto larger roads, sometimes short ones like this, sometimes many miles:

A couple of hours were spent in the following cycle:
- Plonk in extra waypoints
- Recalculate
- Swear
- Repeat

This wasn't getting anywhere, so I decided to try to simplify the route by starting afresh with my own waypoints. This process was aided enormously by Donald's brilliant PDF directions.

However, figuring out where to place the waypoints lead to a further couple of hours in the following cycle:
- Find point on PDF directions
- Try unsuccessfully to find said point on the two 1:100k paper maps I'd bought
- Do an unsuccessful search for a very small place on the Garmin maps
- Do a googlemaps search, find the place and visually match up

This, as you might imagine, was also accompanied by a reasonable degree of commentary using vocabulary unbecoming of a gentleman.

But eventually I got there, with navigable routes for days two and three (the purple section here). I also marked the route in highlighter on the paper maps just in case. (And yes, I am a heathen who cuts maps up so as to carry only the bits I need.)

Day three wasn't feasible as a route, as even in cycle mode Garmin mapping doesn't know about paths, so won't route along them. I thus loaded this in as a tracklog. Tracks aren't navigable in the sense of the GPS providing turn-by-turn directions, but putting the GPS into off-road mode at least gets you an arrow pointing directly to the next waypoint.

Zooming into the detail of the forest paths (hopping from forest to forest), I could see that this was going to be 'interesting' ...

That just left the UK leg of the journey: London to Newhaven. On the French side, Avenue Verte is mostly a lovely mix of good-quality cycle paths and extremely quiet roads. On the UK side, as you might guess, it is a complete shambles of overgrown pot-holed paths unsuitable for anything short of a Unimog. I thus opted to stick to the roads.

I downloaded a Bikehike route from London to Newhaven, and then following advice from the CycleChat forum modified it to go via Lewes instead of Brighton.

I also slightly modified the start of the route, which attempted to stick to back-roads out of London, but I'm perfectly happy in London traffic so opted for main roads for the first 19 miles to speed things up.

The LD Lines ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe is a bargain £26, though as I was taking an overnight ferry I needed to add a cabin to that. A single-berth cabin brought the total to £98, though there are cheaper shared cabins if you want to reduce the cost.

One drawback of a trike is nobody knows what it is, so it's tricky making enquiries about storage or transport for it. Eurostar were useless in telling me whether or not they could carry it, suggesting that they would 'try'. This didn't seem an overly reliable way of getting home, so a bit of googling found www.bike-express.co.uk.

Bike Express pleasingly did know what a recumbent trike was, and their custom-made trailer had an upper-deck for such oddities. At £158, it wasn't a particularly cheap way of getting home, but it did mean that a single journey would get me to within 20 miles of home.

Hotels are generally bemused when asked for a safe place to store a trike. After speaking to a couple of Paris hotels, one of them pointed out what was very obvious in retrospect: I didn't need to ask about garages or luggage rooms, I just needed to ask for a wheelchair-accessible room! These have to meet standards for space and routing that mean it will most likely be possible to wheel the trike straight into the room, and
worst-case I'd have to remove the fairing to fit it into a lift.

I've visited Paris on business more times than I could count (once a week at one stage), so wasn't bothered about being in the centre. I thus ended up in a 2-star hotel in Gennevielles (about 10 miles to the north) for a bargain £33/night.

This would also put me on the correct side of Paris for the return coach pickup, which was 20 miles away in Saint Wiz. It was an overnight service, and the pickup time was 2am (so technically on Monday). Since the hotel was so cheap, I booked it for an extra night so I'd have somewhere comfy to wait until it was time to cycle to the pickup.

I'd initially planned to wing it accommodation-wise for the Tuesday night as there were reportedly plenty of guesthouses en-route, but on studying Donald's route in detail I found a recommendation for what sounded like an excellent farmhouse 45 miles in. I made a reservation, requesting secure storage for my trike (sending them a link so they could see what it was) and they confirmed they could store it in a garage fitted with an alarm.

I'd intended to stay with a friend on the Weds night, as they were just 10km off-route, but in the end the mileages just didn't make sense: it would have meant just 24 miles on Wed and about 70 miles (including the slow forest paths section) on Thu. I thus opted to wing it on Weds instead.

The final part of the planning was to load up my iPad with PDFs of the various bits of paperwork I'd need.

Packing for a multi-day trip is quite challenging on the trike! The Radical Sidepod bags are just 12.5 litres each, and one side gets pretty much filled with actual cycling bits: lock, waterproofs, tools, spares, etc. Doing laundry in Paris meant I could get away with enough clothes to get there, plus walking around clothes while there, but that still meant I had to fit five days of clothing plus toiletries and, of course, gadgets into just 12.5 litres of space. As my cycle shoes have cleats, and are not suitable for walking any distance, that also has to include a spare pair of shoes!

I managed it, but it was a bit of a squeeze! I left my laptop and cameras at home, relying on my iPhone and trikecam for photos & video, and my iPad with Logitech Ultrathin keyboard for net access, books, paperwork, etc. One set of batteries for each device (the three sets at the top are for my three lights), iPad charger and a 4-battery rapid-charger for the AAs. By my standards, that's practically an agrarian lifestyle!

Relying on the iPhone for photos was a compromise, but as most of my cycling trip snaps are taken while on the move, some of them blind because I can't see the screen, it wasn't too big a deal. Photostream also meant that as soon as I took a photo, it was backed-up, and all I had to do on my return home was switch on my Mac and there they would all be.

The other prep I ought to have done but in fact hadn't was some cycling. I, er, hadn't really done much this year. I did a 25-mile ride on the Friday, but fully expected Monday to be a tough day.


The BBC forecast was for a sunny day, and that was exactly what I saw when getting up. I then made a fatal mistake: I made a facebook post commenting on having got good weather for day one of the trip.

By the time I left home, it was drizzling. I also managed to leave my Camelbak behind, so the two miles to the station became four when I returned to collect it, and the leisurely cycle to the station became a rather rapid there-back-and-there to make the planned train. It was still drizzling at Liverpool Street:

I usually put a sign on the trike fairing for these trips as it provides implied permission for strangers to strike up a conversation. People seem to warm to the idea of long cycle rides, so it usually also proves an effective way to get assistance when needed.

I cycled to London Bridge to meet Andy, with the Shard providing the backdrop for my arbitrary official start-point:

The drizzle turned into rain and then into heavy rain as we headed south past the Elephant & Castle. I was planning to put the camcorder on for 10-second clips every few miles to create a kind of time-lapse video of the trip, but soon abandoned this idea as it requires stopping to get out of the trike, and when the heavens are open the idea of constant stop-start riding is not terribly appealing - you just want to get on. (I have since relocated the recording unit so that I can operate it from the seat.)

We stuck to main roads as far as Coulsdon as there isn't really any quiet way out of central London without a ridiculous amount of stop-start - though as we seemed to catch every red light in south London, perhaps it wouldn't have made any difference!

I'd got some advice on the route to Newhaven on CycleChat, and excellent advice it was too. Just moments from the busy main road and we were onto this stretch:

There then followed a lovely rural route to Caterham, where a pub brunch was in order.

It was still raining when we set off again.

The one thing you can't avoid in getting from London to the South Coast are hills. Lots and lots and lots of hills.

When I'm world dictator, places with 'Hill' in their name will be wiped from the map.

This isn't arty processing, this is an iPhone with condensation in the lens, the photo exactly as it came from the camera:

Andy and I played the usual yo-yo game between a trike and those odd two-wheeled things, him overtaking me uphill and me overtaking him downhill.

Overall it worked fine, except when Andy went straight on at the top of a hill in Haywards Heath and the route was a left. Andy didn't hear his mobile, so by the time we made contact he was a mile or so down the road.

He cycled back, and the GPS promptly wiggled us through a series of back-roads, only to come out exactly where Andy had got to when we spoke!

We stopped at a Costa for a wholesome meal:

It was still raining when we set off again, though we could see the sun somewhere in the distance behind us.

The rain didn't stop when the sun caught up with us, but at least we got a rainbow for our trouble.

And then we were in Newhaven, home of the most badly-signposted ferry port in the world. Given that there's basically nothing else there, you might imagine that the way from here:

to the ferry terminal would be obvious, but no - at least, not in the dark and the rain. But at 71 miles, we were there:

I'm a great fan of mobile hotels: go to sleep in one place and wake up at the next. There was however a mystery to this particular hotel: the booking confirmation didn't tell you what time it arrived in Dieppe. Instead of a time of day, there was just a strange code: '04:00'.

I had no idea what this could mean, so did some googling. One hit suggested that it was an alternative term for something called '4am', but the substitution of one meaningless code for another wasn't really helping.

I finally solved it. It turns out that the ferry isn't an overnight one at all, but actually docks at night, just a couple of hours after a sensible bedtime! Gulp!

I have to say I'd been expecting something similar to the Harwich-Hook of Holland crossing, which is to say able to board two hours before departure, with cyclists loaded first, and handed your cabin key at check-in so you could get the maximum amount of sleep. Instead, we were stuck in a freezing-cold waiting room with a switched-off drinks machine and not even any hot-air dryers in the loos to warm ourselves. We couldn't board until about 40 mins before departure, and then it was a free-for-all of cycles, cars and lorries. Once on-board, you had to go to reception to get your cabin key. And a final shock on arrival in my cabin: no wifi!

On the plus side, the crew were friendly, they secured the bikes casually but effectively and my en-suite cabin was extremely nice.

On the Amsterdam trips, I'd had a Captain's Cabin; this time I'd been promoted to Commodore.

Andy was watching the pennies, so went for a Club Class seat instead. I didn't envy him. We put his panniers in my room so he wouldn't have to worry about anything going walkabout in the night.


If I was American, I'd begin this with: Oh. My. God.

However, I'm an Englishman, and we don't do that sort of thing. I shall merely observe that if I ever meet the person who bangs on your cabin door at 03:15, 03:20 and 03:25, the LD Lines ferry company will be announcing a job vacancy very shortly afterwards. I was actually up, showered and dressed by, well, look!

And it was still bloody raining.

My plan was simple: head straight to the dock cafe and sit and drink coffee and eat croissant until a more civilised hour, by which point perhaps the rain would have stopped.

This plan was quickly thwarted when it turned out there was no port cafe open at that time! You'd think that with ferries arriving and departing through the night, you would have at least a place to get a coffee, but no, nothing.

We cycled around the centre of Dieppe. As anyone who has even been there can tell you, this doesn't take long. The only thing open was the train station, and the only sign of life in there was a guy trying to bum a cigarette.

With no other option, we set off on the route.

Avenue Verte is signposted almost from the ferry terminal. You basically head down quiet residential roads to a roundabout a few miles away, hang a right then left into what looks like a train station car-park and is actually now the start of the Avenue Verte proper - a disused railway line converted to a cycle path.

This is a route which would be delightfully rural on a sunny day but was instead just freezing cold and desolate.

I hadn't been that cold and miserable for a very long time. Route-finding in the dark also wasn't easy, and we followed what we thought was the path to a locked gate. A couple more dead-ends followed before we got back on track.

My waterproofs still were, but my sealskin gloves were soaked through. We were managing to retain our sense of humour, but only just.

We optimistically called in at a few villages along the way in the hope of finding a baker at work, or a farmer who might take pity on us and invite us in for a coffee, but no joy.

Finally, 16 miles later, we found a cafe that claimed to open at 7.30am. It was 6.45am, and although we were even colder now we'd stopped cycling, we figured this might be our only option for hours, so we decided to sit outside and wait.

At 6.55am, a surprised shopkeeper opened up to find us sat there. We asked him if he had anything hot to eat or drink, and he thought for a moment before disappearing out back to reappear with this tray, hot from the oven:

We tucked in.

It turned out the shop and cafe were part of the same building and family, so they kindly opened up the cafe early.

Four cups of strong coffee later (Andy had one), we felt warm enough to set off again. It was still raining.

By 24 miles, the good news was that it was no longer raining. The bad news was that it was instead hailing:

We sat that out under a small shelter.

When the hail turned back into rain, we decided another foray into a village in search of a cafe was called for. The good news was that there was a cafe, the bad news was that it was closed.

I flagged down a passing van and in fluent Franglais asked him whether there was another one. He directed us to one that was mercifully open.

You'll note that Andy had opted for a French breakfast. In his defence, we had been up for six-and-a-half hours by then.

France being France, while 10am was considered a reasonable time for beer, it was not considered a suitable time for food: the kitchen was not yet open. Negotiations were carried out. Only in France could bread and butter prove so utterly delicious.

When the sun finally appeared, I had to take a photo fast before it disappeared again about a minute later.

At 39 miles, it was time for another break. I wasn't terribly hungry, but figured this would be the last stop and probably the last chance to eat before dinner, so had a cheese omelette at a small hotel. The hotelier had spotted us locking up our bikes outside, and rushed out to offer us a better option:

It was still raining when we left.

But then a miracle occurred! Sun! More than a minute's worth of it!

I wasn't sure how close the route took us to our guesthouse, so about five miles out I switched off the route and pointed the GPS directly there. After 51 long, slow, mostly-wet miles, we arrived at the guesthouse at 4pm.

Unfortunately the owners didn't. The gates were locked and I got no reply from either landline or mobile.

I'd booked via a microsite which made no mention of hours, rather than their main site, which apparently did.

Since the rain was clearly about to make a re-appearance, we did a recce. We found a side entrance, then a stable. Garden chairs were relocated to provide a dry place to wait for the inevitable rain - which duly arrived.

It wasn't quite the accommodation we'd been hoping for at this stage. But this was rectified when Sophie arrived to let us in. I think I got the girls' room:

Another long, hot shower followed by the commencement of much battery-charging.

The iPad has a clever magnet system which enables it to switch itself on as a compatible cover is opened, and off as it is closed. My Logitech keyboard case works, but as it joggled around slightly in my bike bag it was switching itself on so arrived with a flat battery.

I made a mental note to switch off the auto-on/off feature, then promptly forgot, thus repeating the experience the following day. Ho hum. Still, it only takes a few minutes of charging before it can be used on power.

Dinner was amazing! I was very much wishing I'd eaten less during the day as Sophie served us four absolutely delicious courses.

Courgette quiche (which tasted great despite my well-known aversion to courgettes), a creamy chicken-and-mushroom dish whose name I ought to know, cheese (including one local one) and finally a portion of mousse au chocolat so large that not even I could finish it!!! This is utterly unprecedented!


It was sunny! Sun! No rain! No hail! Sun! The route was absolutely lovely.

A small town had this rather impressive church:

Then back into rolling countryside.

It was getting hot! For the first time in 2.5 days of cycling, I took off my cycling jacket. My bulging bags admitted defeat at this point, so Andy kindly took part of my luggage in his more capacious panniers so I had room in a bag for my jacket.

The plan was a morning coffee around 15 miles in, but while the route had a great many impressive water-towers, it was distinctly lacking in eateries.

Sophie had kindly given us each a couple of slices of home-made cake to eat on the way, so these were duly consumed. We continued on.

One of the places that looked quite sizeable from the size of the lettering on the GPS map turned out to comprise precisely one water tower and this:

But at 21 miles, we hit civilisation.

Um, ok, maybe not that bit. But definitely this bit:

(The 'Distance to destination' field here is meaningless, as it's merely the point at which one GPS route runs out and the next begins.)

The combination of Donald's instructions and Martin's GPS files had meant we hadn't needed to consult the paper maps at all. But one thing paper maps are always best at is giving an overall sense of where you are in a journey, so we took over the pizza counter.

We also looked ahead to the complicated bit we'd be doing the next day.

Putting the maps away, I noticed the cover proudly declared the map to be 'GPS compatible'. Um, how exactly would a map not be 'GPS compatible'?!

Onward! More sun!

This was the only day on which we were winging it accommodation-wise. Donald's instructions showed a tourist info place at Marines, which would be roughly 15 miles short of where we wanted to end up, so we headed for that.

A very helpful lady there found us a Gite in exactly the right place, and made a booking for us.

While we were in Marines, we stopped off at a hotel for a coffee and a banana split - got to ensure plenty of fresh fruit in the diet, after all.

More quiet roads, more hills, more sun.

The Gite was incredible. A 14th Century courtyard:

Complete with dedicated bike parking:

A touch under 53 miles for the day, which would put us within an easy distance of Paris the next day.

Our host, Clare, had said that as she hadn't been expecting guests she could only offer 'a very simple family meal'. This turned out to be a four-course meal, with veal as the main course ... only in France!

Again, absolutely delicious home cooking.


As we had an easy day, I opted for a lay-in. Andy was apparently up at 7.30am, I emerged rather later. It was dry again! There was, however, a lot of uphill. A lot of a lot.

Donald's instructions said that this would be rewarded with a very long & fun downhill run into Trier, and indeed it was:


Shame about the traffic towards the end. (And yes, I was taking a look at an overtake, but not enough forward vision.)

The next bit of the navigation, crossing the Seine via a cycle-path alongside a motorway, was tricky, but Donald's instructions again proved flawless. The only minor confusion arose when what had once been a roundabout was no longer.

Next stop was Poissy. A relatively urban stretch led to the start of the forest section.

The forest paths ranged from dirt single-track (a little awkward on the trike but manageable for the very short sections involved) to road-width paved path.

This delightful route has only two drawbacks. First, it's bastard hilly. Second, the complete and inexplicable absence of mid-forest patisseries, an oversight I assume they will soon correct.

We'd again been offered slices of cake for the journey. Envisaging a cake and coffee stop, I'd declined, but when a full-scale Cake Emergency arose, Andy (who lacks my sweet tooth) very nobly donated his to the cause. He has been mentioned in dispatches.

Navigating the forests would have been an absolute nightmare were it not for the extremely detailed route instructions backed up by the GPS tracks.

Given that we'd be in the forests pretty much all the way into Paris, we decided any port in a storm for a refreshment break when we briefly emerged onto roads. A petrol station wasn't quite what I'd been imagining, but it did the job.

A short stretch heading towards Versailles was really the only part of the route you could fault, with crappy cycle paths alongside a dual-carriageway

But this is very brief.

We decided it would be rude not to detour into the gardens and see the Palace at Versailles, but the security guards there had other ideas. We could cycle round the park, but at the approach to where the palace itself would be visible it was no bikes, not even for 20 feet to take a quick photo.

I took comfort in the thought that sooner or later they'd visit London and stand on the wrong side of the escalator, guaranteeing an equally warm welcome.

Onwards and (mostly) upwards to Paris. Amazingly, the steepest hill of the entire ride was during this section.

Hmm, that looks familiar.

The route now took us across the top of a viaduct:

With a good view of La Defence in the distance:

But a rather less welcome view at the far side:


Crossing the road brings you onto the Hippodrome, where we were overtaken by many cyclists.

But we'd probably come further than they had.

And then into what was to me a more familiar Parisian sight:

But finally we emerged from the traffic

(I originally had seven rides ticked and this one unticked. Rather than hunt out the tick vinyl from wherever I'd put it, I took the more efficient route of removing all the other ticks.)

Ok, ok, we have to do the cheesy one too:

Andy hadn't been able to get into the same hotel as me, but his was more-or-less en-route, so I set my GPS for his first and then onto mine. An eight-mile ride to Gennevielles brought the day's mileage to 47 and the total trip mileage to a nice round 222.

I'd booked a disabled room so that it would have a wider door and be on the ground floor, but the hotel hadn't reserved it for me and merely did the famous Gallic shrug. However, they did eventually manage to find me a standard ground-floor room, though one with a camp-bed set up alongside the main one.

That was soon dealt with, and removal of the fairing and undoing of the seat enabled me to put my trike to bed.

Yes, I did bang into it several times, thanks for asking.


A well-deserved lay-in, followed by more lazing followed by dinner at Chartier with an industry colleague.

Chartier is a Parisian institution. A former soup kitchen for down-and-out workers, it is now a bustling restaurant where you can order anything from an apple to a four-course meal.

The food is distinctly average, the service ranges from indifferent to rude (we were fortunate and arrived on an indifferent day) but the atmosphere is really something special.

You share your table with strangers, with pretty much every nationality represented, and feel thoroughly Parisian despite the fact that the French are almost certainly heavily outnumbered. Many thanks to Laure for suggesting it and providing most excellent company.

The return journey

I'd estimated that the coach pickup point in St Witz was around 20 miles, and my initial plan was to book an extra night in my Paris hotel then set off about three hours before the pickup time of 2am.

In the event, it turns out that there is no legal and sensible direct cycle route to the west of CdG airport, so you have to take the long way round, which makes it a 33-mile journey. I'd also been warned that as the coach comes from the south of France, pickup times can prove unreliable.

I thus chose a change of plan, booking my final night's stay (even though it wouldn't be) at a hotel right by the pickup point. I'd cycle over in the afternoon, have dinner there and then have my hotel room (another cheapie) to shower and hang out in until the pickup time.

It was a good thing I chose this plan as reassembling the trike fairing and seat took 40 minutes and one cut thumb due to me having left a vital spanner at home. Brute force and ignorance eventually did the trick.

The route from Gennevilliers to St Witz was nothing to write home about, being mostly a mix of the suburbs and industrial areas, but I was for some reason getting a lot of thumbs-up, smiles and congratulations from the locals en-route. Perhaps the smiles were at my seemingly incompetent London to Paris navigation as I got further and further north-east of Paris?

I stopped for a rather odd but tasty tuna, egg and potato bagette, and more fresh fruit.

The last stretch towards St Witz was hot and uphill. I was pleased to check-in and get a shower. 33.8 miles.

As I was expecting to be departing at 2.30am, I didn't even attempt to fit the trike into my room, just locked it to a pillar immediately outside the restaurant. Where I had dinner, and I felt I deserved a half-bottle of a rather lovely Pinot Noir, which I took back to my room to finish.

The coach pickup instructions give a mobile number you can text for an updated ETA. The pickup time had already been amended from 2am to 2.30am, and when I texted I was told it was unlikely to be before 3.30am. Still not really enough time to make it worth sleeping, so I watched a couple of films on my iPad.

I'd asked the coach company to text me when they were 20 mins out so I had time to pack and cycle the short distance to the bus-stop.

By 5.40am I'd still heard nothing so texted the coach again to be told they were 35 mins away. This was a bit frustrating as I could have gone to bed at 10pm and had a decent night's sleep, but c'est la vie. I packed and asked for a text 5 mins out.

This arrived at 6.15am and I spent a chilly 15 mins at the bus stop before the coach finally arrived at 6.30am. (Someone on the coach later told me the driver had been struggling to find the pickup point.)

The photo here was taken at a motorway services stop an hour down the road, which, if I'd known about it in advance, would have saved me from the dire on-board food.

There was no mechanism for getting the trike onto the upper-deck other than three of us manhandling it up there. This nearly resulted in disaster when one of the staff tried to lift it by the (delicate) fairing mount, but fortunately I spotted this in time.

The coach was at least warm, but the seats were pretty uncomfortable (especially as my recline mechanism was broken) and the regular PA announcements also put paid to any thoughts of sleep.

Oh, and I was fine with my iPad, but for those lacking one the on-board movies are displayed on a single screen right at the very front of the coach (the screen on the left looks like a repeater but isn't, or at any rate didn't.)

A cycle coach is a neat idea in theory, but not a form of transport I shall be using again. From various conversations on the coach, I am not alone in this conclusion!

On board the Calais-Dover ferry, I treated myself to the Club Lounge to escape the madding crowds (it was a bank holiday weekend in France).

We finally reached Thurrock at around 1.30pm. Fortunately I'd expected to be dog-tired so had nothing important scheduled.

Exiting Thurrock Services by bicycle is an interesting experience. Much zooming-in on the googlemaps satellite view had been required to identify a path running from the A13/M25 roundabout to the local road I needed to get to for my cycle home, but the GPS had other ideas so I decided to trust it. I think it went a rather bizarre route, but I won't know for sure until I load up the GPS tracklogs tomorrow.

There followed 20 miles of mostly rural roads to home and a very long hot bath!

Would I recommend the trip? Overall, yes. I wouldn't recommend the overnight ferry, as much as it might seem to make sense, nor would I recommend European Bike Express as a means of getting home. But if you can sweet-talk the gods into giving you better weather than we had, it's a very nice bicycle ride.